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External Affairs Secretary: “UK plans fall short and harm economy."
Commenting on the publication of the UK Government's White Paper on the future relationship between the UK and the European Union, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:
"This paper, published more than two years after the Brexit referendum and only a few months from the end of the negotiating period, offers little reassurance for those worried about the impact that leaving the EU will have on our economy. Quite simply, these plans fall short and will harm our economy.
"As with the Chequers agreement, there is some evidence that the UK Government now realises the damage of leaving the EU, as well as the benefits that being in the EU, the Single Market and Custom Union has brought to the whole of the UK. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go before those risks are mitigated.
"The Scottish Government has been consistently clear that the best way to protect Scotland's interests and foster future growth - short of full EU membership which the people of Scotland voted for - is continued membership of the European Single Market and Customs Union.
"While the paper provides an indication that the UK wants to participate in pan-EU programmes in areas such as science and research, there continue to be too many unknowns on issues such as whether the UK's proposals can deliver continued use of the European Arrest Warrant and what they mean for the future migration of people. The UK Government has fallen short on employment rights and environmental protections and, instead of committing to matching EU standards, they are only promising not to fall behind the current position.
"There is still an opportunity in these final few months of negotiations to encourage the UK to adopt the only sensible position of remaining within the Single Market and the Custom Union and to put a stop to some of the damage that Brexit will do. The Scottish Government will continue to make that case and to argue for much greater engagement with the UK Government to ensure Scotland's interests are protected."