In his latest Post column, Drumchapel Councillor Anne McTaggart shares her thoughts on the impact of Brexit...

On January 31, the fourth anniversary of Brexit Day, as city convener for communities and equalities, I met with representatives of the newly-established EU Citizens Forum.

It was formed after being brought together by our Lord Provost on Europe Day last year to share the council’s ongoing engagement with Europe and celebrate its contribution to the city.

As a city built by Poles, Irish, Italians and Lithuanians, to name but a few communities, it was inspiring to hear everyone reaffirm proudly “I belong to Glasgow”.

Brexit has shaken up the world for many Glasgow citizens. Yes, Glasgow citizens, not ‘EU’.

Excluding Irish citizens, it is estimated there are 52,200-plus EU citizens living locally. The biggest numbers are from Poland, Romania, Italy, Spain and Greece, though every EU nation is believed to be resident.

Irish nationals are also EU citizens. However, as they have automatic reciprocal rights of residence in the UK, the number of Irish people in Glasgow is not recorded.

When those who didn’t have to navigate the EU settlement process are added – and those who are accessing EU national passports through grandparents and others – potentially 15 per cent of Glasgow residents could vote in the European Parliament elections in early June this year.

Why does that matter?

Apart from the fundamental right to vote,  these elections – like the UK elections – matter for Glasgow’s prosperity and place in the world.

Described by many as the UK’s most European city – not only due to our French Renaissance style tenements or Art Nouveau architectural jewels, nor ongoing accolades like the 2023 European Capital of Sport – the City Government is engaging with Europe for the benefit of Glasgow, as the SNP understands how Brexit has disrupted our economy and inflated costs.

Exports to the EU are estimated to directly support 130,000 jobs in Scotland, with 20,000 of those in Glasgow and another 20,000 in the greater Glasgow region.

The Brexit Vulnerability Index states 30 per cent of communities in Glasgow are significantly impacted by Brexit. More people in Glasgow are Brexit-vulnerable than any other local authority in Scotland. We have seen just how vulnerable Glasgow was to Westminster's wantonness.