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Scotland must have a role in EU talks

Published: 12 Oct 2015 00:01
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Call to ensure Scottish interests are protected in renegotiations.

Scotland must be given a formal voice in the EU renegotiation process, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.

Speaking ahead of the quarterly Joint Ministerial Committee on Europe, at which she will represent the Scottish Government in London today (Monday), Ms Hyslop said Scotland must have direct input into the renegotiation of the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union.

The External Affairs Secretary also urged the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision not to opt into the EU scheme through which 120,000 refugees who have already arrived in Europe will be relocated to other member states.

Ms Hyslop said:

"The Scottish Government firmly believes in the European Union and what it stands for. We have repeatedly made clear the many positive benefits EU membership brings to our businesses, our communities and our standing in the world and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure the UK and Scotland remain within that important union.

"Through its EU referendum, and its renegotiation of our terms of EU membership, the UK Government is putting Scotland's future at risk. That is why we must have a full and formal voice in the renegotiation process to ensure Scotland's interests are properly considered and represented.

"In June this year the First Minister called for a formal forum to be set up. This would give Scotland and the other devolved administrations a direct input to the negotiations, but the UK Government has so far failed to meet our call.

"With next week's European Council looming I am seeking urgent reassurance that Scotland will be given a clear role in the renegotiation process so we can be confident our interests will be considered and our vital interests protected."

On the UK's response to the ongoing refugee crisis, Ms Hyslop added:

"We welcome the UK Government's decision to take 20,000 refugees from camps neighbouring Syria over the next five years, but this is simply not enough. The UK must go much further to address this major humanitarian crisis and support those who have already arrived in the EU and are caught up in this crisis. We have a moral obligation to do so."