Alyn Smith MEP is quite right in highlighting the irony of Latvia and Luxembourg holding the presidency of the European Union this year, setting its agenda, while Scotland remains on the sidelines, represented by an increasingly out of touch UK Government dancing to a Ukip tune.
Interestingly, the Smith Commission has called for Scottish ministers to be fully involved in agreeing the UK position in EU negotiations relating to devolved policy matters.
It also presumes that a devolved administration minister can speak on behalf of the UK at a meeting of the Council of Ministers according to an agreed UK negotiating line.
This is, however, only when the relevant lead UK Government minister is unable to attend all or part of a meeting.
This position could clearly be strengthened, with the caveat that it is only when the UK minister is unable to attend all or part of a meeting removed.
This would to an extent echo the situation in Belgium where the Belgian regions and communities have the power (including for international relations) to represent the Belgian position at Council of Minister meetings via a co-operation agreement.
Prior to each council meeting consultations are held between the federal and regional governments about the position that Belgium will be taken during that meeting.
While only Scottish independence will deliver full representation at the EU’s top tables, until that time there is much that can be done to enhance and strengthen Scotland’s role within the EU.