FM: urgent discussion needed on EU negotiation objectives.
Ahead of the UK Government Cabinet Sub-Committee on EU Exit Negotiations the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has written to the Prime Minister Theresa May to say the Scottish Government and other Devolved Administrations must be able to influence the UK’s negotiating objectives.
Full text below.
6 February 2018
In light of the expected meeting this week of the UK Government Cabinet Sub-Committee on EU Exit Negotiations, I am writing to underscore the position of the Scottish Government that, short of EU membership, it is in the best interests of both Scotland and the whole of the UK to remain in the European Single Market and Customs Union.
Last month the Scottish Government produced “Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment” which presented our latest analysis of the damage that will be caused to Scotland’s economy if the UK exits the European Single Market and Customs Union. We understand from media reporting, that the conclusions reached in the UK Government’s analysis broadly reflect the Scottish Government’s findings.
I was therefore concerned to read further reports this week that the UK Government has apparently ruled out any form of Customs Union with the EU.
The people of Scotland voted decisively to remain within the European Union, and it is the role of the Scottish Government to make sure that their interests are protected. It cannot be right that decisions on the future relationship with the EU are being taken without due regard for consultation across the four Governments of the UK in direct contradiction to the terms of reference of the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations). Those terms of reference were to ensure a space for reaching agreement on a UK approach to, and objectives for, Article 50 negotiations; and provide oversight of negotiations with the EU, to ensure, as far as possible, that outcomes agreed by all four governments are secured from these negotiations.
To date the discussions in JMC (EN) have fallen far short of that ambition and of your own commitment when we met in July 2016 to ‘full involvement’. I expect that following the meeting of your Cabinet Sub-Committee there will remain full scope for the Scottish Government, and other devolved administrations, to influence the shape of the UK approach and objectives for negotiations.
In light of the timetable ahead of the European Council on 22 March 2018, there must be urgent and meaningful discussion between us to try to agree a UK position and therefore enable our European partners to respond.