Alyn Smith Member of the European Parliament for Scotland

Hello, and welcome to the website of Alyn Smith MEP. Here you can find out more information on my work in the European Parliament, sign up for my newsletter, and get in touch.

Below are some of the latest pieces from around the rest of the site, click read more to go to the full article. 

  • Scotland in Europe Update: 16th August 2019

    So amidst the noise, silly season rumours, and gossip of the summer it is worth stepping back this week and looking at the bigger picture for a moment. Whatever the debates about what the EU should and shouldn’t be doing there has always been one thing at its core: trade. The EU is one of the world’s largest trading blocs (by some counts the world’s largest, it all depends on how you measure trade). This matters as it means that – in the dog eat dog domain of the World Trade Organization – we stand together, ensuring our voice is heard. The brutal reality is that once you are in Geneva, size and negotiating power are all that matter. The EU delivers for Scotland because it is such a big trading bloc. You can see this in the deals it is currently negotiating. Now as many of you know, we in the SNP have had our issues with some of the EU’s trade deals, but the reality is they are infinitely better than anything the UK could negotiate alone. Just one example is that earlier this week Australia released the list of geographic protections that the EU is seeking to secure. Guess what? Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, Scottish farmed Salmon and Scotch Whisky are all on it.dfat.gov.au/...
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 9th August 2019

    This week the Prime Minister and his fellow Brexiters have been busy. Not busy preparing the ground to stop Brexit, or busy preparing for the no deal they claim they want, but very busy blaming everybody else for the what they are about to inflict on us. Ian Duncan Smith was blaming the establishment and Michael Gove the EU. Obviously, blaming the Irish is the not so subtle background undertone to all of this. The backstop was created to protect the Good Friday Agreement which continues to be a highly successful international treaty that the UK should be supporting.
    read more
  • British exceptionalism lurks in the UK’s detention polices

    BRITISH exceptionalism has become a buzzword in recent years, as a cause of Brexit for some academics and in the pages of the Telegraph as a justification for why Brexit will be a rip-roaring success. I confess I have some sympathy for the view that some who have spent their careers within the SW1 bubble have developed an over-entitled sense of history. First published in The National, 7 August 2019
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 2nd August 2019

    “I want, and I’m determined that, Scotland will also be the country that helps change the focus of countries and governments across the world to put well-being at the heart of everything that we do. I think we owe that to this generation. I certainly believe we owe that to the next generation and all those that come after us. And if we do that, led here from the country of the Enlightenment, then I think we create a better, healthier, fairer and happier society here at home. And we play our part in Scotland in building a fairer, happier world as well.” These words were part of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s TED Talk this week (you can see the full talk here: ted.com/...) and we all agree that our focus must remain on this goal. The renewed spectre of a no deal Brexit – and the Johnson government's stance in general – make it increasingly difficult to see how we can achieve this without independence in Europe.
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 26th July 2019

    So here we are. Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister of the UK. “Bouffon de la reine” (court jester) was how France’s Liberation described him and that pretty much sums up the reaction in EU capitals. The congratulation letter from EU President Donald Tusk – the man who implored the UK “please do not waste this time” when the last extension was agreed – was blunt. His two sentence letter ended with “I look forward to meeting you to discuss – in detail – our co-operation.” It reads more like a ‘see me after class’ note from a particularly exasperated teacher, something Mr Johnson was apparently no stranger to while at Eton. You can read it here: consilium.europa.eu/... Mr Johnson is remembered with clarity in Brussels from his days as a journalist here. Political Brussels is a bit of a village: people tend to know of, if not know, each other. His reputation precedes him. More recently, as Foreign Secretary, he was back and forth to Brussels for Foreign Affairs Council meetings and was notorious for his erratic participation and not reading his brief. Be in no doubt, he is universally dismissed as a lightweight even if some are too professional to say so publicly.
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 19th July 2019

    This week in Strasbourg, your SNP MEPs backed Dr Ursula von der Leyen for the role of new President of the European Commission. Dr von der Leyen was elected by 383 votes to 327. In her hearing before the SNP's political Group Greens-EFA, the new Commission President proved she has a good understanding of Scottish and UK politics, is a fierce critic of Brexit, and will be an articulate and personable ally in turning Brexit around. We can do business with Dr von der Leyen and were pleased to support her. She is a bright, credible and articulate woman, and her commitment to a gender balanced College of Commissioners is brilliant news. You can see Alyn’s speech announcing our support here: https://youtu.be/qyW5IHlNQ_4
    read more
  • SNP congratulates EU Commission President Von der Leyen

    The team of SNP Members of the European Parliament have backed the successful EU Commission President, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen in her election in Strasbourg.  Dr von der Leyen was elected by 383 votes to 327.
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 12th July 2019

    This week, with our group colleagues, we had the opportunity to question the nominee to be President of the European Commission. In answers to our questions Ursula von der Leyen has shown herself to be exactly in line with Scotland in our efforts to stop Brexit. Crucially she confirmed that not only legally (which we already knew) but also politically we can change our mind right up to the last minute and remain in the EU without consequence: Yes, the door is open because we want you in. And the political consequences are way harder when it comes the other why round. So as we have said we want you in. We are prepared for whatever happens but if we are to choose we want you in. There are of course a lot of issues facing the EU and the world, but we were sent here to stop Brexit. Mrs von der Leyen has confirmed herself as an ally in this, she did her candidacy a lot of good with her clear comments. Indeed, she went further explaining that she was not only a fan of Nicola Sturgeon but also that she knew “first-hand how the debates [in the UK] are. So, respect and good luck.” There’s a long way to go but we can stop Brexit, and we have friends across the continent who are only too happy to help.
    read more
  • Scotland in Europe Update: 5th April 2019

    After this week, my dismay for Westminster is verging on disgust. I am sickened by the vain, shallow, self-regarding antics we’ve seen coming out of that place. I know there’s a lot of decent sorts in there trying to fix this – as appalled as I am by where they are – but they’re pushing against a boulder of intransigence. They're also trying to do the impossible: make a success of Brexit. This week began with MPs having non-binding votes on various future options, floundered in the middle – with MPs narrowly passing a mechanism to stop no-deal which won’t stop no-deal – and ended with Corbyn and May locked in a room trying to decide the fate of Scotland’s EU membership.
    read more
  • "Leave a light on for Scotland," Alyn urges EU

    SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has, to warm applause, urged the European Union to "leave a light on" for Scotland to find our way back to the EU if we are removed against our democratic will.  The intervention was applauded across the Chamber and by Presidents Tusk and Juncker.
    read more