EMiS in the media 2015. . .

Return to current media news > >

Hover or click an item to read the full article.

The Norwegian model

Press release,  29th October 2015

The following press release was taken up by the Holyrood current affairs magazine.

Responding to Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech today in Iceland (28th October) which is expected to say that for the UK to form a Norwegian-style arrangement with the EU will not work for the UK, Chairman Derek Hammersley said:

"A Norwegian-style situation with regards to the EU would not be in Scotland’s best interests.

"Norway is a member of the European Economic Area, but enacts most EU legislation in order to maintain access to the Single Market, practising the free movement of people, goods, services and capital.

"Not a full EU member, Norway does not participate in decision-making in Brussels, but abides by its decisions, incorporating approximately three-quarters of all EU legislative acts into Norwegian legislation.

"Norway has no seat at the negotiating table. It has no veto in the European Council, no votes in the EU's council of ministers, no MEPs or votes in the European Parliament, and no European commissioner to help.

"In addition, Norway, with a slightly smaller population that Scotland pays about 600m euros (£432m) a year to the EU, equivalent to 118 euro (£85), per person.

"With just under half of Scotland’s international exports (46%) destined for the EU, on which over 330,000 Scottish jobs are dependent, a Norwegian-style situation would mean that there would be little influence over the rules that determine the Single Market.

"It is no surprise that Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende earlier this year stated that it makes sense for the UK to stay in the European Union, where it 'can have more influence' than outside.

"The UK is not Norway and for a major EU member, such as the UK, to voluntarily choose to move out of the core and into the outer circle, in order to join those influenced by but not influencing Brussels, would be a highly damaging and backward step."

A positive campaign

Letter 14th October 2015

The following letter appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, The National and the Telegraph.

As Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European campaigning organisation, at the forefront of the fight to keep us in the EU, we would like to reinforce the fact that we will be putting forward an unremittingly positive case for continued EU membership (13th October).

The benefits of our EU membership are plentiful and over the months ahead we will be spelling these out. Whether it is climate change, energy security or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states. As an example, European decisions helped us to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by almost 90% over the last 40 years.

The EU has also provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, be it the 48-hour minimum working week or minimum-paid annual leave. The EU Single Market of 500 million people, the largest single market in the world, is vital to Scottish businesses, with 46% of our international exports destined for the EU and over 330,000 Scottish jobs dependent on these. It also allows the freedom to travel, study and work across the EU, bringing many benefits to Scotland. Each Scottish household benefits to the tune of £3,000 that come from the trade, investment, jobs and lower prices that membership brings.

Set against an annual net contribution per household of £340, this shows a close to 10-to-I return on investment in the EU. The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be absolutely cherished and look forward to continue on promoting the positives to be gained from our continued membership.

Response to Ruth Davidson

Letter 22nd September 2015

The following letter appeared in the Edinburgh Evening News.

As Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European campaigning organisation, at the forefront of the fight to keep us in the EU, we were heartened to see Ruth Davidson’s call for a "positive case" for continued EU membership (22nd September). Read it here.

The benefits of our EU membership are plentiful and over the months ahead we will be laying these out. Whether it is climate change, energy security or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states.

As an example, European decisions helped us to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by almost 90% over the last 40 years.

Last week the EU unveiled its stance on the upcoming climate change negotiations in Paris, recommitting to its own greenhouse cuts for 2030 and urging the world to reduce emissions to zero by the end of the century.

The EU has also provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, be it the 48-hour minimum working week or minimum-paid annual leave. The EU Single Market of 500 million people, the largest single market in the world, is vital for businesses, with over 330,000 Scottish jobs dependent on our exports to the EU. It also allows the freedom to travel, study and work across the EU, bringing many benefits to Scotland.

The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be absolutely cherished and we would be delighted to join with Ms Davidson on promoting the positives.

Benefits to Scotland of EU migrants

Press release 27th August 2015

European Movement in Scotland highlights benefits to Scotland of EU migrants as figures show net migration of 183,000 to UK.

Responding to Office for National Statistics figures indicating that net migration of EU citizens was 183,000 in the year to end March 2015, up 53,000 from the year to end March 2014, Derek Hammersley, chairman of the European Movement in Scotland - leading the campaign for the UK’s continued membership of the European Union (EU) - said:

"We will no doubt see shrill headlines in some publications lamenting the fact that EU migration to the UK is up to 183,000 for the year to end March 2015.

"Some perspective is however needed on this. What tends to be forgotten is that there are c 2.2 million UK citizens living and working in the rest of the EU with, for example, just over 1 million British people living in Spain and 329,000 in Ireland.

"Of those EU migrants living here, a mere 1.2% are not economically active, a miniscule number.1 In addition, according to University College London, between 2001 and 2011, EU migrants made an estimated positive net contribution of £20 billion to the UK economy as they tend to be younger and more economically-active than our own workforce, paying more in taxes and receiving less in benefits.2

"Indeed, unemployed Britons in the EU are drawing much more in benefits and allowances in wealthier EU countries than their nationals are claiming in the UK. For example, four times as many Britons obtain unemployment benefits in Germany as Germans do in the UK, while the number of jobless Britons receiving benefits in Ireland exceeds their Irish counterparts in the UK by a rate of five to one.

"Contrary to popular perceptions, the figures for nationals of those 10 east European countries drawing jobseeker’s allowance in the UK remain modest, despite the periodical outcries about "benefits tourism". There are only about 1,000 Romanians and 500 Bulgarians, for example, drawing jobseeker’s allowance in Britain, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

"Those from the EU who have made the UK their home make an overwhelmingly positive contribution economically, socially and culturally and it is good to sometimes highlight the facts and dispel the myths behind this."

1 European Commission, "Study on the impact of non-active EU mobile citizens on social security, 14th October 2013", p.16.

2 Prof. Christian Dustman and Dr Tommaso Frattinin, UCL European Institute, Yes, EU immigrants do have a positive impact on public finances, 5th November 2014.

Migrant myths

Letter 14th August, 2015

The following letter has appeared in The Daily Express, The National, The Press and Journal, The Edinburgh Evening News and The Scotsman.

We were struck by the shrill headlines in some publications seemingly lamenting the fact that the number of EU migrants working in the UK now tops 2 million.

Some perspective is needed on this. What tends to be forgotten is that there are c 2.2 million UK citizens living and working in the rest of the EU with, for example, just over 1 million British people living in Spain and 329,000 in Ireland. Of those from the rest of the EU living here, a mere 1.2% are not economically active, a miniscule number.

According to University College London, between 2001 and 2011, EU migrants made an estimated positive net contribution of £20 billion to the UK economy as they tend to be younger and more economically-active than our own workforce, paying more in taxes and receiving less in benefits.

Indeed, unemployed Britons in the EU are drawing much more in benefits and allowances in wealthier EU countries than their nationals are claiming in the UK. For example, four times as many Britons obtain unemployment benefits in Germany as Germans do in the UK, while the number of jobless Britons receiving benefits in Ireland exceeds their Irish counterparts in the UK by a rate of five to one.

Contrary to popular perceptions, the figures for nationals of those 10 east European countries drawing jobseeker’s allowance in the UK remain modest, despite the periodical outcries about “benefits tourism”. There are only about 1,000 Romanians and 500 Bulgarians, for example, drawing jobseeker’s allowance in Britain, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Those from the EU who have made the UK their home make an overwhelmingly positive contribution economically, socially and culturally and it is good to sometimes highlight the facts and dispel the myths behind this.

Universities for Europe

Press release 27th July, 2015

European Movement in Scotland highlights benefits to Scotland’s universities of EU as it welcomes launch of Universities for Europe Campaign.

Responding to the launch of the Universities for Europe campaign , which includes 16 Scottish universities, Derek Hammersley, Chairman of the European Movement in Scotland, - leading the campaign for continued membership of the European Union (EU) - said:

"We applaud the higher education sector in standing up to be counted in backing the case for our continued membership of the European Union.

"EU membership has an overwhelmingly positive impact on Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions, benefiting individuals, the economy and society as a whole.

"There are currently 19,200 students from the rest of the EU at Scottish universities and these institutions have won over £400 million in EU funding between 2007 and 2014 – almost 1.3% of the research funding programme for the whole of the EU. This has boosted the quality of research, benefited the economy and helped Scottish academics to tap into a continent-wide pool of knowledge.

"Freedom of movement, a fundamental principle of EU membership, also means that not only can students from the EU come to study in Scotland, but students from Scotland can train and study in any EU country under the same conditions as that country’s nationals. In this context over 1,400 students from Scottish universities were supported by the Erasmus programme to study abroad in 2012/13.

"Membership of the EU makes Scotland’s outstanding universities stronger, contributing to economic growth, employable graduates and cutting-edge research discoveries.

"International collaboration breaks barriers down and leaving the European Union would hit the economy, harm scientific research and damage graduates’ job prospects. EU membership has helped to cement the strong global reputation of Scotland’s universities.

"The EU brings people together, helping to attract top talent to contribute to Scottish higher education and providing life-changing opportunities abroad for Scottish students and researchers to build global networks and enhance their cultural understanding. It helps universities to educate and employ local people, support home-grown enterprise and attract top European students who contribute to the Scottish economy.

"The case for staying in the EU is about ensuring the future prosperity of Scotland, it’s about maximising the chances of new discoveries that enhance the society in which we live, it’s about increasing Scotland’s global profile, it’s about Scottish jobs and it’s about opportunities for people in Scotland now and in the future."

Record foreign direct investment

Press release 13th July, 2015

Responding to the announcement that 2014/15 has been a record year for foreign direct investment, Derek Hammersley, Chairman of the European Movement in Scotland, which is leading the campaign for a Yes vote in the EU Referendum, commented:

"These record results from Scottish Development International, which show an increase in both projects and jobs created or safeguarded, highlights the benefits of our continued membership of the European Union."

"Many of these companies are coming here, in part, to access the considerable advantages being part of the largest Single Market in the world, amounting to over 500 million people, brings."

"With nearly half of Scotland’s international exports with the EU and with over 300,000 jobs dependent on such exports it would be folly for us to remove ourselves from the EU and the considerable advantages it brings."

Wholly positive campaign

June 30th 2015

The following letter appeared in the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News, The Express and The National.

As Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European campaigning organisation at the forefront of the fight to keep us in the EU, we were heartened to see the Prime Minister pledging a “wholly positive” campaign.

The benefits of our EU membership are plentiful. Whether it is climate change, energy security or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states. As an example, European decisions helped us to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by almost 90% over the last 40 years.

It has also provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, be it the 48-hour minimum working week or minimum-paid annual leave.

And of course, the single market of over 500 million people, the largest single market in the world, is vital for businesses, with over 300,000 Scottish jobs dependent on our exports to the EU. It also allows the freedom to travel, study and work across the EU, bringing many benefits to Scotland.

The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be absolutely cherished and we are happy to see the Prime Minister aims to promote the positives.

Proposed franchise

June 25th 2015

Responding to comments made by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, in her appearance at the European and External Relations Committee of the Scottish Parliament, Derek Hammersley, Chair of the European Movement in Scotland, said:

“As Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European organisation, leading the campaign for a Yes vote in the EU Referendum, we share the Cabinet Secretary’s concerns over the proposed franchise for the forthcoming EU Referendum.

This will see almost 90,000 EU citizens resident in Scotland, who were eligible to vote in last year’s Scottish independence referendum, excluded from voting on the future direction of a country in which they live.

By contrast, the franchise will allow Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK and are not UK passport holders to vote.

It is perverse and unfair that UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK will be able to vote, and yet those EU citizens who live in the UK, pay their taxes here and contribute more to the UK economy than they take out, will be excluded.

This is also a manipulation of the ballot because it presupposes a battle between British people and those from the rest of Europe, a case of narrow nationalism writ large.

The Scottish independence referendum showed that 16 and 17 year olds were mature and conscientious and the franchise has been quite rightly extended to include them for forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary elections, re-engaging this generation in the political process. Young people are our future, they will have to live with the outcome for many years and it is vital that they have a say in the EU referendum.

As an organisation we will continue to make the positive case for our continued membership of the EU."

(Click here to see the Scotsman report and response.)

Scottish farming

June 19th 2015

Printed in the Edinburgh Evening News, the National, Daily Express, Daily Mail and Daily Record.

In the year of Scotland’s food and drink, it’s encouraging that farmers gathering at the Royal Highland Show have emphasised to Scottish Secretary David Mundell their support for the UK’s continuing membership of the European Union.

Looking at the most recent figures, the growth in food and drink exports to other EU member states is a genuine success story for the Scottish economy.

France is the second largest export market for Scottish food and drink, valued at £734 million in 2014. Spain is now ranked third with exports totalling £247 million while Germany emerges as the fifth biggest market with annual exports of £208 million.

Sales to these three EU member states alone made up almost one quarter of total food and drink exports from Scotland last year.

Against that backdrop, it’s clear that withdrawing from the EU would be hugely damaging to Scottish farming and the wider food and drink industry. As NFU Scotland have pointed out, we would still have to comply with EU rules to be able to keep selling our produce to these lucrative markets. But we would have no say in how those rules are decided.

Alternatives to EU membership

June 10th 2015

The following letter was printed in the Scotsman. You can read it here. (2nd letter down.)

We were struck by the article from Brian Monteith, who paints an optimistic vision of a UK outside the European Union but still as part of the Single Market (8th June).

The UK could of course go down the line of becoming a member of the European Economic Area, as Norway has done. The UK would still be in the Single Market, with no seat at the top table and incorporating the vast majority of Directives into domestic law, but with no ability to influence these. This is known as “fax democracy” and it should also be noted that Norway is the 10th highest contributor to the European Union budget.

It is no wonder in this context that the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Borge Brende, recently said it make more sense for the UK to stay in the European Union where it “can have more influence” than outside.

An alternative route would be to follow the Swiss model, negotiating over a lengthy period of time a series of bilateral trade agreements with the European Union, giving us some access to the Single Market, but again with no ability to influence these Directives and still contributing to the EU’s budget.

The UK’s position is benefitted by being a member of the European Union, with full access to the Single Market, and through a seat at the top table having a clear ability to influence the decisions that affect the operation of that Market

The Big Questions

Saturday 6th June2015

Committee member Alex Orr represented the European Movement in Scotland on BBC's Sunday morning programme, "The Big Questions". You can see it here.

Anniversary of Referendum

Friday June 5th 2015

The following letter was printed in the Daily Express:

Today (5th June) marks the 40th anniversary of the referendum that was held on the UK’s membership of the European Economic Community (EEC), what is now the European Union (EU).

On that occasion we voted by 2 to 1 to remain members of what was then also known as the Common Market.

Within the next 2 years we will again be tested and asked to reaffirm our position as members of the European Union. As Scotland’s leading pro-EU campaigning organisation, at the vanguard of the campaign to keep the UK in the EEC in 1975, we will again be at the forefront of this, arguing positively for our continued membership.

The benefits of this membership are many. Whether it is climate change, energy security or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states. As an example, European decisions helped us to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by almost 90% over the last 40 years.

It has also provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, be it the 48-hour minimum working week or minimum-paid annual leave.

And of course, the single market of 500 million people, the largest single market in the world, is vital for Scottish jobs and businesses. It also allows the freedom to travel, study and work across the EU, bringing many benefits to Scotland.

The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be cherished and we will be at the forefront of the campaign to keep us as members.

Stand up and be counted

Thursday 28th May 2015

The Scotsman newspaper, The Herald Scotland, The Courier and The Independent published our letter. It is copied below but you can also read it on the Scotsman website.

As we await the publication of the EU Referendum Bill following the Queen's Speech, it is notable that both the CBI and aerospace giant Airbus, have recently added their weight to growing calls for the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

It is vital that those, like the European Movement, who believe that our future lies as being members of the EU stand up and be counted. Such a move must extend beyond the business community, to include civic society and all those who see or future as part of the European Union.

In basic economic terms, the EU is the largest single market in the world, with a population of 500 million, and its economy is seven times the size of the UK economy.

Indeed, just under half of Scotland’s international exports are destined for countries within the European Union and at least 330,000 Scottish jobs – around one in seven – are dependent on our membership of the European single market.

A report published by the CBI in late 2013 said the benefits of EU membership were worth £3,000 for every UK household.

Scotland is more successful being part of a larger EU trading block, with the ability to directly influence the direction of travel, and as a home for inward investment, than outside the tent with a fraction of the ability to influence key economic decisions.

This referendum is a choice between openness and isolation, shaping the future or retreating into the past. It is crystal clear that continued membership is in our national interest.

The franchise for the referendum

Thursday 28th May 2015

The following press release was quoted in The Herald, The Press & Journal and The National.

The European Movement in Scotland (EMiS), Scotland’s oldest dedicated pro-European organisation, has raised major concerns over the proposed franchise for the forthcoming EU Referendum which will see 1.5 million EU nationals resident in the UK excluded from casting a vote on the future direction of the country in which they live.

The Prime Minister, bowing to Eurosceptic pressure, proposes that the electoral roll used in Westminster elections, rather than local government or European polls will be used in the in/out referendum. And 16 and 17 year olds will not be able to vote.

The proposals will also allow Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK and are not UK passport holders to vote, while excluding EU citizens who are in the same position.

It intends to write to the Prime Minister, noting these concerns.

The proposed franchise is unlike the situation in the Scottish independence referendum when almost 90,000 EU citizens resident in Scotland were entitled to vote, as were 16 and 17 year olds.

The EU Referendum Bill, to be published this week, will make clear that the franchise will follow broadly the same rules as the General Election:

  • British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK will be eligible to vote.
  • So too will UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years.
  • The franchise will not include 16 and 17-year-olds, unlike the Scottish independence referendum.
  • Members of the House of Lords and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar will also be allowed to vote, although they cannot participate in general elections.
  • In total, around 45.3 million people will be able to take part.

Chair of the EMiS Derek Hammersley commented:

“It is perverse and unfair that UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK will be able to vote, and yet those EU citizens who live in the UK, pay their taxes here and contribute more to the UK economy than they take out, will be excluded.

“This is also a manipulation of the ballot because it presupposes a battle between British people and those from the rest of Europe, a case of narrow nationalism writ large. In a more recent aspect, the Scottish referendum poll did not exclude those from the rest of the UK and the EU voting here as it was recognised that its outcome would have a clear relevance to their lives.

“As was the case in Scotland, giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote will re-engage this generation in the political process. Young people are our future, they will have to live with the outcome for many years and it is vital that they have a say in this referendum."