Nicolas De Santis featured in The Herald Scotland about Brexit, Scottish Independence and the EU brand.

Nicolas De Santis, President of global strategy think tank, Gold Mercury International, talks to Marianne Taylor about Scotland, Brexit and BRAND EU’s role in repositioning the brand of EU. De Santis is also the founder of BRAND EU, the initiative to build a better brand and vision of the EU. www.brandeu.eu

Link to actual article
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14921362.Scotland_can_veto_Brexit__says_think_tank/

Scotland can veto Brexit, says think tank by Marianne Taylor

SCOTLAND has the power to stop Brexit from happening, the leader of an influential global governance think tank has said.

Nicolas de Santis, head of London-based Gold Mercury International, believes Holyrood must legally be given a vote on the triggering of Article 50, meaning MSPs could choose to veto Brexit.

De Santis, a high-level advisor to the EU, told The Herald Brexit was the ultimate test of devolution and said Scotland should “fight for its right” to be an equal partner in the UK.

He added that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon faced her “biggest and most important job” in the months and years to come in a period that would “define the future of Scotland” either inside or outside the UK.

According to De Santis, a Spanish-born Italian who is also co-founder of the successful online travel agency Opodo, the recent high court ruling that the UK parliament must be given a say on Article 50 – the triggering of which is required to begin the process of leaving the EU – sets an important precedent, regardless of whether the Supreme Court upholds the decision at a hearing next month.

“The high court has told the UK Government that it cannot just unpick legislation and do what it wants without consulting parliament,” he said. “EU law is also, of course, ingrained in devolved law and that is very important.

“Scotland’s role in this is to defend its right to be part of the democratic process and understand what is best for its people.

“It needs to put pressure on to ensure this democratic process is followed. And if it is followed, I don’t think Brexit can happen.

“Theresa May’s government is trying to override the devolved nations and that is politically significant. They are basically saying they don’t care about devolution, that the UK Government will simply do just as it pleases. This attitude is, frankly, unbelievable.

“And it may take the UK constitution to breaking point.”

Gold Mercury International was set up in 1961 by De Santis’ father, Eduardo, and has works with businesses, institutions and governments around the world.

De Santis, who has been advising the EU for more than 20 years and heads Brand EU, an organisation promoting the benefits of EU citizenship, recently had what he describes as an “open and informative” meeting with former First Minister Alex Salmond to discuss Scotland’s position.

But he warned that the EU could not openly support Scotland’s wish to remain part of the EU as it “cannot be seen to get involved in an ‘internal’ matter. It deals with sovereign states, that is the reality”.

He insisted, however, that Scotland could still influence the outcome.

“Scots should not view Brexit as a fait accompli,” he explained. “Scotland should do what it needs to do politically and legally to exercise its rights. Its role is to guarantee that the devolution it received actually means something.

“This is the biggest and most important job Nicola Sturgeon is ever going to have. This will define the future of Scotland.

“And it opens up very big questions. Either the UK creates a real constitution that clarifies these matters and possibly creates a federal system or it will break.

“In 2014 I didn’t want to see Scotland leave the UK. But at that time I did not conceive of Brexit, and that the devolved nations would basically be told what to do.”

Describing the aftermath of the Brexit vote as “a mess, like watching a bad soap opera” De Santis said the past six months demonstrated that pro-Brexit Tories either did not understood the complex nature of membership of the EU, or were prepared to mislead the public about what leaving would mean and rely on “stupid rhetoric” and anti-EU propaganda.

He is now doubtful that leaving the EU is actually possible, despite the Prime Minister’s assurances that “Brexit means Brexit”.

“The EU is comprised of thousands of small items that together create something huge,” he explained. “One by one you have to remove laws, treatise, agreements – I don’t see it as possible in modern times to easily extricate yourself from this, economically or socially.

“The problem is the Brexiteers told people it would be possible, but they didn’t say how it would happen. The leaked memo we saw last week highlighted that they had no idea what they were doing.

“Now Theresa May now has problems everywhere she looks. This conspiracy of a few has opened Pandora’s box.”

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Her Majesty’s Former Attorney General Baroness Scotland Meets Nicolas De Santis

The UK’s former Attorney General Hon Baroness Scotland met with Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury to discuss the European Union, international affairs and global governance issues.

“Baroness Scotland has devoted great efforts and work towards advancing important issues and causes that are also of great interest to Gold Mercury including human rights, domestic violence, and better international collaboration and governance.” said Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury.

Hon Baroness Scotland became the United Kingdom’s first black female Queens Counsel (QC) at the age of thirty-five. She later became a judge and served on the British Privy Council – the country’s highest court of appeals. Baroness Scotland served in former prime minister Tony Blair’s foreign and home offices, and was elevated to the top legal position in her country with the ruling Gordon Brown administration. On 28 June 2007, Baroness Scotland was appointed Attorney General by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She was the first woman to hold the office since it was formed in 1315. She was instrumental in creating the Quintet, which brought together the Attorneys General of USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to consider issues of joint legal and systemic concern.

Baroness Patricia Scotland was recently elected as a City of London Alderman for Bishopsgate ward, the first person of a black or minority ethnic background to win the coveted role and only the fourth woman in its 900 year history.

Baroness Scotland is a President at Chatham House.

Watch Baroness Scotland at TEDX Houses of Parliament

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Swedish Television Airs Interview with Nicolas De Santis on the Future of the European Union

Sveriges Television (SVT), the Swedish public national television channel, has aired its latest main cultural programme called “Kobra,” which features an interview with Nicolas De Santis, Gold Mercury President.

The interview covers Nicolas De Santis’s creation of the European Superhero, Captain Euro, for the launch of the EURO currency in 2002, and discusses the future of the European Union brand.

Watch the trailer for Kobra’s Captain Euro segment!

“Captain Euro started as a social research experiment to test the feelings, emotions and perceptions of the EU in Europeans and the world. When we launched it, the reaction was fantastic, because people either loved Captain Euro, or they hated Captain Euro. This is what we wanted – we wanted people to finally emotionally react to Europe.” – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, speaking about the public response to Captain Euro.

Nicolas De Santis is an expert in European Union identity issues and branding and has advised the European Parliament and the European Commission on this subject, as well as on the launch of the Euro currency. Nicolas De Santis created Captain Euro in the 1990s to promote Europe and the launch of the Euro to its citizens and the world. The programme examines some of the reasons for Captain Euro’s creation, and why he has proven so enduring and divisive.

Breaking up Europe? Scottish Independence and UK’s EU referendum
In a globalised world of superpowers, where the nation state is becoming less relevant, and international cooperation more critical, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond yesterday unveiled a white paper on Scottish independence. The paper did not truly answer fundamental questions for an independent Scotland’s future, such as its currency (how it can keep the pound sterling), or how it will deal with needing to reapply to join the EU after separating from the UK, when the UK can veto its membership, and when it does not meet the criteria for membership as an independent state.

With similar separatist movements happening in Europe, the plan for how an independent Scotland can be competitive and relevant in a globalised world economy was not clear. Similarly, the UK has proposed a referendum, questioning its own future in the EU. The referendum raises similar questions about the UK’s future political and economic role, if it were to be outside of the EU. Recently the White House, in an official statement, made it clear that the UK being at the heart of Europe is in the interest of the world. Large corporations investing in the UK also stated that if it were to leave the Union, they would have to reconsider their investments.

“The European Union has a serious identity problem. Instead of going forward, we seem to be going back towards the fragmentation and nationalism of the past, wasting the efforts of entire generations of Europeans. Our energies should not be directed towards repeating our unfortunate past, but rather towards building the future of a solid, competitive Europe which can function in the new world economy. We at Gold Mercury aim to help develop a clear vision for the future of the EU, and make it easy to understand for the people who will participate in, and shape its future”. –Nicolas De Santis on the current European situation.

The BRAND EU Center for European Identity

As the EU identity crisis continues, Gold Mercury will be launching the BRAND EU Center, which will cover issues relating to the concept of EU citizen identity formation. The main aims of the BRAND EU Center are to deliver critical insights on the current state of the European Union’s governance and political structure, as well as address the lack of a common European identity and a strong EU brand. Characters such as Captain Euro, are the first tentative steps towards trying to find a suitable common ground to forge a European brand. Gold Mercury’s BRAND EU Center aims to challenge the current complexity, which is associated with the European Union, so that citizens can start to feel closer to Europe.

“Gold Mercury has identified the lack of a clear EU brand and EU identity as a key barrier to achieving the full support of its citizens and for the development of Europe as a whole. One of the key brand problems for citizens in understanding Europe and participating actively, is the complexity of the current political structure of the EU. Still today, it can be only understood by academics or experts,”  – Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, explaining the need for an EU Identity Initiative, the BRAND EU Center

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