Friday, 7 Aug 2020

Scotland seeks to retain membership of powerful ETC after Brexit – to cling to EU revenue

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Holyrood ministers said a consultation found that “unanimous support” for Scotland continuing to be part of the European Territorial Cooperation Programmes despite Westminster’s decision to withdraw following its exit from the bloc. Ivan McKee, the Scottish Government’s minister for trade, investment and innovation, said it was “frustrated and disappointed” at the UK Government’s decision.

Mr McKee said the scheme, which encourages organisations across Europe to work together, said it was an “established way to facilitate meaningful and beneficial international collaboration”.

In the most recent round of funding, covering 2014 to 2020, Scottish partners have participated in 198 separate projects, with 75 organisations having received around £70 million of funding.

The work they have done has involved issues such as dealing with marine plastic waste and providing innovation and support to small and medium enterprises.

Mr McKee said: “This funding programme, which Scotland has been part of for more than 30 years, is an established way to facilitate meaningful and beneficial international collaboration.

“As we look to the future, particularly in light of the huge impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, it is vital that we continue to work together with other nations.

“The results of this consultation show that there is an overwhelming appetite from public-sector organisations in Scotland – including local authorities and business support organisations – for our continued participation in this EU programme.

“In line with the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland, we have expressed our frustration and disappointment with the UK Government for its unwillingness to negotiate for continued participation on our behalf with the EU.”

Ever since Britain voted to unshackle itself from the bloc, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has stepped up her campaign for Scottish independence to rejoin the EU.

The news comes after a veteran SNP MP announced he is to quit the Nationalist party to form a new independence party.

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Dave Thompson announced he is leaving the Nationalist party after 55 years.

Mr Thompson said he will help shape the “Alliance for Independence” party, whose slogan will be “max the Yes”, to win 24 seats at the 2021 Holyrood election.

The SNP hit back saying news of a new party to “split the SNP vote” will be “music to the ears of the Unionists”.

A spokesman said: Talk of splitting the SNP vote will be music to the ears of the Unionists.

 

“Those seeking to game the Holyrood proportional electoral system are putting at risk the SNP’s progress.”

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