Tuesday

22nd Oct 2019

Scotland wants to retain special terms with the EU

Scotland is aiming to keep in the single market after the UK leaves the EU, its Brexit minister said Monday (21 November).

Michael Russell told an audience at a European Policy Centre event in Brussels that only the "softest" break would work for Scotland, otherwise it should vote on independence again.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The minister said it was "very important that the UK recognises or accepts the need for a differentiated solution" with regards to Scotland.

"Differentiation is vital to protect sovereign interests," he added.

Russell said the notification letter that should trigger the article 50 exit procedure, that British prime minister Theresa May promised to send to the EU by the end of next March, should include commitments to negotiate those special terms for Scotland.

It should also address Northern Ireland's worries about closing down its now open borders with the Republic of Ireland.

But Russell said the more likely scenario was a "hard Brexit", in which London is unlikely to stay in the EU's internal market.

He went on to say the Scottish government would present a paper in December on its options if Brexit does not secure access to the bloc's single market.

"It must contain the right to have a differentiated solution, it must indicate the nature of that differentiated solution, and it must anticipate the attitude of the UK and the EU on that differentiated option," Russell said at the Brussels event.

"Undifferentiated exit is unacceptable," he said, referring to a Brexit in which Scotland would follow the rest of the UK out of the EU single market..

"We didn't ask to be in this position, but we have to respond to it as a rational nation focused on its own interest, that would be damaged by any withdrawal and in particular a hard withdrawal," Russell said.

The pro-independence government of Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has been campaigning around Europe to raise sympathy for the Scots, who voted on 23 June to remain in the bloc.

But the EU has been reluctant to promise any special treatment for Scotland as official exit negotiations have not started with the UK and because of concerns it might embolden secessionists movements in other EU countries.

Transitional deal

UK Brexit minister David Davis was in Brussels on Monday for his first meeting with chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier, who insisted it was only a "courtesy visit" and not a meeting to negotiate.

Davis will be in Strasbourg on Tuesday, where he will meet the European Parliament's Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has hinted at a transitional period after Brexit, telling the Confederation of British Industry, a business lobby group, that "people do not want a cliff edge."

Such a deal could see the UK retain parts of its current relations with the EU after Brexit, while a new trade agreement is agreed.

Asked about a possible transitional agreement, a Downing Street spokesperson told British media: "There are a whole range of issues that are being worked through as we prepare for negotiations, with a focus on how we get the best deal for the UK. There’s a whole range of work going on."

May warns parliament not to block Brexit

After the HIgh Court ruled that Parliament needs to agree to triggering the exit talks, the British PM vowed not to let Brexit to be "sabotaged".

Scotland seeks new independence vote before Brexit

The Scottish first minister said the choice should be made between the fall of 2018 and spring 2019 as to whether Scots want to stay within the UK after a hard Brexit, or break away.

British PM rebukes Scottish single market plans

Theresa May labels Scottish proposals to remain part of Europe's trade area after Brexit as "impractical" and says they rely on assumptions about Scotland that cannot be accepted.

News in Brief

  1. Four businessmen charged in Slovak journalist murder
  2. Erdogan accuses EU of 'standing by terrorists' in Syria
  3. Migrants riot in Maltese camp
  4. Spanish PM refuses dialogue with Catalonia president
  5. Putin: Russia will help Africa without 'conditions'
  6. Almost 200 arrests in Catalonia independence protests
  7. Report: Russian hackers used Iranian cover to attack UK
  8. Next EU economy chief calls for looser budget policies

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  3. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  4. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  5. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  7. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  11. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work

Latest News

  1. Macron breaks Balkans promise in quest for EU dominance
  2. Snap elections in North Macedonia after EU rejection
  3. UK opposition MPs attack new Brexit deal
  4. Deep divisions on display over post-Brexit EU budget
  5. Juncker: 'Historic mistake' against Balkan EU hopefuls
  6. EU leaders spent just 12 minutes on climate
  7. Crunch Brexit vote in UK This WEEK
  8. EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us