Scotland in Europe Update 3rd February 2017

This week MPs backed a bill giving complete control of the process of leaving the EU to the Tories. It went forward despite SNP opposition and only one Scottish MP voting in favour.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-38833883  

There is a still a long way to go, and the fight is not over yet but this illustrates the scale of the challenge. Despite the efforts of the SNP, MPs are simply not holding the government to account. The Bill they have initially approved is a blank cheque with no controls or restraints to rein in the hard Brexit Theresa May is proposing. There is still some time for changes in committee stage but I have very little hope any will be made.

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Scotland in Europe Update January 27th: it isn't a Bill, it is a Blank Cheque to the Tories.

This week, by a majority of 8:3, the Supreme Court found that the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 without an Act of the UK Parliament. However, it was not all good news since although the UK Government lost the case the Court also concluded that they do not need to consult the devolved legislators such as the Scottish Parliament.

This is the cold reality of the UK constitution where power devolved is power retained. It also graphically illustrates that the so called "partnership of equals” described in 2014 is just political fluff. The full judgment of the court is available from here:

In response to this the UK Government has put forward a Bill to allow them to initiate article 50. 

It is pitifully short and vague. In my opinion it isn't a Bill, it is a blank cheque to the Tories. 

Reaching out to our European friends and explaining our proposition to keep Scotland in the Single Market is crucial. As part of this I delivered a lecture to the College of Europe in Warsaw. I lived in Poland in the nineties, when it was not a member of the European Union, and I know what Europe means to Poland. These were fascinating times and, in the same spirit, I want Scotland to remain in our family of European nations because we are better off.

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Scotland in Europe Update 20 January 2017

It has been a very busy week, with Theresa May finally delivering her long-heralded Brexit speech. It was far from being a plan, or a white paper but it did at last give us some idea of the direction of travel. A wish list is perhaps the best description!

It is clear she has at least listened to European leaders and worked out that Single Market access means freedom of movement must continue.

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Scotland in Europe Update 13 January 2017

So, 2017 is here and it is going to be an important busy year for both Scotland and Europe.

It’s still January but already we’ve seen new developments. Malta has taken up the Presidency of the Council which confers upon the member state the authority to set the agenda, chair the meetings and generally develop the long-term priorities of the EU. It is far from a symbolic role.

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Scotland in Europe Update 23rd December 2016

This week my thoughts are firmly with those affected by the horrific events in Germany. At times like these we must all work together to build bridges between nations and communities, not sow seeds of division through our words or actions.

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Scotland in Europe Update 16th December 2016

It's been another busy week in Strasbourg, including the final address from Martin Schulz before he stands down as President of the European Parliament. He's been decent, and it will be interesting to see how his successor does. One thing is for certain - whoever succeeds him will have their work cut out for them over the next few years. 

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Scotland in Europe Update 9th December 2016

Liam Fox quietly confessed this week that he intends to try and keep the EU’s WTO schedules.  This means we will continue to have the same tariffs and quotas - so it's understandable why the Leave advocates want to keep this news quiet! 

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Scotland in Europe update: December 2nd 2016

It has been a busy week and that means a bumper newsletter. Nicola Sturgeon visited Ireland to build alliances, some companies began to put in place their plans to face Brexit and more European politicians expressed their frustration with the UK government's lack of a plan.

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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.

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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.

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