Are you heading off to another EU country on holiday soon? Then remember to pack your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) along with your passport. This gives access to state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The card entitles you to state-provided healthcare under the same conditions and at the same cost as citizens of that country. In some cases treatment may be free. The card covers both pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care. Do remember though the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance as it does not cover private healthcare or return flights if you have to come home early for health reasons.
The House of Commons Library is celebrating as this year marks 200 hundred years since its first librarian was appointed. You can find out more about the library’s history here or watch the video at the end of this blog.
One aspect of the library’s work, relevant to anyone starting to research a contemporary topic, is the production of impartial research briefings on a wide range of current issues. While these are intended to help members of Parliament by providing them with good quality impartial background information, they are extremely useful to anyone starting to research a current issue. They can be searched by date or topic.
Some recent briefings which may be of interest include:
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters into force today and updates data protections principles established 20 years ago. The GDPR reinforces the rules by which all organisations and companies providing services in the EU must abide. The GDPR gives us better ways to say what our data can be used for, to retract our consent, to transfer our data or to ask for it to be erased so we can now shop, share and surf with more confidence online.
To find out more, read: Its your data- take control: a citizen’s guide to data protection in the EUhere. Or watch this video from the UK’s Channel 4 News.
An event, entitled Brexit: Scotland, the UK and EU27: Key Issues, organised by the Scottish Centre on European Relations takes place in Aberdeen at the Central Library on May 23rd. Organised with the support of the European Commission in Scotland the panel will consider how, with less than a year to go, the Brexit talks are developing and the implications this has for Scotland. There will be time for questions and answers.
The Speakers are:
Prof Claire Wallace, University of Aberdeen
Liam Smyth, Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
Dr Craig McAngus, University of the West of Scotland
and the Chair is:
Dr Kirsty Hughes, Scottish Centre on European Relations
The event, which starts at 6.00pm on May23rd is free but you need to register in advance.
The Centre on Constitutional Change, which is based at the University of Edinburgh and includes academics from the Universities of Aberdeen, Cambridge, Cardiff, Stirling, and University College Cork, has issued an invitation to the launch of a new book Squaring the Circle. Could the Norway Model Work? The launch event takes place in Edinburgh on the evening of Thursday 31st May. Booking details for this free event are available here.
“As the UK Government and opposition parties struggle to define their vision of Brexit, attention has turned back to the European Economic Area or ‘Norway model’, which allows access to the European Single Market without membership of the European Union.
Professor John Erik Fossum (University of Oslo) will present the findings of his new book with Hans Petter Graver: Squaring the Circle. Could the Norway Model Work?
The book provides an overview of the Norway model, an assessment of the likelihood that the UK will adopt (parts of or all of) this model. It draws some lessons for the UK, and some reflections on the possible effects on Norway.
There will be a response by Dame Mariot Leslie (former UK Ambassador to Norway)”
The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland from the European Union and Euratom is available in a coloured coded version, highlighting both where progress has been made and areas still to be agreed.
If you are following the withdrawl process you can find other relevant documents here.
Publications from the UK Department for Exiting the European Union are available here.
What will the economic impact of the UK leaving the European Union be to Scotland? A new analytic paper, produced by the Scottish Government, looks at the impact on trade, productivity and migration of different types of future relationships and concludes that Scotland’s best interests are served by continued membership of the European Single Market. The full report entitled Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment is available here.
On Friday, December 8th, the European Commission recommended to the European Council that sufficient progress has been made in the first phase of the Article 50 negotiations with the United Kingdom. The European Council meeting on December 15th will formally decide if this is the case, allowing negotiations to proceed to the second phase. The European Commission recommendation follows the Joint Report agreed by the European Commission negotiation team led by Michel Barnier and the United Kingdom Government.
The European Commission believes sufficient progress has been made in the three priority areas of citizen’s rights, Ireland and the financial settlement as laid out in the European Council Guidelines of 29th April 2017. You can read details of the Commission’s assessment at the state of progress of the negotiations here. Related documents are also available.
You may also be interested in: the statement made by the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, following the recommendation made by the European Commission.
The Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) produces research briefings on a wide range of issues, including on EU and International Affairs. These are intended to aid Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) by providing relevant impartial up-to-date background material on topics relevant to their work. However, the briefing papers are useful to anyone starting to research a current issue.