Scotland in Europe update: November 25th 2016

Welcome to this week's update, part of my efforts to keep you informed about events in Europe. Another busy week on the diplomatic front as Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, launched a publication about Scotland’s extensive historical engagement with Europe and its present democratic and constitutional position in relation to the UK, Europe and Brexit.

This is mainly for an international audience and therefore explains the historical, political and legal reasons why Scotland’s voice needs to be heard following the EU Referendum. If you are interested you can download your own copy here:

As ever, if your friends are interested, ask them to sign up:

Yours aye,


Brexit could cost up to £59 Billion… but I suppose UKIP will think that is a price worth paying for the return of blue passports.

The UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) has shown in its latest report that UK payments to the EU will go up by £800-900m a year due to the fall in the pound. Spotted by:

In case anybody thought there was a secret plan somewhere it is also worth noting they confirmed that they “have been given no information about the Government’s goals and expectations for the negotiations that is not already in the public domain.” i.e. like us, they know nothing! The full report is here for those who enjoy financial statistics:

Scotland won a European award for its work to reduce alcohol harm.

The position of Denmark is interesting and in this longer read Alex Barker explains why Copenhagen will put its national interests ahead of old alliances in the UK’s EU exit talks.

Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned against a race to the bottom in the wake of Theresa May’s pledge to cut corporation tax.

The Article Fifty Brexit case that is going to appear before the UK Supreme Court in December could end up in the EU Courts according to an European Court of Justice Judge.

"It is impossible to find a solution that would destroy the so-called four freedoms," according to the European Parliament lead negotiator Guy Verhofstadt after his meeting with the UK Brexit Minister David Davies.

Following the same meeting Manfred Weber leader of the largest group in the European Parliament said the UK Government “still don't know what Brexit means”

Staying in the Single Market is an option for the UK Government if it chooses according to the Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann who feels some form of deal with EFTA is possible.

The World Bank has warned that Brexit will not benefit many of those who voted for it.

The EU institutions agreed on an unprecedented set of rules to tackle the use of conflict minerals in common household goods which is an important victory for European consumers. As a lawyer by profession I understand there is a lot more to do so we can effectively say that our importers are doing their best to be ethically responsible in very difficult environments but this is a step in the right direction. Far more information can be found my website:

The Economic and Social Research Institute  of Ireland has produced an assessment of the potential impact of Brexit. Under a WTO tariffs scenario they conclude: "Our estimates of exposure at the country level show an extremely wide range with reductions in trade to the UK falling by 5% (Finland) to 43% (Bulgaria) taking into account the new tariffs and the elasticity of the trade response to this price increase. Food and textiles trade are the hardest hit, with trade in these sectors reducing by up to 90%." The full report can be read here:

Remain means Remain, and Theresa May must listen to Scotland and Northern Ireland according to Dr Andrew Scott Crines.