Date lodged: 4 September 2018
To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the progress of Brexit negotiations and the impact on Scotland.
Answered by: Michael Russell 12 September 2018
Despite the overwhelming vote in Scotland to remain in the EU, in less than seven months’ time the UK Government intends to take the UK out of the EU.
Negotiations between the UK Government and the EU on the terms of withdrawal are still ongoing, with some critical issues outstanding – not least, an acceptable backstop on the Northern Ireland border with the Republic of Ireland and the crucial issue for Scotland’s food and drink producers of maintaining existing protection for our Geographical Indications. Furthermore, discussions on the shape of a political declaration about a framework for the future relationship appear to have made limited progress. The EU has been clear that the Chequers proposals on goods and customs are unacceptable. There is now a risk of exiting in March 2019 with, at best, no more than a commitment to further negotiations – in other words a blind Brexit. It is not acceptable that the people of Scotland, who did not vote for this outcome, should have Brexit imposed upon them with no certainty as to the future relationship.
The Scottish Government has continued to put forward our own realistic and workable solutions for the future relationship with the EU whilst also demonstrating the impact that Brexit will have on Scotland. Our publication Scotland’s Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment highlights that short of continued EU membership, retaining membership of the Single Market and Customs Union is the least harmful option for Scotland and the rest of the UK. That is why we will continue to make the case for this outcome which is both achievable and the least damaging.