We are working to ensure that Scotland's voice is heard within the negotiations for the UK to leave the EU, and to ensure our interests in Europe are understood and protected.
Our key priorities during Brexit negotiations are:
- advocating that the UK remain within the European Single Market, which supports 80,000 jobs in Scotland and many more throughout the UK
- in the event of a 'hard Brexit', supporting a differentiated solution which will enable Scotland to remain within the single market while the rest of the UK leaves
- ensuring that powers 'repatriated' from Brussels are returned to Scotland, in line with the current devolution settlement, to safeguard Scotland's interests within the UK
In addition to economic issues, we seek to protect the rights of EU citizens in Scotland and of Scots living elsewhere in the EU. We want Scotland to remain a welcoming and outward-looking country, and recognise that EU citizens play a vital role in supporting our economy and growing our population.
The white paper Scotland's Place in Europe outlines our priorities in full.
Negotiations between the UK and the EU
The negotiations between the UK and the EU concerning the UK's withdrawal from the EU began on 19 June 2017 with an opening day of talks to agree the sequence, format and rhythm of those negotiations.
The first full round of phase one UK-EU negotiations began in the week commencing 17 July, and the final fifth round will begin in the week commencing 9 October.
Once phase one of negotiations has concluded, the UK Government hopes to move into a second phase of negotiation that will include discussion of the future UK-EU partnership, alongside any continued negotiation on phase one issues. Phase two will begin only when the EU27 (the other 27 countries of the EU) is satisfied that sufficient progress has been achieved on phase one issues.
Negotiations between UK administrations
The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations (shortened to the JMC(EN)), initially chaired by David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, was established to provide a means for devolved administrations to be fully engaged in determining the UK's approach to Brexit.
We are frustrated that the JMC(EN) has not met since 8 February 2017 and have repeatedly asked the UK Government to clarify the involvement of the devolved administrations in the UK-EU negotiations.
On 29 March 2017 (the date of the Article 50 notification), David Davis responded to these requests in a letter to Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place In Europe. The letter stressed that the shape of negotiations was unknown, but reiterated a commitment to close engagement.
On 14 June 2017 Michael Russell and Mark Drakeford, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government in the Welsh Government, wrote jointly to David Davis on his reappointment as Secretary of State to set out their views on the next steps, including representation in the negotiations and re-convening the JMC (EN).
We will continue to press the UK Government to agree a means by which it can play a direct and representative role within the UK's negotiation with the EU.