Officials in Angela Merkel’s administration in Berlin have hinted about the ease of Scotland’s potential reaccession into the EU, stressing they are also keen to develop further relations with Edinburgh. Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader has already had informal discussions with EU diplomats as the Scottish Government become increasingly frustrated over Boris Johnson’s handling of negotiations.
Edinburgh officials have also talked with Brussels regarding agriculture and fisheries over fears a no deal could damage the Scottish economy.
The German official close to a senior CDU politician in the Federal Foreign Department told this website that they [Berlin] were very keen as building diplomatic links with Scottish Government.
The official said: “Ties between Scotland and Germany are extremely valuable.
“We want to continue talking to Edinburgh and we hope to further develop their relationship going forward into the future.”
They hinted relations between Berlin and Edinburgh were “warm” stressing fisheries were “an important industry” to Scotland.
Figures show Germany was Scotland’s 4th largest export market in 2017, responsible for 7.2 percent of all international exports worth £2.3 billion, up from £1.91 billion in 2016.
Talks on a free trade agreement between the UK and EU have been continuing this week in London and are due to “pause” over the weekend before resuming next week in Brussels.
London and the EU are trying to hammer out a post-Brexit trade deal after the current transition period finishes on December 31st.
Ms Macdonald added that tying the two issues together must be “strongly resisted”.
She said: “The international norm for fisheries agreement is that they are standalone agreements about access to the other parties’ waters and fishing opportunities.”
Asked about the UK and Scottish Governments’ preparations, Scottish Seafood Association chief executive Jimmy Buchan said both Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon’s administrations “have done a tremendous amount of work” but the country is “simply not ready or prepared enough” for the Brexit deadline.
He said: “I think the sheer scale of the project, the scope and work in advance of the significant change industry is going to have to embrace is probably bigger and wider than most people could envision.”
Mr Buchan added the “extremely challenging” prospect of extra paperwork and the cost of dealing with additional regulations could put smaller companies out of business and make small consignments of products “non-viable, and then that market may be lost”.
Ian Blackford MP, SNP Westminster Leader, added of the Brexit talks: “It tells you everything you need to know about this arrogant, incompetent and self-serving Tory Government that they are ditching their responsibilities – at the exact moment their reckless decisions are causing the maximum damage to people across the UK.”
But a Whitehall source close to the negotiations said: “The UK is the main negotiating partner here, we are very clear on that.
“Instead of exploring relations with the devolved governments, the Germans should be working with Brussels to help secure a deal and not go behind their backs.”