Minister Mike Russell confirms #ScotlandInEurope strategy for Article 50 talks
PLANS to keep Scotland within the European family of nations will be published before the end of 2016, the Scottish Government has confirmed.
Government minister for Scotland’s place in Europe, Mike Russell MSP, shared the publication deadline with the Scottish Parliament today [Wednesday 26 October].
The plan will be the foundation for the Scottish Government’s negotiating position with UK counterparts, and highlight its priorities during talks with the EU27 states and European Union institutions.
Russell, addressing MSPs, said: “There has to be a Scottish plan, and ideally there should be one that is good for the UK too. Along side our efforts to influence the UK to adopt a soft Brexit with continued membership of the single market, the Scottish Government will bring forward our own detailed proposals to protect Scotland’s interests by the end of this year.”
Russell added: “We’re already counting down to the publication date”, in reference to the range of research and work already underway among government civil servants, in conjunction with business and civic society groups.
The plan is expected to fulfil the description given in Nicola Sturgeon’s address to SNP party conference, when she said the government would bring forward a series proposals for Scotland’s relationship with the EU.
This will include membership of the single market (even if the rest of the UK leaves), controls over immigration and trade deals, as well as the devolution of fishing, farming and further powers to the Scottish parliament level.
This means that full negotiating plans will be published in under two months, well ahead of the planned end of March deadline announced by Theresa May for triggered the Article 50 process on EU exit.
Russell’s address was incandescent over the lack of clarity from the Tory Government on its own Brexit plans.
“We know no more about the UK government’s approach now than when we went into Downing Street,” Russell said, referring to the first full meeting between devolved nations and the Tory government.
He echoed the review of the meeting given by Sturgeon that discussions had been “hugely frustrating”.
Picture courtesy of Scottish Parliament TV
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