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Scotland in Europe Update: 21st April 2017

This week I have been in Taiwan, meeting the President and Ministers with an EU Foreign Affairs Committee delegation. Taiwan is looking to win more allies in the EU and although Taiwan’s most important relationship is with the USA they’re increasingly looking towards the EU as troubles in the region increase.

The news reached me as I landed in Taipei that there was to be a UK general election. Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, went as far as to suggest this is a Brexit as directed by Alfred Hitchcock - I see where he is coming from!

For the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 then call a snap UK election is beyond irresponsible. Theresa May is a past master in appearing strong, using strong language, proclaiming how strong she is, and then totally reversing her position. As recently as March 20th, her spokesperson said: “There is no change in our position on an early general election. There is not going to be a general election.”

Clear, decisive, and refreshingly frank. Except, because May has seen her opportunity to strengthen the Tory party further, now is “not the time” for consistency.

This will be the Brexit election. After all, Brexit has been about the internal politics of the Tory party from start to finish. Many of us remember John Major facing down the Brexit mob first time around, and fair play, the man has been principled and vocal since the EU referendum. In sharp contrast, David Cameron withdrew his Tories from the largest group in the European Parliament, the EPP, thereby shutting off a lot of support and goodwill, and promised a referendum to appease his backbenchers.

By calling this snap election, Prime Minister May has shown how weak she is within her own party. She has quietly conceded that she has no mandate for this hard Brexit. Her statement that “the people are uniting around Brexit, but Westminster is not” is patent nonsense.



“Brexit will cost Britain £140 billion (7.5% of GDP) or the equivalent of £300 million a week over eight years” says the World Economic Forum. This is rather close to the £350 million a week which the Leave campaign promised we would gain from exiting the EU!

The UK government realises Brexit is a mistake, says a top Irish Brexit official.

Despite previously accepting the departure of the European Medical Agency, the UK Government is now attempting to keep both it and the European Banking Authority

The Commission promptly pointed out that EU agencies need to be located within the EU.

And that this would not be part of the negotiations.

Diageo is 'to cut over 100 Scottish jobs due to Brexit'.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani has said that the UK would be welcomed back if voters overturned Brexit

A draft of the Commission’s detailed negotiating directives has requested that the UK pay its debts in Euros.

Brexit will be good news for Irish smugglers.

Denmark’s Government has built a legal case claiming Danish fishermen’s right to fish in UK waters.

Lloyds has confirmed they intend to use Berlin to secure its post-Brexit access to the Single Market.

“There are significant concerns about the potential impact of a post-Brexit veterinary workforce shortage on the UK’s £100 billion agri-food sector, in terms of risking business and consumer confidence” said the British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Gudrun Ravetz.

Currently over 90 per cent of Official Vets are EU27 citizens. OVs are for veterinary certification and supervision.

Estonia is looking to recruit UK academics as ‘e-residents’

The department of the Taoiseach concluded that the UK leaving the EU “presents uniquely significant and unprecedented political, economic and diplomatic challenges for Ireland, given the extent of the inter-connectedness of our people and economies”.

Alan Winters, Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO), has argued that unilateral free trade on the part of the UK will not provide a GDP bump as some leave advocates have argued.

“It is clear that a disordered Brexit from the energy and climate framework would cause considerable economic losses and political confusion.” This is according to Marco Giuli of the European Policy Centre.

Kirsty Hughes of the Scottish Centre on European Relations has published a policy paper covering Scotland’s Brexit Choices.