Standing Council on Europe minutes: May 2019

Minutes of the fourteenth meeting of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe, which took place in May 2019.

Attendees and apologies

Members in attendance:

  • Sir Anton Muscatelli
  • Malcolm Burr
  • Vasco Cal
  • Lord John Kerr
  • Prof Alan Miller
  • Dame Mariot Leslie
  • Prof Andrew Scott
  • Prof John Kay
  • Fabian Zuleeg

Ministers in attendance:

  • First Minister of Scotland
  • Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs 
  • Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introduction 

The meeting opened with a welcome and brief introduction from the Chair. 

2. Update from First Minister 

The First Minister provided an update on recent developments noting that the EU Parliamentary Election results again highlighted that Scotland voted against Brexit.

3. Discussion on Scotland’s future

The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations provided an update to members on what he would cover in his statement in Parliament the following day, noting that the Scottish Government is seeking to put forward legislation which could pave the way for a new Scottish independence referendum via the Referendums (Scotland) Bill within this parliamentary term. A discussion also took place on the establishment of a Citizens’ Assembly which would bring together a cross section of Scottish society with an independent convener, to be tasked with considering issues around what type of country we are trying to build.

4. Discussion on latest Brexit position 

Members were asked to reflect on the European Parliamentary election results, and it was noted that Scotland had clearly voted against Brexit. 

Members also reflected that with the continued stalemate in the House of Commons and the Prime Minister’s resignation, there was cause for greater concern about the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ outcome and that either ‘no deal’ or ‘no Brexit’ looked like the strongest possibilities.



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