Uncategorized Scots ready to pay into EU budget to keep single market access

Scots ready to pay into EU budget to keep single market access

cabinet-secretary-for-culture-europe-and-external-affairs-fiona-hyslop-msp
Fiona Hyslop, Minister for Culture and External Affairs.

The Scottish government believes that contributing to the EU budget might be a price worth paying for keeping Scotland in Europe’s single market if the broader British state leaves as part of its Brexit deal.

Fiona Hyslop, the external affairs minister, told Reuters during a visit to Brussels on Wednesday to meet EU politicians that the devolved administration in Edinburgh had already calculated that remaining in the single market would mean Scotland being a net contributor to the European Union budget.

“We understand that Scotland would be a contributor,” she said when asked if Scotland, whose citizens voted to stay in the EU in June, would be willing to pay dues to the EU for market access, even if the United Kingdom is no longer a member.

“We understand that, but we also recognise the importance of the value of access to the single market,” she added, saying Scotland was exploring many options to retain full access to the EU market if the London government opted to quit.

“This isn’t just about a transaction as to what Scotland can get from or out of the European Union,” Hyslop said. “This is also about what we want to continue to contribute to the European Union,” she said.

She cited Scotland’s natural resources in fishing grounds, oil and gas and renewable energy.

She put no figures on a budget contribution. Britain last year contributed a gross 21 billion euros ($23 billion) to the EU budget but received a special UK rebate worth nearly a third of that — a rebate that other states may be reluctant to give Scotland, which accounts for about 8 percent of the British economy.

“HARD BREXIT”

British Prime Minister Theresa May has set out preliminary demands following the June referendum to quit the EU that Britain will curb immigration from continental Europe and reject oversight by EU courts, prompting other EU leaders to conclude she wants a “hard Brexit” without single market membership.

Non-EU member Norway is in the single market but, as part of its membership obligations, it is a significant contributor to an EU budget largely spent on subsidising European farmers and poorer EU states in the formerly communist east.

Hyslop said the Scottish government, run by the secessionist Scottish National Party which wants Scotland to be an independent state within the EU, was still looking at many options for having a say in how the United Kingdom formed a new relationship with the EU and for keeping Scotland close to the bloc.

“It’s not just about the money and the taxes and the tariffs, it’s also about the ability of networking of people for our creative industries, for our culture, for the universities,” Hyslop said.

Many European governments and the EU executive were cool to the SNP’s bid for independence in a 2014 referendum; other EU states, notably Spain, are battling their own secessionists. But Hyslop said that after meetings in the European Parliament she had found EU politicians willing to help the europhile Scots.

“There is a great deal of sympathy and understanding for Scotland’s position,” she said. “If we need to have creative thinking, we’ll have creative thinking.

“Different options can be agreed…if there is the political will to make them happen and it would be very strange for Europe to turn its back on a part of the European Union that is looking to remain a part of the European Union.”