As the farming industry struggles to come to terms with what the UK’s future relationship with Europe might look like after the Brexit vote, farming ministers in Europe were yesterday told that Scotland is “open for business” and will continue working with colleagues across the continent in the best interests of farmers.
Speaking at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg, rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing told his counterparts from Germany, France and Ireland, as well as EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan, that he intended to keep channels open as the Scottish Government investigated how it could best serve the interests of a country which had given clear support for remaining within the EU.
He said that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had confirmed she would work to protect Scotland’s place in Europe and that Scotland would continue regular engagement with the EU.
“The European Union provides significant support to Scottish rural communities and is a key market for the food and drink we produce,” Ewing said.
“At Council today, I had the opportunity to stress that we are open for business and working to protect Scotland’s role in the EU. It is vital that other nations understand Scotland’s position and just as vital for our farming and food industry that we work quickly to safeguard the links and relationships that benefit them.”
The cabinet secretary also met UK government representative Lord Gardiner to call for immediate action on fisheries issues.