Brexit Bulletin August 12th 2016

Welcome to my latest Brexit Bulletin, designed to keep you up to date with the various ramifications of Brexit and what we are doing to ensure Scotland's best interests are protected. It has never been more important to keep up to date with what is happening with Scotland in Europe, and I am committed to keeping my constituents up to date with developments. I'm afraid there may well not be much good news, but the Scottish government, most of Scotland's politicians and I are resolved, we will dig in and get the best deal we can for the people we serve.

An important part of that process is keeping you up to date and informed. Please do feel free to share this update, encourage people to register for more at and I hope you find it useful.

The big news this week was First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s visit to Berlin for talks with the German Government. Nicola set out Scotland’s perspective on the result of the referendum on the EU with Minister of State Michael Roth who said: “This has been a very pleasant and constructive conversation between two dedicated pro-Europeans”.

Nicola’s statement about her visit to Germany can be read here

Michael Roth’s statement can be read here.

The First Minster’s visit has gone down well in Germany and shows what we can achieve if we go directly to Europe rather than via Westminster. Click here for her interview on the ARD channel.

German media has also been pondering the future of Scotland as an environmental leader in the face of Brexit. We are rightly proud of our environmental successes. In the face of Brexit questions are now being asked about whether the Scottish Government will be able to build upon these, or whether the UK government will roll back on the work that has been done. Read the full story from Deutsche Welle here.

Back home, Alex Neil MSP has argued that all options must be on the table for Scotland’s future. See Holyrood magazine here.

In Ireland there has been worrying news that Brexit has threatened funding to the peace process. The threat to the €1.2m EU funds vital to support the ‘fragile’ Irish peace is clearly troubling as the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs has pointed out. Click here for the full story in the Irish Times.

European economies have begun to react to the UK’s vote. Both the Netherlands Centraal Planbureau (in Dutch) and the German Institute for Economic Research have revised their growth estimates down by 0.4% and 0.3% respectively in response to Brexit:

Data Transfers between the UK, EU and US. Many sectors are now starting to work out the reality of what Brexit means and data transfer agreements have just got even more complex. Organisations like Facebook and Twitter currently rely on the EU-US frameworks. In the future the UK will need to write its own, protecting the privacy of its citizens whilst allowing internet services to operate effectively. Much more can be read from bruegel here.

The Brexit negotiations themselves are still in the infantile stages but there have been developments in relation to EFTA, the European Free Trade Association. The Norwegian European Affairs Minister Elisabeth Vik Aspaker told the Norwegian daily Aftenposten that “It’s not certain that it would be a good idea to let a big country into this organization.” EFTA is often seen as one of the last hopes for the UK remaining in the Single Market (Click here for more details). Bloomberg have also attempted to compile a list of redlines from across Europe. A quick skim reveals the difficulties ahead.

To end on better news it seems that the Tory plan to scrap the Human Rights Act has been kicked into the long grass. This has been a long time coming but I am pleased that common sense seems to be prevailing.