Scotland in Europe Update 31st March 2017

This week has been emotional, with the letter finally delivered to trigger Article 50 and commence the process of leaving the EU. It is not inevitable that we do eventually leave, if a week is a long time in politics two years is an eternity, but the clock is now ticking and unless something happens, in two years time the UK will leave the EU. If you have the heart you can read the letter here

The EU has looked on with sadness and regret while the UK has made this decision. As Donald Tusk, president of the Council, said at the end of his statement: “what can I add to this? We already miss you.”

The question now for us is what happens to Scotland?

With the Scottish Parliament’s backing Nicola Sturgeon has formally called for a referendum on the independence of Scotland. It is an outrage that Scotland faces being pulled out of the EU against our will but it is the intransigence of the UK Government to even discuss compromise with the Scottish Government that has driven us here.

So, we are not finished yet. I will continue to stand up for the rights of Scottish citizens throughout this process and to promote Scotland in Europe. The European Parliament recognised Scotland’s remain vote in the resolution that will be passed next week. There is genuine good will out there to be built upon:

As always, I hope you continue to find these emails useful, and please do feel free to share this update and encourage people to register for more at

(It is a bit of a long read this week, but things have been busy so I hope you will bear with me. )


Today the Council responded to the UK’s letter. The EU is now in charge and despite Theresa May’s assurances a future trade deal will only be discussed if “sufficient progress has been made” on the exit deal.

Europe watched in horror as the UK Triggered article 50.

“Today isn't a good day” said the President of the European Parliament as the article 50 letter was handed in.

The full text of the European Parliament’s draft motion on the triggering of article 50 is available here:

Brexit will be "sentimentally painful" for the Europeans and "economically painful" for the UK according to François Hollande

I didn’t have the UK in mind when I wrote article 50 said Lord Kerr.

The British Retail Consortium, the National Farmers Union and the Food and Drink Federation all urged Prime Minister Theresa May to seek a tariff-free trade agreement.

Thomas Rabe, chairman and chief executive officer at Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA a major publisher has said that Brexit may alter their UK Presence.

Lloyd’s of London is opening up in Brussels.

Unless the free movement of skilled labour is secured during negotiations, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors believe that the UK’s predicted £500 billion infrastructure pipeline may be under threat.

Nine per cent of firms which have invested in the UK now plan to shift investments elsewhere, with Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU the top choices for their relocation plans.

You can see me being interviewed on this here:

Politico has a sector by sector breakdown of the potential impact of leaving the EU.

Leave voting MPs walked out of a meeting of the House of Commons EU exit select committee because the draft report was "too gloomy".

No deal is the worst deal yet argues Fabian Zuleeg of the of the European Policy Center, a Brussels think tank.

Brexit talks will mean hard choices is the view of Danuta Hübner, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

The European Parliamentary Research Service has produced a summary of the legal and procedural issues arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Bruegel have put together a set of articles explaining the so called “Brexit Bill” which is actually meeting obligations to which the UK has already signed up.

Several of the parts of Britain which voted to leave the European Union are also among those most vulnerable to the economic impact of Brexit, according to new research published by Demos.

Leaving EURATOM (which safeguards nuclear fuel making sure it isn’t diverted to make weapons) is causing concern amongst nuclear companies.

The Northern Irish peace agreement should be embedded into Brexit plans is the view of the Irish PM.

The UK’s departure from the EU will be done with the fewest UK civil servants since the 1940s.

The UK needs a ‘war cabinet’ to run the Brexit negotiations according to the Institute for Government.

May should not play political games with our citizens is the view of Manfred Weber MEP, leader of the largest group in the European Parliament.

Around 106,000 UK citizens in Germany have applied for German citizenship.

Spain has opened a special desk at its embassy in London to assist its citizens in the UK.

Port of Dover spokesman, Richard Christian, said custom checks at the port site are a “non-starter” because there is insufficient space.

In just 67 days, confidence in the successful implementation of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) – a project that HMRC itself describes as 'business critical' – has collapsed.” Said Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of the Treasury Committee, and there will be even greater challenges to come with a hard Brexit.

The price of imported fruit and vegetables in the UK is set to rise by up to 8% after leaving the EU.

The LSE have published an online collection of the leaflets from the EU Referendum Campaign.

Spain is going to host a meeting of southern EU leaders on Brexit.

The Scottish Parliament has voted in favour of holding an Independence Referendum. After the intransigence of the UK Government this was the only option left to protect Scotland’s interests. Europe watched on:;;;;;

“We must become independent to save Scotland” was the message I delivered to France's toute l’europe EU Information agency.