Scotland in Europe Update 17 February 2017

Last week was a rough one, I don’t mind admitting. Having to watch the House of Commons debate how, when and if the UK Government should begin the withdrawal process from the EU was horrible.

So many lies, so many half-truths, so many unapologetic proven shysters getting away with it. The SNP MPs, and plenty of others, tried their best but the die was cast. The Tories in the UK Government have been given a blank cheque. It turns out “taking back control” actually meant “give control to the Tories”.

But remember, this isn’t over yet. The European Parliament will have a proper vote on Article 50, not a window dressing exercise as will take place in the Commons. If the UK Article 50 proposition takes due note of Scotland’s needs, maybe I’ll back it. All options remain on the table until the UK takes them away.

Will Westminster work with the Scottish Government and negotiate in the best interests of Scotland? Safe to say I hae ma doots. Scotland has friends across the EU and whatever the Brexiteers may think, this discussion does not end with a vote in a palace by the Thames. In fact, this discussion has barely started. My full thoughts on where we are can be found in my column in this week’s National:

www.thenational.scot/news/15092016.Alyn_Smith__Europe_will_put_the_Brexiteers_in_their_place_as_soon_as_Article_50_is_triggered/

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 www.alynsmith.eu/stay_informed.

Yours aye,

Alyn

Ian Hudghton MEP and I voted against giving consent to CETA but the Agreement was nevertheless approved by a majority of the European Parliament.

www.alynsmith.eu/snp_deliver_not_proven_verdict_on_ceta

'We need the Scottish people ... we cannot afford to lose that’ said Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Chief Brexit Negotiator. 

www.thenational.scot/news/15089828.Europe_s_chief_Brexit_negotiator_says___We_need_the_Scottish_people_____we_cannot_afford_to_lose_that_/

Brexit could have a “destabilising effect” on the Peace Process, according to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

www.rte.ie/news/2017/0212/852029-bertie-ahern-brexit/

Spain has warned that it will block UK access to the EU’s single aviation market unless Gibraltar’s international airport is excluded.

www.ft.com/content/a62b292a-ef99-11e6-930f-061b01e23655

The UK risks being denied access to the EU’s Galileo GPS System

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-could-be-shut-out-of-super-accurate-eu-gps-system-it-helped-to-build-a7574206.html

Portugal adds its name to the list of countries wishing to host the European Medical Agency, which is currently based in the UK.

www.politico.eu/pro/portugal-joins-race-to-host-ema/

The French Senate will not accept that a state can get as much from being outside the EU than inside, concludes  a cross-party report.

www.senat.fr/rap/r16-425/r16-425_mono.html

80% of Scottish civil society feels that leaving the EU will have a negative impact on human rights and equalities, according to a survey by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

www.scvo.org.uk/blog/human-rights-expert-encourages-third-sector-call-to-arms-on-brexit/

UK fishermen may not regain control of UK waters. One of the drafted provisions from MEPs is that in the exit agreement with Britain there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks [maintaining the existing quota distribution in UK and EU waters]”.

www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/feb/15/uk-fishermen-may-not-win-waters-back-after-brexit-eu-memo-reveals

French Universities are looking to take advantage of Brexit.

www.francetvinfo.fr/monde/europe/la-grande-bretagne-et-l-ue/apres-le-brexit-l-essec-invite-les-universites-britanniques-a-s-installer-en-france_2061123.html

Scottish Government International Development Minister Alasdair Allan was in Norway meeting business leaders.

twitter.com/ScotGovEurope/status/832209362710044676

Wine is increasing in price due to Brexit.

www.theguardian.com/business/2017/feb/14/brexit-wine-champagne-prosecco-more-expensive-uk-trade-body

A transitional EU deal could prove “difficult, if not impossible” according to the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs.

mlexmarketinsight.com/editors-picks/brexit-transition-deal-impossible-get-eu-lawmakers-say/

Even if a transitional deal can be made to work, the UK will have to accept the decisions of EU Courts.

www.buzzfeed.com/albertonardelli/officials-say-britain-cant-pull-out-of-eu-courts-if-it-wants

Politico made a list of 13 things you didn’t know about Brexit, including that UK citizens make 42 million trips to the EU27 each year.

www.politico.eu/newsletter/playbook/politico-brussels-playbook-presented-by-epp-group-13-things-you-didnt-know-about-brexit-meet-nbcs-euronews-nato-ministers-meet/

Brexit could result in the loss of 30,000 jobs in the financial sector.

www.bmmagazine.co.uk/newswire/brexit-will-cost-uk-30000-finance-jobs-brussels-study-says/

Bruegel has produced short analysis of the challenges faced by the Education and Research sectors in the UK.

bruegel.org/2017/02/the-impact-of-brexit-on-uk-tertiary-education-and-rd/ 

Chatham House has produced a details analysis on Devolved External Affairs concluding that Brexit will result in “significant political and institutional implications.”

www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/publications/research/2017-02-09-devolved-external-affairs-brexit-whitman-final.pdf

The finance ministers of the devolved administrations have jointly called for more clarity on how Brexit will impact up the budgets of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

news.gov.scot/news/clarity-on-brexit 

The Irish Taoiseach plans to seek EU aid for Irish firms that are adversely impacted by Brexit.

www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/taoiseach-to-seek-eu-aid-for-irish-firms-hit-by-brexit-1.2976641

Lloyds is looking to open a subsidiary in Berlin to maintain EU access.

www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-latest-news-lloyds-bank-berlin-choose-european-hq-base-eu-access-a7578886.html 

The New York Times published a damning opinion piece on Theresa May’s ‘Empire of the Mind’.

www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/opinion/theresa-mays-empire-of-the-mind.html

Microsoft is putting up prices post-Brexit.

www.engadget.com/2017/02/15/microsoft-surface-pricing-brexit/