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Scotland in Europe Update 3rd February 2017

This week MPs backed a bill giving complete control of the process of leaving the EU to the Tories. It went forward despite SNP opposition and only one Scottish MP voting in favour.  

There is a still a long way to go, and the fight is not over yet but this illustrates the scale of the challenge. Despite the efforts of the SNP, MPs are simply not holding the government to account. The Bill they have initially approved is a blank cheque with no controls or restraints to rein in the hard Brexit Theresa May is proposing. There is still some time for changes in committee stage but I have very little hope any will be made.

Following this the UK Government published its white paper. It is a mere 70 odd pages long in comparison to the Scottish Government’s White Paper for the Independence Referendum that ran to 670 pages. It contains little of substance, is wildly optimistic and was riddled with errors (many of which have now been fixed). Notably, on p.32 initially it stated that UK citizens were entitled to 14 weeks of paid holiday a year!

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The Joint Ministerial Committee met on Monday to allow the UK and Scottish Governments to discuss the on-going EU exit negotiations. 


“… it is also clear that so far it is only the Scottish Government – not the UK Government – that has made any effort at a compromise or to secure an agreement.” So said the First Minister after the meeting. 


The UK and EU heading towards an economic cold war, according to Mario Giro Italy’s deputy foreign minister


Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Government’s External Affairs Secretary, delivered a well-received and important statement on Scotland in Europe to the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee 


'There will be no return to the borders of the past' according to Theresa May during a visit to Ireland. 


She expanded on her position in the Irish Times. 


But later in the week the Northern Ireland Minister seemed to contradict this, stating that a special deal for the North would be "the wrong approach". 


“Donald Trump is a disaster for Brexit” is the view of Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.


England could lose more than a quarter of its heart surgeons and up to a third of children’s heart doctors, according to analysis by Politico 


A major report from the Europe and External Relations committee of the Scottish Parliament highlights the many issues that Scots are concerned about regarding Brexit. 


Seb Dance MEP held up a sign in the European Parliament that said, “He’s lying to you” in response to Nigel Farage’s speech.


Leaving the EU could cost €60 billion according to Sir Ivan Rogers the former UK ambassador to the EU. 


Next Tuesday the Scottish Parliament will vote on the Article 50 bill which is proceeding through the House of Commons. Although this is not binding in any way, it is important that the opinion of the Scottish Parliament is formally declared. 


Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has urged MEPs to work towards a sensible Brexit. 


The UK Government hopes to ‘adopt’ the existing EU free trade agreements. This is another step in the process but if the aim is to simply to copy and paste existing deals then why leave in the first place? 


A future UK-EU trade deal could end up as a case before the European Court of Justice according to its President Koen Lenaerts. 


UCL have produced an overview of what to expect from the process of Brexit.