Members of the Holyrood committee investigating the implications of Brexit for Scotland are in Brussels today for talks with senior MEPs, policy makers and diplomats. The talks will focus on the implications of a ‘hard Brexit’ and what can be done to mitigate the potentially damaging effects of that on the Scottish economy and wider society.
The committee’s visit comes after it revealed the depth of concern in Scotland about the prospect of the UK leaving the single market and its effects on all sectors of Scottish life in a major report last week.
Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, said:
“The Prime Minister last week indicated that the UK is heading for a ‘hard Brexit’. Evidence taken by the committee shows there is a great deal of concern in Scotland about what that will mean for people, organisations and sectors right across the country. As Brexit gets closer – article 50 is expected to be invoked in the next two months – it is vital that we explore all the ramifications of this as well as every possible avenue that helps Scotland retain as close a relationship with the EU and its single market as possible.
“Sixty-two per cent of people in Scotland voted to stay in the EU, so our visit to Brussels is an important opportunity to gauge the level of support amongst key European figures, like David McAllister and the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee for Scotland retaining some form of connection to the EU and the single market.”
Lewis Macdonald MSP, Deputy Convener, said:
“We’re moving into a crucial phase in the run up to Article 50 being triggered, and these meetings will help us understand the implications of Brexit for Scotland on major issues such as citizenship, the economy and trade.”
Amongst those meeting with the MSPs are David McAllister MEP, a senior German politician and member of the Christian Democratic Union and Vice President of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, and Danuta Hübner MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee.
The delegation will also meet with diplomats representing Canada and the Faroe Islands at the EU.
Other meetings the delegation is expected to undertake include with representatives of:
• The European Policy Centre
• Scottish Government (Brussels officials) and Scotland Europa
• Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
The Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the implications for Scotland of the EU referendum, which commenced soon after the referendum in June 2016.
The Committee published a report, Brexit: What Scotland Thinks on Friday 20 January, detailing the views and concerns around Brexit of more than 150 Scottish organisations and individuals.