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Scotland and Europe update September 2nd 2016

Welcome to the latest weekly bulletin on Scotland and Europe. I am committed as one of Scotland's MEPs to keep constituents up to date as we all try to make sense of the shambles that is Brexit.

Everyone is now back to work in Brussels and London, but Theresa May’s message to Europe has not changed in two months: there is still no message, and this, understandably, gets on our European friends’ nerves with - again - the EU calling on the UK to get its act together and present a negotiating position.

Meanwhile the EU is coordinating without us to make sure a European citizen gets to be UN Secretary General, maybe a woman for the first time in history – Irina Bokova.

There was a UK Cabinet meeting on Wednesday at Chequers but things are barely clearer. The UK Cabinet meeting did tell us a few things: limiting immigration will be the major point in the UK negotiating position and the UK government says there will be no vote in Parliament to trigger Article 50. Similarly the position of the UK government is that devolved administrations such as Scotland will not have a formal role in the negotiations or the right to veto:
The Tories are outwardly still confident they can restrict EU citizens’ rights while preserving all the good stuff the EU brings - again, Germany said “nein”, that is impossible. Juergen Hardt, foreign policy spokesman for the conservative CDU in the German Parliament, clearly stated the UK cannot pick and choose EU benefits in the negotiations. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s Foreign Minister, also reiterated his position: "The UK can't rid itself of the duties of an EU member and at the same time keep the rights of an EU member".

Brexit Secretary David Davis has stressed that the UK has no desire for a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but hasn’t suggested any practical solutions for how to achieve this...
The New York Times covers the deep internal divisions within the Conservative party.

“The Government must be frank, both about the trade-offs involved, and the fact that many of the promises made by the ‘leave’ side are manifestly unfulfillable”, says Andrew Tyrie MP, Chairman of Westminster’s Treasury Select Committee.

Paris has launched its own campaign to attract European businesses. For a close-up on the regulatory implications of Brexit on the City of London, read this interesting piece by Ciaran McGonagle:

Remember when some argued that the UK should leave the EU to avoid TTIP? While the UK government wants to go full steam ahead with TTIP, Germany’s Vice Chancellor indicated TTIP was dead, the French Trade Minister said the same and Austria’s Economy Minister called for a halt to talks:

Here is an essential read by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on why some people voted Leave. The anger is real and justified, but was entirely misdirected:

Finally a report by the Electoral Reform Society on the EU referendum, underlines 16 year olds should have voted, says the campaign was too short and slams the misinformation that dogged the campaign.'s%20Good%20to%20Talk%20-%20Doing%20Referendums%20Differently%20After%20the%20EU%20Vote.pdf

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