On Thursday, 21 January 2016, Dáithí O’Ceallaigh, Chair of the IIEA’s UK project group and former Irish Ambassador in London, gave evidence before the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee on the topic of Brexit and the alternatives to EU membership.
The meeting was held as part of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee’s inquiry into the implications of EU reform and the EU referendum for Scotland. Other witnesses for the evidence session included: Professor Dr A ndreas Auer LL.M., Emeritus Professor, Universities of Zurich and Geneva; Niels Engelschiøn, Deputy Director General, Department for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo; and Knut Hermansen, Minister Counsellor, Norwegian Mission to the EU, Brussels
Mr. Ó’Ceallaigh expressed his belief that UK Prime Minister David Cameron was likely to secure his desired reforms in the negotiations with the European Council, but questioned whether this would be sufficient to secure a positive result in the UK’s upcoming referendum. Quoted in the Scottish Herald, Mr. Ó’Ceallaigh told the Committee:
I think David Cameron will be successful in the negotiations. There are a couple of difficult areas. The treatment of workers is a difficulty. It will be difficult to get down on paper a satisfactory relationship between the Eurozone area and the non-Eurozone area, although there haven’t been any difficulties and it has worked reasonably well up until now. I think the questions of the powers of national parliaments versus the European Parliament will be a bit difficult as well, but I do think he could end up and will end up with a successful negotiation.
But I wonder is that the question? It seems to me as an outsider, but an outsider with a long relationship with the UK, that it’s much more cultural, historical, to some extent even emotional.
The full story can be accessed on the Herald Scotland website.
The final report of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee on Brexit will be published in March 2016.