A third sector delegation, the majority from Scotland, visited Brussels last month to discuss the impact of Brexit on civil society organisations both in Scotland and the UK, and to communicate their pro-European stance.
Led by the SCVO, 20 representatives attended from 15 organisations including ProjectScotland, Enable Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Carers Trust, and the Scottish government. They were also joined by WCVA and NCVO.As well as discussing the threat Brexit poses to the sector, the delegation emphasised their need to continue links with Europe once it has taken place.
The two-day visit saw the delegation meet with the European Commission, European Parliament, and European Civic Forum through a programme of events. These included a reception in the European Parliament Building, hosted by Alyn Smith MEP to help fellow MEPs from Catalunya, Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, and the UK understand Brexit and Scotland’s situation, as well as a networking event at the European Civic Forum with civil society partners from across Europe. Events also took place exploring common challenges faced across Europe and tackled by civil society.
In a blog post on the visit, SCVO Parliamentary public affairs officer Craig Wilson said:
“We wanted to let our hosts know that Scotland’s third sector is overwhelmingly pro-European and that we want to ensure a strong and dynamic future relationship with them – regardless of the final Brexit outcome. At the same time, we wanted to make clear our frustration at the lack of space for civil society in the ongoing debate and to ensure our voice is heard (and concerns understood) as negotiations proceed.”