Just like Belgium

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.

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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.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace