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.
The big news this week though is that Alex Salmond has been in Brussels meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. After their meeting he commented:
“The President told me that Scotland had earned the right to be heard and listened to. Undoubtedly this is a result of the diplomatic efforts of the First Minister and her team.”
This just shows how the discussions taking place on Scotland's behalf are covering all the angles, and people are working hard to protect Scotland's place in Europe.
On a lighter note, you may be amused to note that, in the absence of a definition from Theresa May’s government, the Oxford English Dictionary editors have started work on a definition of Brexit! The link is below.
David Davis announced that the Brexit ‘plan’ of the UK Government will not be published before February.
Access to the single market is contingent on freedom of movement, according to Jens Weidmann, President of the German Federal Bank (in German).
The House of Lords have published a couple of interesting reports on Brexit.
Firstly, they have advocated that Northern Ireland should be given special status and maintain an open land border. They also argued that control over EU migration should be devolved to the Northern Irish Assembly. The FT undertook a good analysis of the main points:
The full report is available here:
Secondly, they produced a more wide ranging report on the options for UK trade. This assesses a number of potential options for the UK including:
- the European Economic Area (EEA)
- a customs union with the EU
- a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
- trade based on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
The full report is available here:
Le Monde reported that UK universities have experienced a 9% drop in the number of applicants from the rest of the EU as they closed deadline applications for the next academic year (in French).
Liberation interviewed the former UK diplomat who drafted Article 50 of the EU treaties. Lord John Kerr says the most interesting event to expect is UK Supreme Court's response to Scotland's position that Holyrood's assent is required to activate Article 50.
EU citizens should collect proof of living in UK, according to Helena Kennedy QC. The advise may be sensible but it is unacceptable that we have reached this position. Rest assured, I will continue to stand up for rights of European citizens in Scotland.
“…hostility to migrants was rooted in nativism, not economics” according to the The Centre for European Reform.
Alex Salmond met with the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Nicola Sturgeon was included in Foreign Policy Magazine's list of global thinkers for 2016.
The Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin have started to put together some thoughts on the political impact that Brexit will have on Ireland.
Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar have been awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament. They were abducted by militants in 2014 and forced into sex slavery, before escaping and becoming activists raising awareness of the abuses of Iraq's Yazidi community. The Sakharov Prize honours those who defend human rights.
and further information is available here:
"The best relationship you can have with the EU is of course to be inside the EU, not outside. Since the UK is leaving, they will face a less good deal." According to German MEP David McAllister.
The Irish Central Bank has commented that a number of UK financial firms had visited Ireland on factfinding missions.
Simply remaining in the Customs Union may not be the answer to the Brexit riddle according to the Centre of European Reform.
Finally, we may not have a definition of Brexit from the UK Government, but those who make the dictionaries have to move faster. As the senior editor for the Oxford English Dictionary said "spare a thought for us lexicographers, having to decide what Brexit means before anybody else. But perhaps it should have been easy; after all, Brexit means Brexit."