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23/02/17 18:13

Brexit meeting update

“Urgent answers needed” on powers, farming, fisheries and environment.

Guarantees over future powers and the protection of European funding and market access are needed urgently, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said.

At a meeting between the UK Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom and devolved administrations, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and Minister for UK Negotiations Michael Russell repeatedly pressed for all areas of EU powers within devolved competence to be passed straight to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They also asked for clarity on how the UK Government sees Brexit impacting on key areas including:

  • 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.

Mr 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. Following repeated requests, I have again pressed the Secretary of State for clarity that EU powers will pass straight to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“I have also asked the UK Government to guarantee that Scotland will continue to receive funding at least at current levels provided from Europe.

“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.

“l raised all these matters today and I will continue to call for urgent progress on the answers our rural communities and economy need."

Environment 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.  A healthy natural environment is central to Scotland’s economy, our health, landscape and our way of life and must be given its place in negotiations.

“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.”