Standing Council on Europe minutes: October 2019

Minutes of the fifteenth meeting of the First Minister’s Standing Council on Europe, which took place on 2 October 2019.

Attendees and apologies

Members in attendance:

  • Sir Anton Muscatelli
  • Malcolm Burr
  • Vasco Cal
  • Lord John Kerr
  • Professor Alan Miller
  • Professor John Kay
  • Dame Mariot Leslie
  • Prof Andrew Scott
  • Fabian Zuleeg
  • Charles Grant
  • Sir John Grant
  • Dame Anne Glover
  • David Martin
  • Alyn Smith MEP

Ministers in attendance:

  • First Minister of Scotland
  • Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations
  • Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development
  • Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introduction 

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

2. Discussion of Brexit developments since last meeting and potential future scenarios

There was a discussion about the UK Government’s Brexit proposals which were  published that day.  Members reflected that the EU had signalled its willingness to give the proposals a fair hearing and there was a discussion on whether the proposals would lead to a compromise deal. The Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations informed members that the first Citizens Assembly meeting will take place on 26 October 2019. 

3. Discussion of how Scotland can influence the EU-UK negotiations on trade and wider future relationship, and UK trade negotiations with third countries

Concern was raised that 'no deal' could result in a difficult trading environment, which could make exporting to the EU very problematic. If EU markets are lost, it was felt that the UK Government could not mitigate against the consequences quickly by signing new trade deals with non EU countries because of the impossibility of finalising its overall global trade policy until its trading relations with its closest and most important export market have been resolved.

4. AOB: next steps for the Standing Council 

The Scottish Government proposed, and members agreed, to consider the next steps for the Standing Council bearing in mind developments in the external environment.


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