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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has set out the Scottish Government’s position on the agreement of a proposal to settle the first phase of the negotiations between the UK and the EU on the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The First Minister said:
“While the Scottish Government remains clear that we wish Brexit was not happening and that the UK as a whole was not leaving the European Union, today’s proposed agreement is a welcome step forward in the negotiations.
“The next phase will be significantly tougher and it is essential all the UK’s Governments are now fully involved in the negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU – something that has not happened to this point.
“We fully support the protection of the Good Friday Agreement in all its parts and the UK Government’s guarantee that there will be no hard border on the island of Ireland.
“We will be seeking clarity on how the UK Government intends to deliver full alignment with the rules of the Single Market and Customs Union.
“And there is no doubt that the provisions relating to Northern Ireland raise major new questions over proposed UK-wide frameworks that are the subject of on going talks between the UK and Scottish Governments
“And I am absolutely clear that any special arrangements for Northern Ireland must now be available to other nations of the UK – the Scottish Government will not accept any arrangements which risk putting Scotland at an economic disadvantage.
“Short of continuing EU membership, the best outcome for jobs and living standards is to retain membership of the Single Market and Customs Union – both in transition and permanently. We will continue to argue that case, including at the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee in London next week.
“We will be studying the details of the phase one agreement but we welcome the fact that finally there has been some movement to guarantee the rights of EU and UK citizens – although it is disgraceful that it has taken this long and there is still more to do in phase two.
“In addition it seems the UK could also now be paying around £50 billion just for the right to negotiate an inferior trade deal than the one we have now.”