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Scotland in Europe Update: 1st June 2018

Yesterday, the Trump administration announced new duties on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico. As Cecilia Malmström, the European Trade Commissioner said, “today is a bad day for world trade.” The EU will respond and has already notified the WTO that it intends to levy duties on $7.2 billion worth of US exports in response. You can read more here:

and see the WTO notification here:

Rest assured, so long as Scotland is in the EU, the Commission will stand up for our interests. Protecting as much as is legally possible the vital industries and jobs that are under threat from Trump’s dangerous adventures.

Only a trading bloc the size of the EU can exert meaningful influence here, and this is why Scotland, as an independent state, should be a member of the EU sitting at the top table. Instead we have to trust our future trading policy to Liam Fox, who even after these events clings to the delusion that the protectionist American president will sign a glorious trade deal with Brexit Britain.

The reality is that he will sign away anything to secure that. The Brexiters, as with Trump, are hell-bent on pursuing a raft of policies that will harm those they pretend to represent.

As each week passes the need to stop Brexit becomes ever clearer.

PS Last week I had a wonderful time appearing on the Cakewatch podcast. It is well worth a listen and remember: “Shy Weans Get No Sweeties”!



Michel Barnier delivered an important speech at the 28th Congress of the International Federation for European Law (FIDE). His conclusions are well worth a read. The UK has simply not understood what the EU is, or how it works.

“From our side, there is no spirit or revenge or punishment, and there never will be. But it must be understood that, in the European Union, our strength comes from the trust between Member States. This trust does not fall from the sky. The trust between us is founded on a normative ecosystem, common rules, shared decisions, joint supervision and implementation and a common Court of Justice. Nowhere else in the world will you find a common legal order for an entire continent like the one we have built together over the past 60 years. There is no reason, no justification, for accepting to weaken this community of law and destiny because one of our Member States has decided to leave.”

Under current plans from the UK Government farming 'would disappear from large parts of Scotland' according to Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.

In an outrageous move, the UK Government has increased the fees to renounce British citizenship to over £1,000 for a family of three. Some EU27 countries do not allow dual nationality so Brexit has forced UK citizens to choose which country they wish to keep their citizenship.

In troubling news – considering the extra work load that EU citizens will place on the department – the Home Office has lost documents from hundreds of people.

Councillors, AMs, MPs and MEPs representing Wales from across the political spectrum have united in calling for a vote on the final Brexit deal.

A number of Corbyn’s allies have launched a campaign to try and persuade him of the merits of EU membership.

Sarah O’Connor has written a wonderful piece in the FT arguing that UK immigration needs to be based on people not wealth.

Nicola Sturgeon held a constructive meeting with Michel Barnier.

Bruegel have published their testimony to the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy which is well worth a read.

In an interview in the Daily Record I have commented on how we can move forward. The bottom line is we need to see movement in England.

“Scotland voted on Brexit and our position was clear. We don’t want leaving the EU to happen, we want to remain and we want that to be turned around for the whole of the UK. Whether there is a vote in the House of Commons, whether there is a second referendum on the terms of the deal, we’re open to how that might happen. Calls for a second referendum need to come from England because that is where it will be won or lost. That’s where things need to move.”

Key figures in industry have warned that investment plans are at risk because of Brexit.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said that the transition deal will need to last longer than two years.

Border gardaí are requesting automatic weapons because of their fears of a hard border post-Brexit.

The UK Government have produced a position paper on sharing classified information with the EU post-Brexit. There isn’t a huge amount of detail (when is there?) but the short version is they would like to.

TV channel Discovery is to shut its European hub in London due to Brexit.

HMRC, who let’s remember are responsible for delivering whatever customs arrangement the UK ends up with, now employ 2,000 fewer people that on the day before the EU referendum.

In the meantime, the UK Government has hired just three civil servants to work on Brexit in Scotland.

Chris Patten, a former EU Commissioner for External Affairs has written a thoughtful piece warning of the dangers we now face. “As the stark reality of Brexit sinks in, members of Britain’s cabinet and leading Brexiteers have increasingly turned on one another and attempted to cast blame on everyone but themselves: judges, civil servants, parliamentarians – even those who voted to remain in the EU.” Brexit is bad, full stop.

This piece in Prospect Magazine neatly explains the key problems with trying to follow the Swiss model.

Nigel Lawson, a former chair of Vote Leave, has applied for French residency.

The EU is doubling Erasmus spending. It is a tragedy we don’t know if Scots will be able to take advantage of the scheme in the future.

The Conversation have produced an excellent explainer of how a full English breakfast will be affected by Brexit.

And finally, my colleague Richard Corbett has put together an entertaining and informative guide to all the UKIP MEPs who have either defected, been arrested, suspended or convicted.