Policy Scotland last week welcomed senior German MEP David McAllister to the University of Glasgow, who gave an insider’s view on how the Brexit process is being viewed in both Brussels and Berlin and offered insight into how the European institutions would approach the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.
Mr McAllister – who is Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and a former Prime Minister of Lower Saxony – made clear that ensuring the rights of EU citizens in the UK would be of paramount importance as the Brexit negotiations begin – saying that “people shouldn’t be taken hostage for political games”.
Speaking to an audience of around 200 people in the University’s Kelvin Gallery, McAllister – who is a close ally of Chancellor Merkel – argued that the EU referendum has “destabilised the constitution and weakened Parliament”, and pointed out that securing access to the single market for the UK would have to entail an acceptance of the four fundamental freedoms – including freedom of movement.
The MEP is a high-profile ally of Chancellor Merkel and has been described by Politico as Ms Merkel’s “eyes and ears in the European Parliament” and by fellow German MEP Daniel Caspary as “the person of course in charge of our British-German relationship”.
Indeed, he was described in the Financial Times as “being talked of as a potential successor to Merkel” and as her “crown prince” in the Guardian. He is the first dual German-British citizen to hold a prominent public office – the son of a solider from Govanhill who served in West Berlin during the Cold War.
Mr McAllister’s expertise was a welcome addition to Policy Scotland’s ongoing successful series on Brexit.