Scotland in Europe Update 21st July 2017

Well, the second round of negotiations are complete and the good news is that nobody stormed out. Unfortunately, that really is the end of the good news.

The two big issues being negotiated were the financial settlement and EU citizens’ rights. On the first it was left to Michel Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, to point out that unless the UK clarifies its position talks will stall:

“Comme je l'ai dit très clairement à David, une clarification de la position du Royaume-Uni est indispensable pour négocier et pour aboutir à des "progrès suffisants" sur ce dossier financier, qui est inséparable des autres dossiers du retrait.”

(“As I said very clearly to David, a clarification of the UK’s position is indispensable for us to negotiate and for us to make sufficient progress on this financial dossier, which is inseparable for the other withdrawal dossiers”.)

It seems remarkable that over a year after the vote, and on the first issue to be discussed, the UK simply doesn’t have a complete proposal! The reality is that unless the UK brings something substantive forward, the talks will stall simply because there is nothing to talk about.

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Scotland in Europe update: 14th July 2017

This has been a busy week in both Brussels and Westminster. Boris Johnson’s arrogant and ridiculous statement to the House of Commons that so far as honouring the UK’s financial commitments the EU could “Go whistle!” seems a long time ago. A few days later Michel Barnier’s rather dry response that: "I'm not hearing any whistling, just the clock ticking," seemed rather apt since by the end of the week the UK Government has conceded it will pay something.

This reveals the process for the farce that it is. The worry is that it is too easy to just laugh at the madness and move on, but the dangers we face are far too serious for that. The Great Repeal Bill was published this week and is everything I feared it would be:

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Assessment of the Brexit Steering Group on the UK Paper “Safeguarding the Position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK Nationals living in the EU”

1. The European Parliament represents all citizens of the EU and will act to protect their interests throughout the whole process in line with its resolution of 5 April 2017.

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Scotland in Europe Update 7th July 2017

Another week, another lie of the Leave campaign exposed for what it was. This time, it was the turn of the nonsense peddled about Turkey’s application to join the EU. My fellow MEPs and I passed a further report on Turkey’s application to join the EU. It re-stated our position to freeze all membership negotiations. For those of you interested, point 7 is the key line:

“[The European Parliament] Recalls its position from November 2016 to freeze the accession process with Turkey;” 

The full text is of the report is available here:

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'Progress is not inevitable' Alyn warns WorldPride meeting

Alyn Smith MEP has called for cross-community solidarity to guard Equalities and maintain Rights against “populists and hatemongers mobilising against us” during the Interparliamentary Plenary Session at World Pride in Madrid. 

 WorldPride Madrid 2017

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Interparliamentary Plenary Session: Madrid 2017

Interparliamentary plenary session: Madrid 2017

Muchas gracias, thank you for the invitation to be here from Scotland. It’s been a great pleasure for me to be here, to see so many wonderful people celebrating Pride, celebrating love, celebrating equality and diversity, and making solidarity real. 

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Scotland in Europe Update 30th June 2017

So, the UK has finally put forward its generous offer to EU citizens – so generous, it removes their rights.

The major contention is that the UK is still refusing to accept the role of the European Court of Justice because the Government is listening to the militant Brexiteers of the UKIP and the Tory party rather than behaving rationally. Ultimately, as Michel Barnier the EU negotiator has said, the UK needs “more ambition, clarity and guarantees.”

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Scottish MEP welcomes German equal marriage vote

Commenting on today’s vote by German MPs to legalise same-sex marriage, Alyn Smith MEP, member of the European Parliament’s LGBTI Intergroup said:

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Scotland in Europe update: 23rd June 2017

The negotiations have begun. I wondered how I'd feel watching the Tory minister negotiating away our future. Now I know. Angry. Scotland deserves better than this, as does the UK as a whole.

Once again, we've seen that Tory Prime Ministers prioritise their own party's stability over all else. It's painfully clear that the UK Government is woefully under-equipped to speak up for our country in global negotiations.

This was revealed as the UK caved to every single EU demand on day one. The promise from David Davis that the debate over the sequencing of negotiations would be "row of the summer" never emerged as he stood in the EU Commission press room announcing that he would follow the outline produced by the EU.

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Scottish MEP reacts to day one of Brexit negotiations

Alyn Smith SNP MEP has delivered the following statement following the first day of the Brexit negotiations in Brussels. 

"I wondered how I'd feel watching the Tory minister negotiating away our future. Now I know. Angry. Scotland deserves better than this, as does the UK as a whole. 

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