Latest news

19th June 2017

Our chairperson, Vanessa Glynn sent the following letter to our Vice Presidents, Kezia Dugdale MSP, Patrick Harvie MSP, Willie Rennie MSP, Michael Russell MSP, and Struan Stevenson MEP. She argues that Brexit can and should be reversed.

Dear Vice Presidents,

The European Movement in Scotland campaigned during this month’s General Election for Scotland and the UK to remain in the European Union. The outcome gives us hope that pressure can now be brought to bear to mitigate the worst Brexit. It is clear there is no mandate for hard Brexit. Influential, and previously quiescent, voices within the Conservative and Labour parties are talking about a softer, open and jobs-led Brexit. This is welcome movement.

We are also delighted that President Macron and Chancellor Merkel have made crystal clear that the UK can change its mind and reverse Brexit right up until the departure date in 2019. With the economy slowing, inflation rising and jobs already departing, it is clearly in the national interest that we restore the UK’s role to lead not leave the EU.

We in EMiS will continue to make the case for why membership of the EU is by far the best possible future for us economically and socially. Any other deal comes with real costs – a Norway solution brings the burden of customs duties and a hard border in Ireland, a Canada-style agreement does not give full free trade, particularly in services, the Turkey model deals only with customs for trade in some goods, and a no deal, WTO, outcome is economic suicide. All these possibilities – and these are the only basic variations that the EU has in mind since it is not interested in UK cherry picking – make us poorer. There has been no evidence-based analysis provided to the British public demonstrating that Brexit is going to improve our prosperity or well-being. It makes no sense to carry on down this path.

Any, but the Norway/EEA option requires sacrificing Freedom of Movement. This is most certainly not in Scotland’s economic, social or fiscal interests. Nor is there any political appetite in Scotland for giving up Freedom of Movement. We are an open and welcoming society that recognises the valuable contribution that talent from all over the world brings and the opportunities that this EU freedom offers UK citizens to live, work and study across their own continent. Introducing bureaucracy kills mobility, as the NHS is finding with recruitment of nurses from the EU – down 96% in the year since the Referendum.
I would urge you, as EMiS Vice Presidents, to do two things:

  • Do not let the case for reversing Brexit go by default. Opinion is changing very rapidly. Please talk up in the Scottish Parliament, in the media and in public the advantages of not leaving. EMiS is very happy to provide tailored briefing on any aspect of EU policy or the Brexit negotiations, with a Scottish perspective, if you or colleagues would find that helpful. You will have broad support, especially among the young, for being bold and principled. They voted for a progressive and connected future.
  • Encourage your parties to work together to represent the majority of voters in Scotland who do not want to leave the EU. Use Scotland’s 59 seats in the Westminster Parliament to ensure the best possible outcome for Scotland and the UK in the negotiations, putting party differences aside. Let Scotland show the leadership we so badly need to get the UK out of this mess.

I would welcome your comments, which we will be pleased to share with our rapidly growing numbers of EMIS supporters, and do let me know if you would like to discuss any issues further.

We will be marking our determination not to leave the EU family, one year on from the Referendum, by posting a collage of selfies of EMIS members and friends holding an EU flag or pro-EU message. Do send us one of yourself or colleagues, which we can highlight in our social media.

I am copying this to our President, Lord Campbell.

Yours sincerely,

Vanessa Glynn,

Chair, European Movement in Scotland

Two Islands: Brexit and the Future of Europe

Speakers at the conference

Dublin, 13 June, 2017

The European Movement Ireland, in association with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. welcomed EM colleagues from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Brussels and Germany to a conference held in Dublin.

Joint Statement

In a joint statement issued after the event, European Movement organisations from across the two islands said: "We reaffirmed our belief in the European Union as a force for good in the world, and we recognise the benefits of membership of the European Union.

"Working together in Europe for over 40 years has put Europe at the centre of citizens’ lives, whether they are students, in business, or in other walks of life.

"We agreed to work together over the coming months and years to ensure that the common issues faced by all our citizens can be properly reflected in the debate on the future of Europe. This is particularly important as the negotiations on the UK’s future in Europe are about to begin.

"We agreed that it was very important that all parts of the two islands should collaborate to make a positive contribution to the future of Europe."

Speech from EMiS Chair, Vanessa Glynn.

Thank you for inviting me to this excellent event and for giving me the opportunity to speak about how matters look from Scotland.

Theresa May called a self-serving election in the belief that she would get a landslide that would enable her to push through Parliament exactly the Brexit she wanted. A Brexit, that contrary to her early promises took no account of the democratically expressed wishes of the devolved nations nor of the near half of the UK electorate, who voted to remain. She wanted to build a fiction of a country and political consensus united behind her and her vision.

The country is as divided now as it was a year ago; between generations, between nations, between the more and less educated, between those who understand the benefits of co-operating internationally and those who fear globalisation.

Frankly, it looks like the UK is in the grip of an almighty nervous breakdown. A year ago, in the wake of the awful referendum result the talk was of disintegration of the EU, as populist contagion looked set to spread to the Netherlands, France etc. Now that has been turned on its head. Macron is triumphant and it is the UK that is politically and socially dysfunctional. Many have commented that Brexit was in part driven by English nationalism.

In Scotland it has felt, that Brexit is being used to re-centralise control over the devolved administrations - Taking Back Control but not for Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. Even powers returning from Brussels within devolved competence are to be centralised in London to ensure a single UK market - a new construct emerging out of Brexit.

EMiS campaigned in the General Election to urge people in Scotland to vote with Europe in mind, on a platform of WE ARE EUROPEAN. We take no position on whether that is best delivered through remaining part of the UK or as an independent Scotland.

The European Union is a fundamental force for good for Scotland. Almost half our exports go to the EU. The Fraser of Allander Institute estimates that there could be up to a 5% reduction in GDP as a whole if Scotland is outside the Single Market and a loss of up to 80,000 jobs.

Many sectors of the Scottish economy are dependent on EU labour. Ending Freedom of Movement would impact heavily across the Scottish economy, reduce population growth, as well as tax take under the new income tax powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament.

Leaving the Single Market would impact badly particularly on key growth and high productivity sectors such as food and drink, digital technologies, engineering and the university sector.

Scotland desperately needs to improve productivity and growth. Trading in a larger, more competitive market leads to higher growth rates in the medium to long term and higher SME growth.

EU funding would go and investment, including from the European Investment Bank and private foreign direct investment would decrease and will not be replaced by the Treasury, or only to serve its own political agenda - no more money for renewable energy!

Alleged new trade opportunities would not compensate for the loss of barrier-free access to the world’s wealthiest single market on our doorstep – target markets such as China and India, cannot compensate if there are significant losses in the 44% of Scotland’s goods and 39% of services that go to the EU.

The sheer complexity of disentangling our law and regulatory systems from the EU is a mind-boggling waste of resource and effort, and to benefit whom?

It is essential that a new approach is taken to the negotiations which takes into account wider interests, than what’s good for the Tory right-wing. I have yet to hear a coherent account of what the opportunities of Brexit are, - we certainly didn’t hear it from Theresa May during the so-called Brexit election.

The key point we must all drive home now is that Theresa May has failed to achieve a mandate for her hard, destructive Brexit. She must not be allowed to go into the negotiations on Monday as if nothing has changed.

The people have spoken and we do not want a poorer, meaner Britain. In particular, young citizens have voted for a connected and progressive future that is not dictated by xenophobia. Our young people must have the freedom to travel, work, study and love across our continent, free of barriers. co-operating to tackle the real problems of inequality, climate change, terrorism, and conflict.

I believe that the cowed Remainers in the Conservative and Labour parties now have a greater chance of pressing for a better outcome. The pressure must principally be against those in their own parties who want us out of Europe for deluded ideological reasons. That includes Labour’s John McDonnell as much as Tory Ian Duncan Smith.

Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, is to be congratulated on using her new influence, with 13 MPs at Westminster, to argue for putting the Single Market ahead of immigration controls. It is to be hoped that they will work with pro-EU MPs in the other parties to ensure that Scotland’s voice, overwhelmingly in favour of Remain, is heard and respected in the negotiations.

Nicola Sturgeon seems to have decided, in the light of the Election result, that she should not press for a second independence referendum. She lost seats, to the Tories, in the rural and fishing heartlands of Scotland, to the Corbyn-effect in some of the traditionally-Labour post-industrial areas and there was a modest revival for the Liberal Democrats, but the SNP remains the dominant political force in Scotland and firmly pro-EU.

The Scottish Government published a paper in December, Scotland’s Place in Europe, that argued for the UK to stay in the Single Market, or for a differentiated outcome which allowed Scotland to remain in the Single Market but in a customs union with the UK. This was cursorily dismissed by May. The First Minister is now pressing for a greater say for the devolved governments and for other UK parties in the Brexit negotiations, and we can expect the differentiated approach to re-emerge if the UK does not stay in the Single Market.

Our challenge as European Movement is how to influence the debate to return these islands to the European family, ideally as full members, but failing that within the Single Market and involved in as much co-operation as possible with our EU partners.
We must continue to think European and encourage our devolved administrations, business, educational and third sectors to build their links. One example: as we speak discussions are underway between financial organisations in Edinburgh and Dublin to work together to benefit companies on both sides of the Irish Sea, in the Scottish Irish Financial Initiative.

It is absolutely essential that we as a civil society movement help our politicians to galvanise public opinion. We must keep demanding to know from the politicians how our economy and society are going to benefit from the Brexit deal and we must continue to bring to wide attention why the EU - constantly reforming as it must and does, is the future. Opinions can change; we have all to fight for.

General Election Posterss

We have designed a set of posters for the General Election.

Bananas poster
Divide and Rule poster

You can download a pdf of all the posters here. (Opens the pdf in a new window - or right click and select "save as".)

Welcome to The Scottish Centre on European Relations

March 22nd

Scottish and European Union Flags

A new, independent and unaligned Scottish EU think tank launched today. The Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) aims to inform, debate, and provide up-to-the-minute, high-quality research and analysis of European Union developments and challenges. It will focus on pan-EU issues as well as having a particular focus on Scotland’s EU interests and policies.

SCER will provide in-depth, impartial research and analysis on Brexit – looking at EU27, UK and Scottish interests and debates. SCER will also carry out up-to-the minute policy research on a range of key European Union issues including the future of the EU at a time of multiple challenges; the migration and refugee crisis, and the EU’s turbulent neighbourhood.

Their website contains publications for download. At the moment the following 5 publications are available:

  • The European Union at 60: Strategic Renewal or Adrift Amidst Multiple Crises?
  • Brexit Talks Will Mean Hard Choices
  • Brexit and Indyref 2
  • Lessons from CETA for a UK-EU Deal
  • A Differentiated Approach for Scotland Makes Sense

EMiS chair, Vanessa Glynn commented, “EMiS welcomes this new intellectual resource for Scotland's European relations. As the UK Government opens Brexit negotiations, now more than ever Scotland needs rigorous and creative thinking focused on its future relationship with the European Union. The launch of the Scottish Centre on European Relations will provide an engine for political, social and cultural ideas, analysis and debate within Scotland and with partners in Europe and beyond.”

Kezia Dugdale joins our VPs

Kezia Dugdale

We are delighted to announce backing for our objective of ensuring a European future for Scotland from across the parties represented in the Scottish Parliament.

We are very pleased that Kezia Dugdale MSP, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, has agreed to become a Vice President of the Movement. Taking up this role, Ms Dugdale, says "There is strong support here in Scotland, and across the UK, to secure the best Brexit deal to protect our economy, jobs and living standards. As we get closer to the triggering of Article 50, now is the time for those of us who support maintaining strong ties with Europe to fight for what we believe in."

We are honoured that, Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, Willie Rennie MSP, Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, and Struan Stevenson, Former Conservative MEP, have also reconfirmed their commitment to the role of Vice-Presidents of the European Movement in Scotland; a position each of them has held since before the EU Referendum.

Our President, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, has welcomed this line-up of political support: "I am delighted to see this strong cross-party backing for the European Movement in Scotland and for a continuing European future for Scotland. Now is the time for all in Scotland who are concerned about the disastrous Brexit that the Prime Minister and her government is pursuing to work together and support the EU. We must each of us stand up for the values that have built a prosperous and peaceful Europe."

To find out more about Who's who in EMiS visit our About page.

Supreme Court Ruling

The European Movement in Scotland is very pleased that the Supreme Court made clear today that Parliament must decide on Brexit by a proper constitutional process through an Act of Parliament.

We call on MPs of all parties to do the patriotic thing and vote with their conscience and for what is right for the country, not for what might be expedient in terms of public opinion at this time.

It is disappointing that the Court did not endorse the view that the devolved legislatures should have a say in the outcome that affects the whole of these islands and the devolution settlements which are integral to our constitutional arrangements.

The European Movement in Scotland's commitment to the EU is unwavering and we will continue to make the case for a European future for Scotland.

Scotland's Place in Europe

24th January, 2017

We welcome the contribution of the Scottish Government to the debate set out in its publication, "Scotland's Place in Europe". (Downloadable here.) We note that it is the only administration within UK to have set out a plan post-Brexit. We are pleased that the eminent experts on the First Minister's Standing Council, after considerable analysis of the options, have reaffirmed that membership of the EU and its Single Market is the best course for Scotland and the wider UK.

Vanessa Glynn, Chair of EMiS commented, "We in EMiS attach particular importance to retaining freedom of movement and would see any limitations on this as an unacceptable sacrifice for our economy and society in Scotland. We shall be campaigning in 2017 to remain in the European Union, alongside the European Movement UK, which under its new chair Stephen Dorrell is also determined that Brexit shall not happen.

We look forward to working with all in Scotland and Europe who share our values and goals, including the Scottish Government and Scotland's parliamentarians in Edinburgh, Brussels and Westminster.

Submission to Holyrood EU Inquiry

The Scottish Parliament Committee investigating the implications for Scotland leaving the EU has extended its inquiry and today issued a call for views in order to get more evidence on the impact of the vote.

We have submitted our own document which you can download here.

See more about the call for evidence here.

Volunteers out in Stockbridge

Committee member David Clarke out street leafleting with other volunteers.

'Ming' urges the young to vote.

12th May 2016

Lord Campbell urged younger people to turn out and vote in order to protect their benefits, rights and future at our event in Edinburgh on 12th May.

He also urged older generations to think of the benefits of peace, prosperity and security they have enjoyed through EU membership and not to prevent a younger generation enjoying those same benefits.

"I say to my generation, you have benefitted from decades of peace, prosperity and security that are down to the existence of the European Union. Our younger people know this and have benefitted from the single market and the right to travel, study and work freely throughout the European Union.

"EU membership has also delivered jobs and investment into Scotland, with over 330,000 Scottish jobs linked with our exports to the EU, benefitting many of our young people.

"To our older people I say, think of your children and grandchildren when casting your vote, and what kind of world you want to bequeath to them. And to our younger people I say, register to vote and if you are away, register for a postal vote.

"This referendum could be decided on how many younger people turn out on 23rd June. Don’t let yourselves be robbed of the chance for peace and prosperity.

"A narrow Brexit vote in England combined with a majority in favour of remaining in Scotland could keep the UK in the EU. From now on, we will be working flat out to try to secure every possible vote in Scotland."

We are registered

The European Movement (Scottish Council) has been added to the register of permitted participants in the EU referendum as of April 11th 2016.

"See the Bigger Picture" message from Ming Campbell.

The video is on Youtube.

Ming to lead Scottish Movement campaign to stay in the EU

Press release, March 5th, 2016.

Photo of Ming Campbell

Sir Menzies (“Ming”) Campbell has been appointed by the nation’s only dedicated pro-European campaigning organisation to lead the campaign in Scotland to keep the UK in the EU.

Now Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, the former MP for NE Fife, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson and Leader, will head the European Movement in Scotland’s campaign north of the border.

Under the branding of ‘Europe - The Big Picture, Vote Remain’, the campaign will aim to highlight the considerable benefits that Scotland in particular gains from membership of the EU in the run up to the June referendum.

This campaign will include a series of ‘town-hall’ style events, to be held throughout the country, bringing the positive messages of EU membership to the public, backed up by a media campaign.

Commenting on his appointment Lord Campbell said:

"Our message will be a simple one – every person in Scotland benefits from our membership of the EU. Whether it is climate change, energy security, organised crime and terrorism or international trade, decisions taken by the EU are more effective than the ones made by 28 individual states.

"While anti-EU campaigners can create a lot of noise they cannot hide the fact that there is a solid majority in Scotland in favour of our remaining in the EU, and it is this silent majority that we hope to mobilise to win this debate.

"The peace, stability and prosperity that the EU has brought to Scotland through our membership is to be absolutely cherished. Over the next few months we will be putting forward an unremitting and unashamedly positive case for our continued EU membership, ensuring that everyone can see the ‘big picture’ of the advantages our membership brings.”

Commenting of the appointment of Lord Campbell as head of the campaign Derek Hammersley, Chairman of the European Movement in Scotland commented:

"Ming is a statesman whose moderation and common sense are respected across the political divide and different generations. He will be a tremendous asset as we promote the positive case for our continued membership of the EU throughout the country.

"We will be bringing the message of peace, stability and prosperity that our membership has delivered to Scotland through a series of activities, including a range of ‘town hall’ meetings where people can hear the case for voting to remain in the EU.”

New campaign logo

Our new campaign logo: Europe see the bigger picture

We have go a new logo. It emphasises the word "The Big Picture" which fits in nicely with our positive message about all the good things that membership of the EU offers us, and it isn't just about the economy and migrants. It also used the word "Remain" as this is what will be on the ballot paper.

You will be seeing various versions of this on our Facebook and Twitter posts as well as on this website.

Our new campaign assistant

Our campaign assistant

Congratulations and welcome to Amrita, our new Campaign Assistant. Amrita started work at the beginning of March. We are very pleased to have her help. She's going to be very busy in the next months helping us with our Facebook, Twitter, graphics, sending emails and lots of other tasks related to our Remain Campaign!


Submission to Holyrood EU Inquiry

An inquiry into the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union is to be conducted by the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee.

The inquiry will look at the implications for Scotland of the proposed referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU and the UK Government’s EU reform agenda.

The Committee will also take a close look at how the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers are involved in discussions on both the referendum and reform negotiations.

The referendum will be the focus of the committee’s evidence sessions in November and December, whilst attention is expected to shift to the reform agenda in the New Year. MSPs will explore what possible reforms to the EU might mean to Scotland.

See our submission

As part of this inquiry, the Committee invited individuals and organisations to submit written evidence. We have submitted our own document which you can download here.

See more about the call for evidence here and view other submissions here.

TTIP Submission to Holyrood

The Scottish Parliament is currently considering the implications of TTIP for Scotland and requested submissions. You can see our report along with others on the Scottish Parliament website or download the pdf from this web site here.

Submission to Smith Commission

In February, the European Movement in Scotland submitted it's views on the Scottish Government's proposals for an independent Scotland: membership of the European Union.

Visit the Scottish Parliament website at to view it along with all the other submissions.

Our report to the Smith Commission can also be downloaded here.

Further Reading

(in no particular order)


Scotland in Europe logo

A list of further reading materials and information from Scotland in Europe.


InFacts logo

In Facts - a website dedicated to listing all the reasons the UK should stay in.


European Movement UK Logo

Visit the European Movement UK website for the latest news, information and opinion.


British Influence logo

Blogs from British Influence


Universities for Europe logo

Universities for Europe blog about the advantages of membership for universities and science.


New Europeans Logo

News and commentary from the New Europeans. Look out for Steve Peers articles.


europa logo

Myth busters. answers to those silly articles in the newspapers. No more straight bananas!


European Futures logo

European Futures from the University of Edinburgh.


Public Policy Southampton - Views on Europe


UK in a changing Europe logo

Blogs and opinion on Europe