This site is archived.
For Alyn's work as MP for Stirling visit

Scotland in Europe update: 23rd June 2017

The negotiations have begun. I wondered how I'd feel watching the Tory minister negotiating away our future. Now I know. Angry. Scotland deserves better than this, as does the UK as a whole.

Once again, we've seen that Tory Prime Ministers prioritise their own party's stability over all else. It's painfully clear that the UK Government is woefully under-equipped to speak up for our country in global negotiations.

This was revealed as the UK caved to every single EU demand on day one. The promise from David Davis that the debate over the sequencing of negotiations would be "row of the summer" never emerged as he stood in the EU Commission press room announcing that he would follow the outline produced by the EU.



The Brexit fantasist view is already starting to collapse in the face of reality.

Last night the Prime Minister of the UK put forward a “generous offer” which will only remove some of the rights of EU citizens. (Guy Verhofstadt sums this up well

Jean Claude Juncker is also right that “May's offer on citizens' rights is a first step, but not sufficient."

This is the sort of promise that could have been made a year ago. To call it generous is stretching credibility. We must still wait another week for the details but it will inevitably be an offer that results in EU citizens losing rights. Since the referendum last year, the Scottish Government has been vocal in demanding that the rights of EU nationals be guaranteed, and the SNP will continue to fight for that.

Prime Minister Theresa May has made clear that, in her view, EU citizens must trust the UK to guarantee their rights, not the EU Courts, which is clearly the opposite view to the EU27.

Ultimately as Manfred Weber MEP and leader of the largest group of the European Parliament has said: “If PM May cannot come up with a more concrete proposal it is quite worrying for the rest of the Brexit negotiations.”

As the UK loses all goodwill, it's important that Scotland continues to project a positive vision of ourself to Europe. My views on Brexit haven't changed one iota in the year that has passed since the vote. You can read more of my thoughts in today’s National:

We face a choice about the kind of country we want to be. Our attitude to the wider world will be integral to that choice, so let's make sure we’re vocally and convincingly on the right side. As Michel Barnier said, the clock is ticking. Brexit is not in Scotland's best interests.

Scotland voted for something different and I'm not going to be complicit in a colossal act of self-harm for the sake of the UK Tories.

This has barely started. Let's see who lasts the course.



The UK and EU began the Brexit negotiations, following which the European Commission issued a document explaining what had been agreed.

Ian Dunt’s piece on the opening round is very good and rightly emphasises that “The first British defeat over Brexit happened in moments”.

This was echoed by Alberto Nardelli in an equally persuasive piece.

You can read the speech by Michel Barnier, the European Commission's Chief Negotiator, following the first round of Article 50 negotiations with the UK

"Some of my British friends have even asked me whether Brexit could be reversed and whether I could imagine an outcome where the UK stays part of the EU. I told them that in fact the European Union was built on dreams that seemed impossible to achieve. So who knows. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,” said Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

The Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says ‘door is always open’ to the UK changing its mind.

David Martin, Labour MEP for Scotland, has written a piece emphasising that “in a choice between a bad Brexit and one that’s even worse, the bad Brexit wins out. But these are not the only two options. The people changed their minds on Theresa May, why not on Brexit too?”

Former EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht thinks there is "a serious chance" that the UK will eventually remain in the European Union

The Irish Government and DUP are now at odds as the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has demanded "special status" for Northern Ireland after Brexit.

Lest we forget there was also a (very limited) Queen’s Speech this week. The devil will be in the detail but this analysis from Mark Elliot gives a nice overview of some of the many issues the Great Repeal Bills will face.

The EU referendum has resulted in a 254% increase in the number applying for French nationality.

“More than ever, clarity is needed on the UK’s approach to Brexit” is the view of Anton Muscatelli, Principal of the University of Glasgow.

An immigration cap will harm UK economy, says Tesco chairman John Allen.

In a survey of global investors by Barclays Plc 64% of respondents are sceptical the exit will be orderly.

The “UK government must secure interim arrangements to safeguard future of UK motor industry and avoid a cliff edge” is the view of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT)

A number of researchers at the University of Edinburgh have produced an assessment of the various models which Scotland could adopt.

“The new, weakened UK government will need to define its negotiation position rather quickly and come to the table far more willing to compromise than has been the case for the last 11 months.” So says Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive and Chief Economist of the European Policy Centre.

Various SMEs have expressed their concern about the type of Brexit that the UK Government is pursuing.

Eurochild and Children in Scotland have called for the rights of children and young people to be protected and championed as part of the Brexit negotiations.

Filippo Biondi of the think tank Bruegel has written this piece on the future of the Irish border

Goldman Sachs Group is doubling the number of staff in Frankfurt.

France's new Government Spokesperson announced plans to simplify the way EU laws are enforced in France, to capitalize on Brexit and attract more investors from London to Paris, stating "Our objective in improving how France enforces EU laws is to attract more financial services to Paris, and in the context of Brexit you know what that means."

Finally, if you are looking for some bedtime reading, the UK in a Changing Europe project have produced a 60-page, 28-chapter report to look back on the previous year’s events.