Welcome to your latest weekly bulletin on Scotland and Europe. As we’ve been told again this week, Brexit means Brexit. But what does Brexit mean? Why, Brexit of course! David Davis' statement this week certainly didn't leave us any wiser.
Against the background of this boorach, President of the European Council Donald "Optimist" Tusk has said it's in everyone's best interests to begin negotiations as soon as possible, and the ball is in the UK Government's court.
On that note, the European Parliament has appointed Guy Verhofstadt MEP as its lead negotiator on Brexit. This is very good news, and Guy will be able to corral 27 national interests and be pragmatic about finding solutions. Read more here.
As always, I'll do my best to keep you up to date and informed with the latest developments. So keep reading, and thanks again to everyone for the kind words last week!
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the Conservative Government’s “cloud of secrecy” over Brexit, and told MSPs that the Scottish Government “will not be window dressing” in the negotiations.
Japanese companies are being advised to delay their European plans as the Japanese Government warns that the continued uncertainty around Brexit is putting investment and jobs at risk. Going by the 15 page memo, even the government of Japan has done more preparatory work for Brexit than the UK Government!
Would leaving the single market make Scottish independence less likely? Professor Michael Keating warned as much at the Scottish Affairs Committee meeting this week. Meanwhile, Dr Jo Murkens noted that, without a common UK approach, unionism would reach breaking point – big news for Scotland and Ireland.
Ireland's ambassador to London has confirmed that Northern Ireland is Dublin's "most acute" concern re. Brexit, and called for the region to be put front and centre of the upcoming negotiations.
“The United Kingdom was never a full member of the European Union,” says Herman Van Rompuy, former President of the European Council. Brexit came about via national circumstances and the use of Europe as a convenient scapegoat.
Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing Republican Party has called for new TTIP discussions in 2017, despite the proposal being unpopular with many MEPs and groups, including the European People’s Party (EPP). The EPP includes major conservative parties, such as the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany, the People’s Party (PP) from Spain… and the Republican Party of France.
Theresa May has dropped Boris Johnson’s plans for an Australian-style points-based immigration system, but may instead block EU migrants from coming to the UK in search of work.
But the UK has begun preliminary discussions with Australia about a new free trade agreement.
“Completely unrealistic” Brexit proposals are baffling our European neighbours. A lack of understanding over how the European Union works is contributing to contradictory statements from UK ministers, according to Czech negotiator Tomas Prouza.
The Belgian think-tank Bruegel has published a paper advocating a deal for the UK that would allow access to EU markets with limited immigration for European workers in return for contributing to shared security and budgets.