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Scotland in Europe Update 13th October 2017

I have had a busy week at SNP conference and I am proud to say that we will do all we can to reassure EU nationals in Scotland that you’re welcome here and you’re one of us. The First Minister has vowed that Scotland will pay any admin fees required by the UK Government for EU citizens to stay in the country after Brexit.

On the Monday, Joan McAlpine MSP and Michael Russell MSP joined me in squeezing into a packed room to launch Scotland IN Europe, a one-stop suite of meticulously researched and referenced resources available in print and online. Looking out at the hundreds of people listening intently to the discussion and asking pertinent, well-reasoned questions highlighted how seriously we’re taking Brexit and the EU.

If you want a copy you can download a pdf, or order a physical version from here:


I wish I could say the UK Government had been as busy! Unfortunately, after another week’s negotiations the talks are still in deadlock.

The UK Government must change its attitude and negotiate in a mature and grown up way or nothing will change. Everyone is starting to talk about a no deal scenario, but remember “no deal is better than a bad deal” is a vacuous slogan that should chill your blood. If you want to read more about a no deal scenario then I wrote about it here:




The UK trade delegations sent to Washington with Liam Fox was only 27 strong versus the 77 US representatives, and had next to no direct experience of trade deals.

In a vindictive move the Tory party have suspended two MEPs who agreed that insufficient progress had been made in the Brexit talks.

The European Committee of the Scottish Parliament met with Michel Barnier who confirmed that although his door was open to Scotland and Wales “It was the UK Government’s responsibility as to how it composed its negotiating team.”

The First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones has said that a ‘no deal’ outcome would be a disaster.

I met with my German colleague Barbara Lochbihler MEP earlier this month to discuss Scotland and the Brexit negotiations.

Farmers’ incomes will be cut in half if a ‘no deal’ occurs, according to a report by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit deal will cost $15,000 (£11,000) per person, according to Rabobank.

“Between the three months to May 2017 and the three months to August 2017, total trade in goods exports fell due to decreased exports to non-EU countries, partially offset by increased exports to other EU countries.”

The IMF upgraded every advanced nation’s economic growth prospects except the UK in its latest set of forecasts.

The EU and the UK have started to engage WTO members on the UK’s withdrawal. 

The Scottish Government has released a publication focussing on the point of view of businesses. It focusses on real companies with real people and real examples.

The UK released two more position papers but didn’t consult the Scottish Government.
The papers are available here:
and here:

Philip Hammond has conceded that a ‘no deal’ could lead to grounded flights.

“My advice to the UK when they leave the EU is: don’t build the border station too small, you need plenty of space,” says Roger Nilsson, a 30-year veteran of Sweden’s border force.

The British Airlines and Pilots Association says a Brexit ‘no deal’ would be a “disaster”.

A leaked internal report by the Irish Revenue Commissioners has argued that an open customs border between Ireland and the UK will be impossible after Brexit concluding: "Once negotiations are completed ... the UK will become a third country for customs purposes and the associated formalities will become unavoidable."

Former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton has said that the EU “cannot rely on UK to stick to Brexit deal” because of division within the Tory party.

Irish Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe unveiled a €300 million Brexit loan scheme to help small businesses as they deal with Brexit.

Whitehall departments are fighting over Brexit staff.

Belgian ports such as Zeebrugge are getting increasingly nervous about Brexit.

The EU has started looking into tightening its euro clearing rules to reduce the dominance of the City of London.

Though insufficient progress has been made to allow negotiations to start, the EU has proposed to start discussing amongst themselves what kind of trade deal the UK could potentially be offered in the future.

Finally, if you are in Edinburgh this Saturday then there will be a Rally for Europe, urging the UK Government to think again on Brexit.