Questions have been raised at a joint meeting between Scottish and UK Government ministers on powers devolving to the Scottish Parliament after the UK exits the EU.
Key issues raised were around:
- Protection of funding that currently benefits the Scottish rural economy, including through the Common Agricultural Policy and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
- Tariff free access to the single market
- Guarantees on the rights of EU nationals to remain and future access to the European workforce
- Guarantees that permanent access to our fishing waters will not be negotiated away
- The future of environmental protection and regulation
Rural Economy Secretary for the Scottish Government Fergus Ewing said:
“European funding and powers are vital to our rural economy and we need urgent and binding guarantees from the UK Government on what will happen after Brexit.”
“Many of our farmers and food producers want to know that they will continue to have access to the single market without tariffs or other barriers and access to much needed EU workers. While our fishermen rightly want to ensure access to our waters isn’t negotiated away.”
On concerns for the Environment, Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
“European legislation and regulation offers vital protection for our environment and I have been pressing the UK Government to ensure this will transfer in full after Brexit, without any dilution of standards either on exit or as a result of subsequent trade deals.”
And on the rights of EU nationals she continued:
“I have also once again highlighted the need of many, including our research institutes, to have clarity on the long term rights of EU nationals to live and work in Scotland and on future access to EU workers – given how vital those from other European nations are to our research community.”
“It is crucial that the UK Government honours its commitment to joint working and to take seriously the right for the Scottish Government to play a full role in decision making and negotiations of these key issues.”
With article 50 to be triggered at the end of March it is still very unclear which powers will be devolved to the Scottish Parliament and which will be retained and perhaps returned to Westminster once the UK exits the EU.