SCOTLAND’S first independent EU think-tank has been hailed as filling an important space in Scotland’s European policy debate during its first year.

The comments came as the Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) published its first annual report today. Chairman David Wilson, who is also executive director of the Institute for International Public Policy Research at Strathclyde University, said the SCER team had hit the ground running and had had “an impressive impact”.

The SCER has published 100 policy papers, notes and comment pieces and held 20 events – in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Brussels – with more to come in Dundee, Aberdeen and Oban.

The think-tank’s director, Kirsty Hughes, has written extensively for The National about Brexit. She said: “I am delighted that SCER has established itself so rapidly as a leading source of comment and expertise on EU affairs.

“As the damaging process of Brexit continues, with the UK as of now heading towards a ‘Canada dry’ Brexit that will hit the UK and Scotland’s exports very hard – for both goods and services – independent, critical commentary is more important than ever.”

Hughes added: “Time is running out to halt or limit the damage from Brexit. Opposition parties – and individual MPs, MEPs and MSPs – need to take stock of their positions on Brexit.

“The UK can change its mind, but halting Brexit would probably need a further EU referendum as well as a vote at Westminster.

“That means Labour, the SNP, Scottish Greens and Tory rebels all need to urgently consider supporting such a referendum. A soft Brexit is not currently on the cards. Staying in the EU’s single market and customs union without a vote would lead to less economic damage but create a major democratic deficit.”

The report will be available for download from the think-tank’s website at