Standing Council on Europe minutes: November 2016

Agenda and minutes of the third meeting of the First Minister's Standing Council on Europe, which took place on 16 November 2016.

Attendees and apologies


  • David Martin MP
  • Dame Mariot Leslie
  • Lord John Kerr
  • Anne Richards

Items and actions


  1. Welcome and introduction (Chair)
  2. Update from First Minister
  3. Options update
  4. Sub-group updates
  5. Communication and Freedom of Information
  6. Next steps
  7. Any other business


Meeting opened with a short introduction from the Chair, including welcoming two new members, Sir George Reid and Sir John Grant. Apologies were noted from David Martin MP, Dame Mariot Leslie, Lord John Kerr, and Anne Richards.

Options discussion

The Chair introduced a discussion on the consideration of options for Scotland and this included a presentation on EFTA and the EEA from Sebastian Remøy, formerly of the EEA Coordination Division, EFTA Secretariat.

Work groups

The Chair introduced updates and summaries of the papers from the following work groups:

Environment and Climate Change

Anne Glover presented a summary of the considerations of the Environment and Climate Change roundtables and noted that Scotland can become a leader on environmental and climate change issues on the basis of Scotland’s strengths in value-based approaches. It was also suggested that an integrated systems approach to policy making could be examined by the Scottish Government. Scottish Government officials agreed to consider this further.

Social Protections and Human Rights

Alan Miller and Grahame Smith updated the Council on the first roundtable discussion on Social Protections and which had built on papers from the Scottish Universities Legal Network on Europe (SULNE) ( It was noted that two more events would be held on 17 November in Brussels and consideration of a further event in Scotland in the new year.

Higher Education and Funding

There was a short summary of the higher education roundtable which had occurred on 14 November. It was noted that both funding and movement of research staff and students were two of the primary issues and that a more detailed note would be circulated in due course.

Economy and Financial Services

A summary paper was provided and there was discussion of more detailed scenario based modelling which the Scottish Government was undertaking. This would be fed through to the Standing Council.

Diplomacy and Influencing

There has been significant activity in explaining Scotland’s position since the last meeting. There will be a meeting shortly to pull the strands together.

Communication and Freedom of Information (FOI)

A paper was presented on FOI.

Any Other Business

The Chair mentioned that both he and Mr Russel had received a report from Glasgow City Council. This was provided to members in their packs for reference.

Standing Council on Europe - Agenda for third meeting.pdf
Standing Council on Europe - Minutes for third meeting.pdf


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