Holyrood’s European Committee has called for a bespoke solution on Brexit that reflects Scotland’s majority vote to remain in the single market to be explored with the ‘EU 27’ in negotiations before and after the UK Government triggers Article 50.
The Committee’s report ‘Determining Scotland’s future relationship with the European Union’ refers to a variety of alternative arrangements for territories that are part of current Member States and says a bespoke solution could be found within the EU to accommodate Scotland.
Joan McAlpine MSP, Convener of the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee, said:
“We are calling for a bespoke solution that reflects Scotland’s majority vote to remain in the single market. We’ve found there to be understanding within the EU of Scotland’s position on Brexit and we believe a bespoke solution can be included in the UK’s Article 50 settlement.
“Our committee has always argued that retaining access to the single market would be the best outcome for Scotland. However with the UK Government having ruled membership of the single market out for the UK, we have had no choice but to look at other options. Our evidence suggests that membership of the European Economic Area (EEA), for example, would be one route that could provide an easier transition out of the single market than a ‘hard Brexit’, which would have significant consequences for the Scottish economy.”
The report covers international trade, the structures of intergovernmental decision-making in the UK and the potential impact on devolution of the repatriation of powers from the EU. It calls for the UK Government to respond to the Scottish Government’s ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’ paper before Article 50 is triggered and for a means to be found for the Scottish Government to be involved in discussions on future trade deals.
On the repatriation of powers, Lewis Macdonald MSP, Deputy Convener of the Committee, said:
“It’s vital that we get clarity on EU powers that are to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. We are clear in our report that any EU powers in devolved areas such as agriculture, fisheries, the environment and justice and home affairs must be repatriated to the Scottish Parliament. There also needs to be an appropriate funding mechanism for these powers to ensure that the Scottish budget and Scottish interests do not lose out.”
The Committee’s previous report (published 6 February) called for “a bespoke – or differentiated – solution for immigration policy in Scotland” after Brexit.
The Prime Minister is expected to trigger Article 50 by the end of March.
Jackson Carlaw MSP and Rachel Hamilton MSP dissented from a number of points in the report’s conclusions. These are footnoted in the report.