Welcome to this week's update, part of my efforts to keep you informed about events in Europe. Another busy week on the diplomatic front as Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, launched a publication about Scotland’s extensive historical engagement with Europe and its present democratic and constitutional position in relation to the UK, Europe and Brexit.Read more
A week of leaked memos, rumours of chaos, experts pointing out that the Civil Service isn’t ready to take on Brexit and Boris Johnson making a fool of himself. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose, I hear you cry.
I wish I could disagree.Read more
It has been another busy week across Europe (and the world). As the Scottish Government declared its intention to enter the Article 50 Supreme Court case Charles Goerens, an MEP from Luxembourg, tabled an amendment to the European Parliament calling for the establishment of an European associate citizenship. This would apply to those who wish to be part of the European project, but are nationals of a former member state (such as the UK in the future).Read more
Well it has been a busy week where the headline was expected to be that Theresa May met with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker this morning (www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37868987). However, this has been overshadowed by the English High Court Judgement stating that the initiation of Article 50 will require the assent of the House of Commons and House of Lords. This is not necessarily the end of it as the UK Government will certainly appeal to the Supreme Court, but if it stands it will certainly change the terms of the negotiation.Read more
This week I have been back in Strasbourg for a plenary session and got a lot of good work done. It was great to be back at the centre of Europe, working with MEPs from across the continent to deliver on the big challenges we all face.
The European Parliament’s resolution on EU-Iran relations was passed which marks a significant step forward in our approach to the middle east. You’ll be able to read more of my thoughts in my National column next Tuesday.Read more
It has been a busy week. The big news is the Scottish Government has published a consultation on a draft Independence Referendum Bill.
This does not mean there will be another IndyRef, there is a long way to go yet, but if there is another it will not be because the result of the 2014 referendum has not been respected – it will be because the promises made to Scotland have not been kept.
The SNP Manifesto clearly stated that another IndyRef could be called “if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out of the EU against our will.” It doesn't get more clear cut than that and, unlike the Tories who committed to the single market in their 2015 general election manifesto, we will stand by our promises.
In Brussels I have been busy meeting ministers from our Government and elsewhere in Europe. These have been productive and together we are building the good will needed across the EU. This groundwork is going to be essential for whatever happens next.
Elsewhere CETA got into even more difficulties, the EU's accounts were signed off again, and as an honorary vet I am deeply concerned about the potential impact of Brexit on animal welfare.Read more
Scotland in Europe Update 14th October: First Minister announces plans to keep Scotland in the Single Market
It's business as usual at SNP Conference right now, with the First Minister promising that the SNP will be working hard to find ways to keep Scotland in the Single Market. The UK Government has made it clear that there's no plan beyond hard-line rhetoric, so the Scottish Government will be setting out a plan for Scotland. A hard Brexit will change the UK, and Scotland deserves the right to choose its best future. Click here to read the First Minister's speech in full.
This week we finally saw that the Tories have bought the UKIP lie: hook, line and sinker. Anyone who did not believe that the European Question is the defining attribute of politics in these islands is in no doubt after Theresa May’s speech to Conservative Party Conference last Sunday.Read more
This week has been dominated by European politicians commenting on what the UK Government is doing - or not doing. Needless to say that Scotland and the UK are being judged and we are clearly coming out better from this.Read more
This week there was even more confirmation that the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) really is at death's door. On Monday the Commission conceded that it had still to successfully negotiate even one of the proposed twenty four chapters of TTIP (mentioned at 1 min 50 secs):