Nicolas De Santis speaks at the World Law Congress 2019

Nicolas De Santis, CEO of Corporate Vision and President of Gold Mercury International, gave a speech on UNIVERSAL VALUES AND THE LAW during the World Law Congress in Madrid in the presence of H.M. the King Felipe VI of Spain and other international authorities.

The World Law Congress of the World Jurist Association, gathered in Madrid more than 2,000 people from the international legal world and prominent figures from global civil society, to take the pulse of the most relevant issues of the international agenda.

“We support the mission and values of the World Jurist Association in promoting and defending democracy and liberty around the world. To achieve this we must guarantee for the respect and correct application of the rule of law. The World Jurist Association, organiser of this congress, is one of the global protectors of these values”

said Nicolas De Santis, CEO of Corporate Vision and President of Gold Mercury International.

Peace and Liberty Award Presented to the HM the King Felipe VI of Spain

During the Congress, the WJA World Peace & Liberty Award was presented to His Majesty King Felipe VI to distinguish the unwavering commitment of King to the Rule of Law and its prominent role at the international level as a leader in the defense of Democracy and Liberty. His invaluable contribution to the soundness and strengthening of the constitutional model, democratically approved by all Spaniards, makes him worthy of this recognition, making Spain a symbol for democracies in the world, with special emphasis on Latin America and Europe.Full speech of Nicolas De Santis, CEO of Corporate Vision and President of Gold Mercury International, at the World Law Congress:


“Your Excellencies, local, national and international authorities, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 It is an honour to be here today at the World Law Congress, organised by the historic World Jurist Association, to present its new brand and vision based on Universal Values. This global event in Madrid is a historic moment for all people present here, but also for people around the world, as we will discuss the future of our planet.

 Today, the structures of global governance are stretched to the limit as they try to resolve global issues, such as war, poverty, forced migration, degradation of our environment, global health, protecting human rights, and defending democratic principles. As the importance of non-state actors increases, year after year, and as our global population will reach 10 billion by 2050, our planet’s resources and social structures will face even bigger challenges and risks. We, as a planetary species, will know by then if we were able to work closer together, in peace and cooperation to guarantee our own future.

 Within this narrative of global inter-dependence, law and justice will have to play a crucial role to support our sustainable future and create the basis for increased cooperation. We have now agreed 17 sustainable development goals of the UN, to achieve 169 targets by 2030.

To this challenge, I ask of all you here today, and the legal profession around the world, to keep innovating. Jurists and philosophers thousands of years ago, started the difficult road of defining crucial concepts. Law at its very core is originated and evolved from values. I ask of all of you, to think how law and justice can continue to define, defend and consolidate UNIVERSAL GLOBAL VALUES of equality, freedom, peace, fairness, mercy, respect and dignity for the individual and nature. 

 Universal values are a precious public good. And law and justice must go hand in hand in consolidating and protecting them. It is the only way in which power will be controlled and will be properly exercised for the benefit of all. The new brand of the world jurist association represents this new powerful mission. A beautiful mission for all of you to join.”

 Thank you!

It is now time for me to present the new brand of the World Jurist Association.

Nicolas De Santis
CEO, Corporate Vision
President, Gold Mercury International

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Gold Mercury attends Davos during World Economic Forum 2019

Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International, attended Davos week during the World Economic Forum 2019. This year’s theme was: ‘GLOBALISATION 4.0 – Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of Industrial Revolution’. The main focus of discussions was on the future of technology and how it affects the future of our world.
Nicolas De Santis, met with the CEO’s of various corporations to discuss the state of the world, progress of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the Brexit situation in UK.
“Davos is now heavily influenced by technology and tech companies as the future of the world is being shaped by exponential technologies affecting every economic sector, from mobility and cyber defense to robotics and health. It is critical that we prepare the right economic and social transitions across industries, to make sure that change and disruption are managed properly and for this we all require great foresight, vision and ethical frameworks based on sustainable development. Most corporations are now embracing the SDG framework and linking those sustainable goals to corporate strategy and investments, but much more can be done.”
Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International.
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Maria MateosGold Mercury attends Davos during World Economic Forum 2019
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Nicolas De Santis, honoured with Italian Award for his business career and work for European identity

Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International and CEO of Corporate Vision, has been honoured in Florence, Italy, for his business career as an internet entrepreneur and for his philanthropic work in developing a stronger European identity and citizenship via the initiatives and projects BRAND EU® (The European Union Brand Centre) and Captain Euro®, Europe’s Superhero™.

The Florentine ‘Premio Pinocchio’ of Carlo Lorenzini (creator of famous Pinocchio character) includes categories for excellence in business, culture, sport and philanthropy.

The Award Ceremony, organised in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of Florence, RAI Television, Istituto Lorenzo de Medici and Erasmus programme of the European Union, took place at the studios of RAI TV in Florence. The Award was presented to Nicolas De Santis by Enrique Baron Crespo, former President of the European Parliament, Monica Baldi, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Montse Aguer, Director of Salvador Dalì Museum, and Massimo Fratini, Consigliere of the Florence City Council.

Past winners of the ‘Premio Pinocchio’ include: Ferruccio Ferragamo, President of Salvatore Ferragamo spa, Vittorio Sgarbi, cultural commentator and television personality, Rocco Forte Hotels,Maria Cristina Gribaudi of H-farm, Maria Letizia Sebastiani, director Biblioteca Nazionale di Venezia, Andrea Barducci, President of Florence Region, Fulvio Pierangelini, Italian chef, Roberto Innocenti, artist, Cecile Hollberg, Director Galleria Dell’Accademia art museum in Florence, Gabriele Rossetti, skeet world champion, Eric Buffat, music composer and Pippo Zeffirelli of the Franco Zeffirelli Foundation.

“Pinocchio is an Italian but also a global brand and its narrative describes how a wooden puppet manages to make his dream come true and become a real boy, despite the hardships and adventures of life. It is a metaphor for the lives of all peoples. I am honoured to receive this Italian and Florentine award for my career and my work towards making Europe’s brand stronger and more accessible to its citizens. I thank the City of Florence and the Pinocchio Cultural Association for this excellence Award.” said Nicolas De Santis.

Nicolas De Santis recognised many years ago the importance of fostering a European identity to improve citizen involvement in the project of the European Union. He warned EU institutions that without a strong EU identity, the project was at risk. Now with Brexit and extreme nationalism on the rise, Europe needs to focus on its own identity.

His work to improve brand Europe, includes the creation of BRAND EU®, the European Union Brand Centre and Captain Euro®, Europe’s Superhero comic character. Both projects develop and support the development of a European identity and strengthen citizen involvement in the future of the EU.

Business Career

As an internet entrepreneur, Nicolas De Santis has been involved in major technology start-ups, like (the first ever digital currency) and, one of the world’s largest travel portals, reaching €1.2 billion in gross sales. As a strategy advisor and the CEO of Corporate Vision, the strategic visioning consultancy, he has develop several frameworks to prepare companies for the future. As part of his role as President of Gold Mercury International, the global think tank and Award, he has developed several philanthropic projects to advance global governance, including GLOGO, the global governance monitoring system.


Here is Nicolas De Santis acceptance speech (In Italian)

Illustri Autorità, Comune di Firenze, Istituto Lorenzo de Medici, Associazione Culturale Pinocchio di Carlo Lorenzini, Rai Italiana, Erasmus, Cari ospiti,

È un onore essere qui nello storico STUDIO C di Rai Toscana, per ricevere questo Premio Pinocchio, parte integrale della diffusione della cultura italiana ed europea nel mondo, grazie al grande Carlo Lorenzini (Collodi).
Come imprenditore e uomo di affari, ho sempre creduto in creare valore per la società. Per questo ringrazio i miei genitori. Mio padre Eduardo De Santis, per essere sempre stato il motivante di  grandi valori umanistici. Ringrazio mia madre, Maria Cuadra, famosa attrice europea, e difensore della democrazia e la liberta durante la dittatura di Francisco Franco. Ci voleva molto coraggio!

Volevo spiegare le motivazioni del nostro lavoro sull’Europa e l’ Unione Europea.
E stato sempre molto chiaro per me che il progetto per l’unione europea è uno dei progetti più importanti della storia e ha creato le fondamenta per mantenere il progresso e la pace nel nostro continente. Ma il progetto Europeo e a rischio come abbiamo visto con Brexit nel Regno Unito e in altri parti dell’Europa.

Parte del problema è che il marchio del’Unione Europea e debole. Non e riuscito a comunicare una visione di lungo raggio o certe emozioni positive a molti cittadini Europei. E rimasto un marchio troppo distante e istituzionale, che ha bisogno invece di comunicare i veri valori europei di pace, solidarietà, e innovazione. Con i nostri progetti europei BRAND EU e Captain Euro, il nostro obbiettivo e arrivare alle persone con un marchio dell’Unione Europea che comunica emozioni più intense e una visione piu chiara per coinvolgere i cittadini nel progetto europeo piùintensamente, creando maggiori sinergie tra le parti, siano persone, aziende, governi europei e con il resto del mondo.

È un grande onore il ricevere un premio che si chiama Pinocchio. Carlo Lorenzini, creatore delle ‘Avventure di Pinocchio’, utilizza la storia di un burattino, come una metafora per parlare della strana condizione umana. Un burattino che deve affrontare le vicissitudini e pericoli della vita, ma riesce a trasformare il suo sogno in realtà, e diventare un vero bambino. Siamo in un mondo che ha bisogno di sognare e avere la speranza che un giorno il nostro pianeta sarà un posto migliore per tutti. Ma per riuscire nel nostro sogno abbiamo il dovere, come cittadini europei e globali, essere parte della soluzione non del problema.

Il nostro lavoro non e facile e la strada sarà dura. Ma sappiamo l’importanza che ha il mantenere l’Europa unita e forte in un mondo che diventerà ogni volta più complesso e che continua ad avere grandi guerre e conflitti tra gli esseri umani. Questo dovere europeo, aspetta a tutti noi.


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Maria MateosNicolas De Santis, honoured with Italian Award for his business career and work for European identity
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Nicolas De Santis among top UK business chiefs calling to stay in customs union.

The President of Gold Mercury International, Nicolas De Santis, is among more than 100 entrepreneurs and business leaders that have signed an open letter to MPs urging them to keep the UK inside the EU’s customs union. Organised by Richard Reed, a co-founder of Innocent Drinks, the letter has been co-signed by the founders of Pret a Manger, Waterstones, Zoopla, Net a Porter, Domino’s Pizza, Yo Sushi and Jack Wills.

The letter states: “The cost, complexity and bureaucracy created by crashing out of the customs union and adopting alternative arrangements is the last thing that our businesses need as we seek to grow and employ more people. It would amount to the British Government tying the hand of British business.”

Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury said “UK businesses do not want to leave the single market or the customs union, this was voiced recently also by BMW, Airbus and most Japanese companies creating jobs here in UK. Now is the time for MPs and the Government to listen to the voice of business in order not to inflict irreparable damage the UK economy, productivity or British jobs.”

Read Article in The Times

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Maria MateosNicolas De Santis among top UK business chiefs calling to stay in customs union.
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Our strategy unit Corporate Vision® featured in Expansion, Spain’s leading Financial Newspaper

Nicolas De Santis, CEO of Corporate Vision®, was featured in Spain’s leading national economic newspaper, Expansion.

In the article, Nicolas De Santis explains Corporate Vision’s expansion strategy in international markets with a focus on Latin America where the firm already has several large clients. De Santis also discusses the damage that Brexit is causing to the UK in political and economic terms. Roberto Casado, Expansion’s UK correspondent also covers Corporate Vision’s extensive expertise in advising multinational firms on strategic vision, global branding, business model innovation and cultural change, working with clients such as Iberdrola, Coca Cola, Scottish Power and Ferrovial. As part of its consulting services, Corporate Vision’s own tech incubator & accelerator based out of London serves start-ups and its own clients in developing business model innovation in key sectors such as travel, media & entertainment, food industry, financial services, industrial goods and infrastructure.

For the full article:



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Maria MateosOur strategy unit Corporate Vision® featured in Expansion, Spain’s leading Financial Newspaper
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European Citizenship Campaign supported by BRAND EU passed by the House of Commons

The campaign supported by our centre BRAND EU, calling for all UK nationals to retain their EU citizenship after Brexit was passed by the House of Commons, with no members opposing the motion. The campaign was organised by Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) and supported by BRAND EU, the SNP, the Green Party, leading lawyers and other pro-EU groups.

Whilst this wasn’t a binding vote, so there is no obligation for the UK Government to ensure our citizenship is retained, this does mean that they must respond with a statement in the House within the next 12 weeks.

In his speech, Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru Member of Parliament for Arfon), explicitly mentioned BRAND EU, putting our organisation on the official House of Commons record. You can read his speech, and the rest of the debate here, or watch it here (forward to 14:15).
The campaign reached over 4,700 signatures on the petition, and had Guy Verhofstadt (the European Parliament’s representative in the Brexit negotiations) supporting it and using the #IamEuropean hashtag!
Petition page here:

As part of this campaign, BRAND EU also co-signed a letter to PM, Theresa May, asking her to commit to include in the negotiating objectives with the EU a right for UK citizens to retain their European Citizenship following any UK exit from the European Union.

BRAND EU will continue working with Plaid Cymru, the SNP and other pro EU organisations to bring some sense to this chaotic Brexit debate.

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Maria MateosEuropean Citizenship Campaign supported by BRAND EU passed by the House of Commons
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Nicolas De Santis founder of BRAND EU on CNBC news: “The EU needs to clarify its vision and brand to its citizens”

Nicolas De Santis, President of Gold Mercury International and founder of BRAND EU, talked to CNBC about Brexit and the weak brand of the European Union.

Nicolas De Santis, founder of the BRAND EU Centre (, talked to CNBC about Brexit and the weak brand of the European Union. He told CNBC in London that Brexit, as a word, does not mean anything anymore as leaving the EU covers a very long timeframe, thousands of areas, immense legal issues and key citizen rights issues. His view is that many of the areas involved in Brexit can never be fully resolved in a globalised, interdependent world. “I think that a full Brexit will never happen” and soon we will see its terrible effects on the UK economy. Whatever happens now, will not be a full Brexit but arrangements and patches that will never be as good as being a full member of the EU. This, basically means that unless Brexit is stopped, the UK government will spend the next decade focused on carrying on the result of the EU referendum, instead of focusing on resolving more pressing national and global issues or building the future. The UK Government has become a slave to itself”, he said.

De Santis also believes that the only way out of this situation is to have a new EU referendum. “I believe that as time progresses people will realise that leaving the EU is a utopia reserved for people that still believe that sovereignty in Europe (or elsewhere) is better protected by protectionism rather than full collaboration, cooperation and the sharing of sovereignty. We also have to remember that politicians in UK also lied to people during the EU referendum carrying out a ‘character assassination of the EU’ and its true role in bringing peace and prosperity to Europe and the world”. De Santis explained that the EU did not defend itself properly during the EU referendum and that its weak brand continues to be disconnected from the EU citizens it represents. “Until the EU has a clear ‘strategic’ vision and a ‘friendly’ brand that connects with its citizens, the EU will always remain a project of the ‘elites’ and an easy target for national politicians to attack”, De Santis said.

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Maria MateosNicolas De Santis founder of BRAND EU on CNBC news: “The EU needs to clarify its vision and brand to its citizens”
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Shaking the Skies

A book about the transformation of the airline industry

Shaking the Skies is one of those rare books that changes the way you think about an industry. The book explains the most critical decade in aviation post 9-11, taking the reader through the most dramatic moments from the man who handled $2.5 trillion, made aviation safer and greener, and introduced with e-ticketing a new way of flying.

About the Author: Giovanni Bisignani

Giovanni Bisignani was formerly the Director General and CEO of The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a post he held until July 2011. During his time with IATA, Bisignani played a key role in reshaping the aviation industry and its governance. Whilst leading IATA, he set about modernising the industry and steered airlines through crippling global crises.

In 2004 Bisignani introduced ‘The Simplifying the Business Initiative’, which modernised the industry by improving customer convenience and reducing costs. He enhanced the travel experience for passengers by eliminating 400 million paper tickets from the travel process, whilst introducing self-service kiosks at airports and making online check-in possible. He also championed a new risk-based security concept which focused on scrutinising people rather than just objects. At his last IATA AGM in 2011, Bisignani presented the ‘Checkpoint of the Future’, a concept which has now been accepted by the United States, the European Union and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

The ‘Checkpoint of the Future’ will be introduced in phases beginning in 2014. He also publicised the work of IATA, using advocacy and lobbying in order to ensure that governments focused on long-term issues for aviation. His particular interest in the environment, led him to drive the industry to achieve carbon neutral growth by 2020 and to cut aviation’s carbon emissions in half by 2050. Previously he has served as CEO of SM Logistics and Alitalia Airlines, Chairman of The Association of European Airlines and launched the European travel portal Opodo, serving as the company’s CEO. Currently Bisignani serves on the Board of Directors of: Safran in France; AirCastle in the United States and NATS in the United Kingdom. Additionally, Bisignani is also a visiting professor at the School of Engineering at Cranfield University

In his early professional years Bisignani worked for ENI and Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale – IRI. Bisignani graduated from the Sapienza University of Rome and later completed his studies at the Harvard Business School.

Related Videos

Explore a high point in Giovanni’s career. View the interview with BBC journalist AaronHeslehurst at the 2011IATA AGM conference.

Richard Quest of CNN Interviews Giovanni Bisignani

NTU Presents ‘Shaking the Skies’ by Giovanni Bisignani
Nanyang Business School Presents ‘Shaking the Skies’ by Giovanni Bisignani and Co-Published by Gold Mercury International

Book Reviews by leading global industry and aviation CEOs

Congratulations on a great record. Too often these organizations don’t change the shape of the industry. Fortunately, they had you, and in this case, you did”.

 Jack Welch, Former Chairman & CEO of GE

Congratulations on a great record. Too often these organizations don’t change the shape of the industry. Fortunately, they had you, and in this case, you did”.

Alan Mulally, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company

“For a period of years, I had regarded reading IATA’s Annual Report as a possible antidote for sleeplessness. Then, things changed-it kept me awake! This transformation was caused by the selection of the hyperactive, visionary and thoroughly delightful Giovanni Bisignani as IATA’s Director General. Shaking the Skies is not only a leadership primer on how to revivify a perhaps somewhat somnolent trade association into a global changed leader but also a truly enjoyable and often amusing ‘peek behind the scenes’ at global aviation, national leaders of consequence and international negotiations. Giovanni truly set off a ‘bomb in the church’ while chanting his war cry of ‘basta’”!

Herb Kelleher, Co-founder and former Chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines

“Thank you, Giovanni, for an exciting non-stop-flight through the recent history of aviation and for sharing your vision, your thoughts and your extraordinary experience with us. Your book is a must have and a must read for airliners and aviation enthusiasts!”

Dr. Christoph Franz, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Lufthansa Group

“Giovanni takes us backstage in the airline industry in an entertaining book that details the many changes in aviation during a turbulent 10 years. It is a story for those who want not only to transform complex organizations but also understand how to implement the changes. It is not to be missed.”

Enrique Cueto, CEO LATAM Airlines Group

“Shaking the Skies provides a compelling account of the enormous drive and energy that turned an insignificant airline association into the globally recognised leader of change that IATA is today. Under Mr Bisignani’s leadership, the industry has achieved an unprecedented unity of purpose in dealing with the many issues that challenge its successful operation. Shaking the Skies shares his critical insights into the day-to-day business of airlines and many years of experience which enrich this turnaround story, but above all the reason why everyone still loves to fly.”

James Hogan, President & CEO of Etihad Airways

“Through his vision and drive Giovanni Bisignani transformed IATA from just another international organisation into a force respected by governments around the world. Essential reading on aviation and modern leadership.”

Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

Book launch event London, UK

London, Monday 20th May, 5pm start
Royal Aeronautical Society
4 Hamilton Place, London, W1J 7BQ


17.00 – 17.30
Arrival & Registration

17.30 – 17.40
Introduction: Simon Luxmoore- CEO of The Royal Aeronautical Society.

17.40 – 17.50
Opening Remarks: Nicolas De Santis- President of Gold Mercury International & Co-Publisher of ‘Shaking the Skies’.

17.50 – 18.00
Book Launch: Robert A. Milton- Chairman, President & CEO of ACE Aviation Holdings & former Chairman, President and CEO of Air Canada presents Giovanni Bisignani’s book.

18.00 – 18.30
Book Discussion: ‘Shaking the Skies’. Giovanni Bisignani, Former CEO of IATA discusses his book ‘Shaking the Skies’ with Kevin Done, former Aerospace Correspondent at The Financial Times.

18.30 – 19.00
Q & A from the Audience: Moderator- Max Kingsley-Jones, Editor Airline Business.

19.00 – 20.00
Drinks Reception & Networking

Event Speakers

Giovanni Bisignani

Former Director General and CEO of IATA

Robert A. Milton

President & CEO ACE Aviation Holdings | Former Chairman, President & CEO Air Canada

Simon Luxmoore

CEO of The Royal Aeronautical SocietyI am text block. Click edit button to change this text.

Nicolas De Santis

President and Secretary General of Gold Mercury International

Max Kingsley-Jones

Editor of Airline Business

Book events in key global cities

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, 23rd May 2014
Queens, United States

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 28th March 2014
Daytona Beach, United States

Beta Gamma Sigma, New York, 27th March 2014
New York, United States

Wings Club AGM, New York, 26th March 2014
New York, United States

Cranfield University, United Kingdom, 18th February 2014
Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

London, United Kingdom, 9th December 2013
Intercontinental City Hotel, Park Lane

Buenos Aires, Argentina, 20th November 2013
Café Tortoni

Santiago, Chile – 18th November 2013
Universidad Adolfo Ibañez

Singapore – 18th October 2013
Shangri-La Hotel, Nanyang Business School

Cape Town, South Africa – 4th June 2013
IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM)

London, United Kingdom -20th May 2013
Royal Aeronautical Society

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Maria MateosShaking the Skies
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GOLD MERCURY joins UK Pro-EU campaign groups asking Theresa May for formal Brexit plan

Gold Mercury International has joined forces, via our initiative BRAND EU, with the main PRO-EU Organisations in the UK, launching a petition requesting the UK Government for a clear plan before initiating Brexit. With millions of peoples’ lives and businesses on hold, the government needs to give a detailed strategy for its negotiations and answer some crucial questions on what Britain’s future holds. The Government has finally agreed to publish its Brexit plan. But two more things are vital. First, the plan must be sufficiently detailed to answer the key concerns people have flagged about Brexit. Second, Parliament and the people must have sufficient time to debate the plan rather than being bounced into approving it at the last minute. The petition requests the government to answer 10 simple questions about leaving the EU.

Our 10 Questions:
+ Will we stay in the single market?
+ Will we continue to pay into the EU budget and follow its rules?
+ Will we stay in customs union?
+ How will EU migration be controlled?
+ When can the first new Free Trade Agreements be expected?
+ Will there be a transitional period after we quit the EU?
+ Will Scotland be given a reason to avoid leaving the UK?
+ Will there be controls at the Irish border?
+ How do we ensure we can fight cross-border problems such as terrorism, crime and global warming?
+ How do we guarantee the NHS, universities, farmers and industry get the talent they need?

For more information:

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Maria MateosGOLD MERCURY joins UK Pro-EU campaign groups asking Theresa May for formal Brexit plan
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Gold Mercury President featured in The Herald Scotland about Brexit and Scottish Independence

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.

Link to actual article

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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Maria MateosGold Mercury President featured in The Herald Scotland about Brexit and Scottish Independence
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