The people have spoken. For the first time in its 66 year history a country, this country, has voted to leave the EU. Waking up on 24th June some were elated, others bitterly disappointed. Many will have no sense of what has happened or what it will mean. However, everyone will be united by the single question: what happens now?
There is speculation as to when Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union will be invoked, which will start the process of leaving the European Union.
Regardless of the timing, the negotiations will be intense and complex on both sides of the Channel, as the UK disentangles itself from the EU.
At the same time, in London and in each of the UK’s national capitals, preparations will be made for the biggest reconfiguration of law in the history of our islands. Some laws will be repealed and replaced. Some rebranded. Government departments will begin to grapple with the reality of their new found responsibilities.
The departure of the UK form the EU will also have fundamental implications for the EU itself. Setting aside the fact that the UK is a net financial contributor and the EU’s single largest market, the UK is also a progressive liberal democracy which has championed the free market often against stiff continental resistance. The EU will look quite different.
Britain will succeed outside of Europe, of that I have no doubt. No other country has shaped the destiny and direction of our continent more than Great Britain and our influence will continue to be felt across Europe and further afield. Our global responsibilities, the reach of our economy - the fifth largest on the face of the globe, the impact of our science and research, the importance of our values all will continue to exert their influence.
I will remain in Brussels for as long as there is a role for me. The early stages of the negotiations will involve the European Parliament, and I will play my part. I will continue to stand up for Scotland’s interests. And then I will come home, and write my memoirs! It has indeed be an exciting time to be in Brussels.