Standing Council on Europe minutes: July 2016

Agenda and minutes of the first meeting of the First Minister's Standing Council on Europe, which took place on 14 July 2016.

Attendees and apologies


  • Chair: Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice Chancellor, University of Glasgow

Members in Attendance

  • Vasco Cal
  • Sir David Edward
  • David Frost
  • John Kay
  • Lord Kerr
  • Dame Mariot Leslie
  • David Martin
  • Alyn Smith
  • Grahame Smith
  • Professor Andrew Scott
  • Fabian Zuleeg


  • Dame Anne Glover
  • Charles Grant
  • Amanda McMillan
  • Frances Ruane
  • Anne Richards
  • Alan Miller

Items and actions


  1. Coffee on arrival and introductions (to include group photograph of Council and informal networking)
  2. Welcome and vision for the council (First Minister)
  3. Introduction from the Chair
    a. Overview of priorities around the table
    b. -
  4. Review and agreement of operating principles
  5. Future meetings
  6. Any other business


Opening remarks from First Minister

First Minister opened up the discussion by stating her objective:

  • to protect Scotland’s relationship with Europe
  • to look at all the options to achieve this aim

The purpose of the Council will be:

  • advice on priorities
  • advice on UK Article 50 Negotiations
  • analysis of particular options for delivery policy position


The meeting was opened with an introduction from the Chair setting out the high-level role for the Council and that the discussion would focus on three principal areas: policy priorities, process and engagement strategies. Members indicated their enthusiasm for these tasks.

The flexible membership of the Council was also set out and the operating principles agreed.

Discussion was broadly grouped under these themes with the following issues covered:

  • the overarching policy priority is set by the First Minister already and more detailed policy analysis will underpin the development of options to protect our relationship with the EU
  • Scotland should have early conversations with the UK government to feed policy positions into the UK policy
  • it is important for Scotland to maintain its presence in Brussels and continue to develop and invest in existing relationships and areas of policy collaboration
  • the process of Article 50 is complex and likely to be made up of two principal strands of negotiation, one focussed on leaving the EU and a second, under a framework set by the first, on establishing a new relationship
  • there is a need to look at what expertise SG and partners have at their disposal and to make best use of this

The meeting was followed by a dinner hosted by Dr Alastair Allan, Minister for International Development and Europe.

Standing Council on Europe - Agenda for first meeting.pdf
Standing Council on Europe - Minutes of first meeting.pdf


Email: Monika Baczyk,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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