Scotland in Europe update: November 18th 2016

A week of leaked memos, rumours of chaos, experts pointing out that the Civil Service isn’t ready to take on Brexit and Boris Johnson making a fool of himself. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I hear you cry.

I wish I could disagree.

In better news, last Friday I was invited to address the German Green Party conference in Münster and after delivering my speech received a standing ovation in support of my message of co-operation, solidarity and Europe. This is a clear sign of the goodwill that exists across Europe for Scotland. You can watch my speech here:

And an English translation of my German speech is here:

As ever, feel free to pass this on and if you know anyone who wants to sign up then direct them here:

Yours aye,


A leaked memo states that the UK Government is going to need around 30,000 more civil servants to complete Brexit.

To put this is perspective that is nearly twice the number of civil servants employed by the Scottish Government!

The latest stats are available here if you are interested:

Scotland (and Wales and Northern Ireland) were admitted to the Article 50 case in UK Supreme Court.

The Scottish Parliament European and External Relations Committee travelled to London to meet with various groups and organisations,  including the London Assembly. We must work with all those with whom we have common cause.

The Commission published a proposal to establish an EU Travel and Information Authorisation System (ETIAS)

Essentially, it means that, as non-EU state citizens, UK travellers would have to pay a €5 fee to enter Europe. A handy Q&A is available here:

And Politico examine the impact on the UK here:

The Czech newspaper Hospodářské noviny conducted an interview with Boris Johnson in which he described the free movement of persons as a fundamental right of the EU as "bullshit". Never mind that the content is wrong it is crass and unprofessional language.

It was left to Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem to point out that Boris is asking for the impossible.

“[Johnson] is saying things that are intellectually impossible, politically unavailable, so I think he’s not offering the British people a fair view of what is available and what can be achieved in these negotiations,”

Carlo Calenda Italy’s economic development minister echoed Dijsselbloem’s comments.

“Somebody needs to tell us something, and it needs to be something that makes sense… You can’t say that it’s sensible to say we want access to the single market but no free circulation of people. It’s obvious that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.”

Dijsselbloem has also pointed out that the "negotiations are hugely complex... They are going to take a lot longer than two years".

The UK Civil Service is not ready for Brexit according to Gus O'Donnell a former UK Cabinet Secretary under Tony Blair and David Cameron

"If Europeans aren't bluffing, then MPs need to start pressing the government on what it will prioritise" is the view of the European Council of Foreign Relations. Trust me, nobody in Brussels or any of the 27 member state capitals is bluffing.

This is a rather a good video nailing some of the slippery charlatans of the Leave campaign. There is no mandate for UK to leave single market, and Scotland even less so.

Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, has laid out his position on the UK’s exit from the EU. It is pretty straight forward: no opt-out from freedom of movement, to trade with the EU you will have to play by the rules and that the UK will have to honour its financial commitments.

Speaking of financial commitments, it turns out the UK could owe the EU up to €65 billion...

…or if you prefer the Financial Times latest estimate, a mere €60 billion!

European economic think tank Bruegel have produced a nice review of the different opinions on the High Court Judgment relating to Article 50.

The Lord Advocate of Scotland James Wollfe QC has warned that Brexit may complicate criminal extraditions.

A united stance by the Executive and the Assembly of Northern Ireland is required following the example of Scotland according to Alban Maginness of the SDLP

Finally, Dr Angus Armstrong has some interesting thoughts on the potential impact of a Le Pen victory next May.