The Scottish Fabians was delighted to host a seminar on 5 March discussing Scotland and the UK’s role in the European Union.
Catherine Stihler MEP, Ann McKechin MP and Claire Baker MSP talked about the challenges the EU faces during a period of prevailing euroscepticism, here in Britain and across the continent.
All were keen to stress the benefits the EU has brought: peace and prosperity, the unification of East and West, free movement for citizens and open markets for goods and services.
Catherine spoke of the complex work done by the Union to develop the framework for existing and new markets. Many major economic issues are best addressed at European level, for example the need to train EU citizens for a digital economy that spans borders.
Ann and Claire talked about the EU’s image problems, some of its own making, some inevitable given the sheer complexity of EU policy making. The good things about the EU are often taken for granted, and less less amenable to news headlines than the bad. And the ongoing issues of eurozone austerity continue to damage the Union’s reputation. Narrative is important in politics, and supporters of the Union need to craft a convincing story to tell.