Scotland in Europe Update 30 September 2016

This week has been dominated by European politicians commenting on what the UK Government is doing - or not doing. Needless to say that Scotland and the UK are being judged and we are clearly coming out better from this.

Labour MEP David Martin (who is also a member of the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe) and I gave evidence to MSPs of the European and External Relations Committee. There are a lot of areas we can work on together. You can watch the meeting here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=088_26TVvTs

I am committed to getting the best deal possible for Scotland. I don’t dismiss any possibility, and I don’t dismiss the idea too that within this process there might be opportunities for us to grasp.

I have always believed that keeping constituents informed about the latest developments is central to my role as an MEP but now we must all stay on top of what is going to be a very complex set of negotiations.

We must all be active so please feel free to share this with your friends. Anybody interested can sign up here: http://www.alynsmith.eu/stay_informed.

As part of this I have launched a survey of leave voters because I’m not going to write off or ignore 38 per cent of the vote, not least when the Brexit process has not even begun. If you have any friends who voted leave please direct them to this: http://www.alynsmith.eu/consultation

Yours Aye,

Alyn

Guy Verhofstadt the European Parliament’s Brexit representative pointed out some of the enormous contradictions within the Brexit ministers' positions:

“So Boris Johnson wants to help Turkey join the EU, after he just campaigned for the UK to leave the EU on the basis that Turkey would be joining the EU in the near future. The UK defence Minister today says the UK Government will block EU efforts to enhance its security capabilities, even though the UK is leaving the EU, yet they say they want an enhanced security relationship with the EU after Brexit. Liam Fox, the UK trade minister, has indicated the UK will leave the EU's customs union, because he thinks other markets are more important, yet his Prime Minister tells us that the EU27 "will sign" an ambitious trade deal with the UK. Politics never fails to surprise me!”

https://www.facebook.com/GuyVerhofstadt/posts/10155001346840016

I was on the front page of the EU Parliament magazine. You can read the interview here:

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/interviews/alyn-smith-my-entire-day-job-scotland-europe

British diplomats are quietly urging European business leaders to ignore the statements of senior UK government ministers over Brexit according MLex

http://mlexmarketinsight.com/editors-picks/public-rifts-brexit-show-split-government-departure-convention/

Nicola Sturgeon emphasised the importance of the single market to Scotland in a speech delivered to the Institute of Directors annual convention:

https://scottishgovernment.presscentre.com/News/FM-highlights-importance-of-membership-of-single-market-2bcc.aspx

The Scottish Government External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop met with the French Government’s Minister of State for European Affairs Harlem Désir.

https://scottishgovernment.presscentre.com/News/EU-discussion-with-French-Government-2bc1.aspx

Europe is watching both Scotland and the UK. This week Der Spiegel covered the Scottish Government’s recent comments (in German):

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/warnung-aus-schottland-london-will-den-harten-brexit-a-1114010.html

And in contrast Europe was horrified by Boris Johnson’s comments that the link between access to the single market and freedom of movement was “complete baloney”.

Die Welt (in German):

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article158350069/So-amuesiert-sich-Schaeuble-jetzt-ueber-Boris-Johnson.html

Elsevier (in Dutch):

http://www.elsevier.nl/buitenland/achtergrond/2016/09/schauble-haalt-uit-naar-johnson-over-brexit-ik-kan-het-ook-in-het-engels-uitleggen-366421/ 

Greece joined the ranks of those asking for the TTIP negotiations to be suspended (in Greek)

http://www.mindev.gov.gr/index.php/%CE%B3%CF%81%CE%B1%CF%86%CE%B5%CE%B9%CE%BF-%CF%84%CF%85%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/%CE%B4%CE%B5%CE%BB%CF%84%CE%AF%CE%B1-%CF%84%CF%8D%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%85/3657-2016-09-26-06-40-09

The Centre for European Reform published a report entitled “Brexit Britain: The Poor Man of Western Europe?”

https://www.cer.org.uk/publications/archive/policy-brief/2016/brexit-britain-poor-man-western-europe

Open Europe published an interesting analysis of what the terms ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit actually mean:

http://openeurope.org.uk/today/blog/hard-brexit-soft-brexit-actually-mean/

Liam Fox gave a confused speech that raised far more questions than it answered:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/launch-of-the-world-trade-report-2016-inclusive-trade-and-smes

This analysis of his comments about World Trade Organisation rules are well worth a read:

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2016/09/27/fox-slip-up-at-wto-shows-he-has-no-brexit-plan

Jean Quatremer has suggested that the UK should foot the bill for the direct cost incurred by the Brexit negotiations so that the EU can spend the money on Erasmus instead. In the coming two years he estimates that EU institutions will spend at least £50 million in staff and travel to London. The UK's Brexit team could cost 60 million pounds according to the Institute for Government - which only UK taxpayers will pay for.

In French: http://bruxelles.blogs.liberation.fr/2016/09/29/brexit-que-les-anglais-payent-la-facture/ 

Institute for Government report: http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/IfG_Organising_Brexit_briefing_final.pdf