Scotland in Europe Update 30th March 2018

There is now less than one year to stop Brexit. In the first Scotland in Europe update after the 2016 EU Referendum, I said that “until such time as we are no longer part of the EU, I remain your Member of the European Parliament and I have a job to do.” I stand by that. Scotland voted to remain and I will continue to represent the people of Scotland in the challenging weeks and months ahead.

We know that Brexit will damage our economy and our society. We know those who advocated Leave never had a plan and that what ideas they had have been exposed as undeliverable or flat out lies. We know that many people voted for their promises in good faith and are now wondering what will happen.

We do not have to accept their vision of the future. It will not be easy, but Brexit can still be stopped for the whole of the UK. I cannot say what will happen over the next few months but we will need to work together with those of other parties and no party to achieve a better future than what is being promised by Theresa May.

I fear that Brexit has a lot of people beaten and disengaged: “I don’t like it, but just get on with it and make it go away” is a regular theme. But if we all back away, we’ll be giving the Hard Brexiters free rein.

There’s an argument to be won, and a lot to be defended. Scotland deserves better than this!



Following recent actions from the Spanish Government regarding Catalan politicians – including issuing a European Arrest Warrant for a professor at St Andrews University – Scotland’s Labour and SNP MEPs have written to the European Commission stating that the Spanish Government’s actions are deeply concerning and “put at risk the core values of the EU.”

Catherine Stihler MEP (and former rector of St Andrews University) has also written this important piece on the European Arrest Warrants and why they were never intended to allow member state governments to target political opponents. Concern at Madrid’s actions is not about our domestic issues, it’s about defending democracy.

There are “significant worries” for six key sectors of Scotland’s economy because of Brexit, according to the Scottish Parliament information Centre.

Research from the SRUC has warned of a drop in seasonal workers coming to Scotland. The figures show a 15% to 20% decrease in the number of workers wanting to come to Scotland in 2017.

The former Director General of the EU Council’s legal service, Jean-Claude Piris, has warned that the Brexit talks could collapse.

The Migration Advisory Committee has concluded (in support of every other credible piece of work ever done on the subject!) that EU migration has not reduced UK wages. It also points out that without EU migration the population of Scotland will start to decline.

Because of Brexit, the European Youth Orchestra is leaving the UK.

The UK is to hire another 1000 border staff to deal with Brexit.

The FT has compiled a handy list of trade tips for Brexit Britain.

There are increasing concerns that Vote Leave may have broken the law during the referendum.

The Brexit Health Alliance submitted written evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry on ‘Brexit: medicines, medical devices and substances of human origin’ recommending that we maintain regulatory alignment with the European Medicines Agency.

Richard Corbett MEP warns of the dangers of a ‘skeleton Brexit’.

Euractiv have produced this helpful explainer on the Brexit blue passport debacle. To be clear, within the EU we could’ve had blue passports (if anybody cares that much) and it is not due to the EU that the replacements for our current passports will be made outside the UK but due to the choices made by the UK Government.

In four weeks the UK will present its plan for the Irish border to the Commission: it needs to solve the impossible. Of course, the UK staying in the Customs Union and Single Market would do it!

The principals of the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli and Professor Peter Mathieson, have pledged to work together to protect Scottish Higher Education from Brexit.

Finally, the Sun has issued a long correction on a story it published on the EU Customs Union.