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Scotland in Europe Update: 21st June 2019

So we have our answer. After the various rounds of voting we now know that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt will fight it out for the votes of the Tory party members who will then decide who runs the UK. Both have made crass and inaccurate comparisons of the EU in the past (see and Barring something truly bizarre, it means Boris Johnson will lead the UK and make the next key Brexit decisions.

He will be elected by a Tory party membership that is hell-bent on delivering Brexit no matter what. YouGov polling this week showed that a majority were happy to destroy the UK economy and their own party so long as Brexit was delivered. Indeed, in better news 63% were also happy for Scotland to become independent if it means they get to deliver Brexit. You can read the details here:

There is lots of time to speculate over the coming weeks about what Prime Minister Johnson will actually do but for now it is worth reflecting on what we are leaving. This week the EU Commission produced a major report on the state of EU trade and we were struck by the opening lines from Cecilia Malmström, the European Commissioner for Trade:

“Despite the turbulence around us, the European Union (EU) is in prime position in global trade. We are both the world's largest economy and the largest trader--the top trading partner for no less than 80 countries and number one destination for investments worldwide. We now have 40 trade agreements in place with 72 countries worldwide, offering EU businesses privileged access to other markets.”

The UK is throwing all of this away on the basis of a series of fantasies. Concurrently, the European Council met to discuss the next Commission and its work. The top issues? Climate change and disinformation across Europe. You can read the full conclusions here:

These crucial global issues are what we should be focussed on, not how Boris Johnson is appealing to a group of Tory party members who don’t represent the UK, let alone Scotland. Scotland can and must do better.

Your SNP European Group

Alyn, Christian and Aileen



Fabian Zuleeg of the European Policy Centre has written an important brief on the EU’s ‘Scottish question’. “In an age where the voices of protectionism and intolerance often seem to be getting louder, the EU amplifies our own support for openness, diversity and human rights. And at a time when the rules-based international order is being threatened, the EU exemplifies the value of co-operation and solidarity.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar repeated that Ireland will not allow the Northern Ireland “backstop” clause in Britain’s EU withdrawal agreement to be dropped, because doing so would be as bad as a no deal Brexit.

The European Commission has circulated a document that explores in detail the scale and breadth of all areas of north-south cooperation on the island of Ireland. It shows definitively that the border cannot be solved by technology alone.

The Governor of the Bank of England has warned that “150,000 firms not fully ready for no-deal Brexit”.

Ivan Rogers has warned of the “denial, delusion-mongering and deception” of UK politicians which could lead us to a no deal Brexit.

A cross-party group of 38 UK MEPs has called on a high-level international legal commission to intervene over ‘declining democratic standards’ in the UK.

The Scottish Government has published a report on the unheard voices from Scottish society on Brexit. It contains a wide range of views from stakeholders across Scotland on leaving the EU and is well worth a read.

“Brexit still dominates the national conversation but … it is only a matter of time before they will be coming for human rights.” Prospect magazine have published a chilling article on the future of human rights in the UK.

As ever Fintan O’Toole is well worth a read in the Guardian this week: “The UK can only feel humiliated by the EU if it expects to be superior. This poisonous idea should be banished.”

And finally, Open Europe's Anna Nadibaidze has produced an assessment of the composition of the new European Parliament and what would change after the UK's departure.