Kirsty Hughes

Kirsty Hughes, Ph.D, FRSE is a political scientist, founder and Director of Scottish Centre on European Relations,[1] and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE).

Kirsty Hughes

EmployerScottish Centre on European Relations University of Edinburgh
Known foracademic, specialist in the policy and relationship between UK, Scotland and Europe

Research interests and funding issue

Hughes is a Scottish academic and writer, specialising in the relationship between the UK and Scotland, in particular, with Europe. She is regularly consulted as an authority in think tanks, by international governments, non-governmental organisations[1] and media,[2] and was made a Fellow of RSE in 2021.[3]

Hughes is based at the University of Edinburgh, and is a Senior Fellow in Friends of Europe, Brussels and at the Centre for European Policy Studies and the UK Policy Studies Institute, as well as a Research Fellow at WZB Berlin Social Science Centre and is the Director of the European Programme at the UK's Chatham House.[4] She is also Director of the Centre for Constitutional Change, a collaboration between Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities, looking at constitutional changes within the territories of the UK,[5][6] and difference in policies on the coronavirus pandemic.[7]

She has researched and written upon the relationships between the UK, Scotland and the EU [8] and regarding Brexit[9][10][11] and on issues relating to democracy in Europe,[12] and on the impact of the Eurozone crisis and the enlargement of the EU to Eastern and Central European members,[13] and regarding Turkey's application to the Union.[4]

During the run up to the 2021 Scottish Parliament Election, Hughes has been invited to comment on Scottish policy in relation to future application to the European Economic Area or the EU,[14] should it gain independence from the UK.[15][16][17]

She commented that a misunderstanding of the Ireland-UK common travel area was shown in a statement regarding a future 'hard' border between a potential independent Scotland within the EU and an England outside it, characterised as a 'great wall of Gretna' by Home Office Minister Kevin Foster, MP and called this 'simply scaremongering' and 'hypocrisy'.[18]

On 14 July 2021, Hughes announced that research funding was inadequate to continue operating the independent research centre; a decision considered regrettable and untimely by a spokesperson for the European Movement in Scotland, and by Professor Fergal Cochrane of the Conflict Analysis Research Centre at the University of Kent and others.[19] The former head of the European Commission in Scotland, Graham Blythe, be also remarked that the timing was a concern as 'Scottish/European relations are perhaps even more in focus than before.' [20]

Selected publications

  • Hughes, K. S. (Ed.). (1993). European competitiveness. Cambridge University Press.[21]
  • Estrin, S., Hughes, K., & Todd, S. (1997). Foreign direct investment in Central and Eastern Europe: Multinationals in transition. Royal Institute of International Affairs.[22]
  • Grabbe, H., & Hughes, K. (1998). Enlarging the EU Eastward. A&C Black.[13]
  • Grabbe, H., & Hughes, K. (1999). Central and east European views on EU enlargement: political debates and public opinion. Back to Europe: Central and Eastern Europe and the European Union, 185-202.
  • Hughes, K. (2003). A Dynamic and Democratic EU or Muddling through Again? Assessing the EU’s Draft Constitution. EPIN Working Paper No. 8, July 2003.[12]
  • Hughes, K. (2004). Turkey and the European Union: Just another enlargement. Exploring the Implications of Turkish Accession http://www. cdu. de/en/doc/Friends_of_Europe_Turkey. pdf.
  • Hughes, K. (2020). European Union Views of the UK post-Brexit and of the Future EU-UK Relationship. Scottish Centre on European Relations.[23]
  • Heinikoski, S. (2020). Lessons from the EFTA Enlargement: How Would the EU Accession Process Look Today?. In An Independent Scotland in the EU: Issues for Accession (pp. 50–53). Scottish Centre on European Relations.[24]
  • Keating, M. (Ed.). (2020) The Oxford Handbook of Scottish Politics. Oxford University Press, Chapter 33 p. 618 [25]


  1. "Policy Analysis". Scottish Centre on European Relations. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  2. "Press Releases". Scottish Centre on European Relations. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
  3. "The RSE announces 2021 Fellows". The Royal Society of Edinburgh. 2021-03-30. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  4. "Team". Scottish Centre on European Relations. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  5. "Kirsty Hughes". Centre on Constitutional Change. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  6. "Scotland's future lies in the EU and this is how we can stay European". The National. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  7. "L'Écosse pense à la suite" [Scotland thinks ahead]. (in French). 13 May 2020. Retrieved 1 May 2021.
  8. Hughes, Kirsty (January 2016). "Scotland and Brexit - Shockwaves will spread across EU" (PDF). Friends of Europe. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  9. "The European Parliament, Brexit and Scotland: where do we stand?, Edinburgh - 26 October 2018". Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  10. "EU 'open to indy Scotland' but 'reluctant to let UK back in'". STV News. 2020-07-07. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  11. "Dec 14, 2020, Online-Seminar: EU views of the UK and Scotland Post-Brexit". Foundation Office United Kingdom and Ireland. 2020-12-13. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  12. O'Neill, Michael, November 23- (2006). EU constitution. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-18337-1. OCLC 1100440908.
  13. Grabbe, Heather (1998). Enlarging the EU eastwards. Kirsty Hughes. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs. ISBN 1-85567-525-0. OCLC 39116587.
  14. Editor, Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political. "Independent Scotland 'faces four-year fight to rejoin EU'". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2021-05-01.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  15. "Analysis: Should an independent Scotland join the EEA instead of the European Union?". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  16. Hughes, Dr Kirsty (2021-02-26). "The UK's European and Constitutional Challenges Collide". The Federal Trust. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  17. "Would Scotland have to go to the back of the queue to join the EU?". The National. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  18. Cochrane, Angus (15 July 2021). "Expert rubbishes Tory minister's 'great wall of Gretna' claim". The National. pp. 6–7.
  19. Nutt, Kathleen (15 July 2021). "Shock as Scotland's leading think tank on Europe to close". The National.
  20. Nutt, Kathleen (16 July 2021). "EU official hits out at closure of think tank". The National. p. 6.
  21. European competitiveness. Kirsty Hughes, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1993. ISBN 0-521-43443-2. OCLC 26014600.CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. Estrin, Saul; Hughes, Kirsty; Todd, Sarah (1997). Foreign direct investment in central and eastern Europe: multinationals in transition. London, UK: Royal Institute of International Affairs. ISBN 978-1-85567-481-3.
  23. "European Union Views of the UK post-Brexit and of the Future EU-UK Relationship". Scottish Centre on European Relations. 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  24. "Lessons from the EFTA Enlargement: How Would the EU Accession Process Look Today?". Scottish Centre on European Relations. 2020-03-17. Retrieved 2021-04-30.
  25. The Oxford handbook of Scottish politics. Michael Keating (1 ed.). Oxford, United Kingdom. 2020. ISBN 978-0-19-186377-6. OCLC 1195716917.CS1 maint: others (link)