Our press release on a day of shame

The European Movement in Scotland (EMiS), the country’s leading pro-EU body, is today urging Scots to defy Brexit and fight to rejoin the European Union.

EMiS is launching its own campaign for Scotland to rejoin the European Union as swiftly as possible – whatever its constitutional status.

Tier 4 restrictions have forced the cancellation of planned street protests against Brexit up and down the country, including at the Scottish Parliament and UK Government hub in the capital.

Instead, EMiS members and supporters will be protesting wherever and however possible against a bad deal on future EU-UK relations that poses a serious threat to Scotland’s future and that of its younger generations.

Mark Lazarowicz, EMiS convenor, says: ” With all the crises the world faces, the argument for the European Union is stronger than ever – and opinion polls show that support for EU membership is higher than it was at the time of the 2016 referendum, both in Scotland and across the whole of the UK.

“Whether Scotland becomes part of the EU again as an independent nation state, or through the UK as a whole, we know it will not happen overnight. But being a realist doesn’t mean we stop campaigning for our country to be part of that wider European project again.” 

Today marks the end of UK membership of the EU Single Market and Customs Union. From 1 January 2021, more than 5m Scots will lose the right to live, travel and work freely in 31 other European countries.  

As we prepare for this sad day, we in the European Movement in Scotland are united in this pledge:

“We declare that Scotland is a European country, embracing our common values of peace, democracy, human rights, equality, sustainability and solidarity
The clear wish of the great majority of the Scottish people is that Scotland should be within the European Union.
We commit to working to bring this about, whatever Scotland’s constitutional status”.

We are calling on as many as possible to share pictures of themselves displaying the EU stars – a symbol of European unity – in some form, accompanied by the hashtag #WeWillBeBack.

We urge all those who feel the same to join us at the European Movement in Scotland (euromovescotland.org.uk, @euromovescot), so that our fellow Europeans can hear us loud and clear.

Here’s the Scottish Government statement after MSPs refused to endorse the European Union (Future Relationship) Act:

Scottish Parliament does not give consent to damaging deal.

The UK Government’s damaging Brexit trade deal does not have the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs backed the Scottish Government’s Legislative Consent Memorandum, which says the deal will have “a severe detrimental impact on Scotland” and that leaving the EU is a “mistake of historic significance”.

The constitutional convention is that the Westminster Parliament should not legislate in devolved areas without the Scottish Parliament’s consent – and the UK Government’s trade deal affects multiple areas of devolved responsibility.

While the trade deal has been given consent at Westminster, the Scottish Parliament vote underlined that Scotland did not vote for Brexit, nor leaving the single market and customs union and losing the many benefits that membership of the European Union brings.

Scottish Government modelling estimates that a deal of the type that has been agreed could cut Scotland’s GDP by around 6.1% (£9 billion in 2016 cash terms) by 2030 compared to EU membership.

The economy and businesses will face the impacts of the higher costs of trying to access EU markets, and justice and security cooperation will be seriously affected.

Scotland and its students will no longer be able to participate in Erasmus, and reduced EU migration will also have a significant negative impact on the economy, on population levels and on wider society and culture.

Far from having substantial increased opportunities in the future, it will also mean a fall in the quantity of some key fishing stocks landed by the Scottish fleet.

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said:

“The Scottish Parliament has backed this government’s position: saying No to a hard Brexit deal that will do enormous damage to our economy, our society and to the opportunities of this and future generations.

“But, as it has done so throughout the Brexit process the UK Government will ignore the Scottish Parliament. This means in two days’ time Scotland will be forced out of the European Single Market and Customs Union, hitting the economy and jobs at the worst possible time.

“The Scottish Government will now do everything we can to mitigate the damage that will be caused.

“And we will continue to stick by our principles, our values and our beliefs – and we will stick by the people of Scotland, who have opposed Brexit at every turn.

“It is therefore more important than ever that people in Scotland have the right to choose the best deal of all – a future as an independent country and equal partner inside the European Union.”

Further reading: Five reasons the UK failed in Brexit talks, Jonathan Powell (Blair’s ex-chief of staff), Politico