Brexit: Lord Frost speaks of 'disappointment' with EU
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In a letter to the Scottish and Welsh Government, he said Cardiff and Edinburgh should keep the UK involved in all contact the devolved Governments have with EU institutions. Lord Frost said they should keep the “UK Government informed” about the “content” of all meetings senior officials and ministers have with the European Commission and other EU institutions.
He said this was because the UK needed to conduct its “international affairs” effectively with Brussels and made clear he didn’t want secret back door contact.
SNP-led Scottish Government ministers have previously written to the European Commission and had regular talks with officials in Brussels amid crunch trade talks between Lord Frost and Michel Barnier.
But Lord Frost said in the letter he expected the devolved administrations to “support” the UK Government’s position on contact with the European Commission and other EU bodies.
He continued in the letter: “Now that our Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU has been fully ratified, I would like to set out how the Government intends to work with you to ensure its effective implementation.
“I am very much intending to do this on a constructive and mutually beneficial basis.”
The letter was also sent to the Chief Ministers of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man alongside the Northern Ireland Executive.
Lord Frost also invited Scotland’s External Affairs Minister Angus Robertson and Wales Constitution Minister Mick Antoniw for a summit next month.
Mr Frost said his officials would be getting in touch with Scottish and Welsh officials ahead of the first joint Partnership Council meeting with the EU in early June.
The Partnership Council will implement and oversee the free trade agreement and has not met until now.
Lord Frost said he would like to meet to “discuss the UK’s approach” ahead of the meeting.
But the Cabinet Office Minister concluded by saying he was in “overall control” of the UK’s “relationship with the EU.”
Donald Cameron MSP, Scottish Conservative Constitution and External Affairs spokesman, said: “During the UK Government’s negotiations with the European Union, the SNP Government attempted to undermine the discussions in relation to various issues, despite the fact that the UK Government was clearly leading the negotiations on behalf of the four home nations.
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“That remains the case as we continue our trading relationship outside the European Union.
“The best chance of securing positive arrangements will come with a commitment from the SNP that they will work closely with the UK Government going forward in relation to any discussions with the European Union.”
Michael Russell, who retired as Constitution and External Affairs Secretary in April had regular meetings with EU counterparts and with ambassadors of member state countries.
Mr Russell claimed the Scottish Government “deeply regrets the fact and manner of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.”
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland recently pleaded with eurocrats claiming Scotland was being dragged out of the EU against its will.
Ms Sturgeon made the plea in a desperate message sent to newspapers across the continent where she said she hoped Scotland could “join you again soon as an equal partner as we face the opportunities and challenges of the future together”.
But, this evening, the Scottish Government said they believed it was “in everyone’s interests for the EU and UK to have as close a relationship as possible.”
A spokesman added: “People in Scotland overwhelmingly supported remaining in the EU.
“The Scottish Government will continue to be a voice in favour of mutually beneficial cooperation and we will of course at all times continue to promote Scotland’s interests.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson added: “We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”
It comes after the Cabinet Office minister revealed in the House of Lords this week none of the 24 bodies set up under the trade deal had so far met, but “most” were expected to have convened before the summer.
Independent crossbencher the Earl of Kinnoull, who chairs the Lords European Affairs Committee, pointed out the trade deal would be six months old in June and said: “To hear the lack of activity is dispiriting.”
He argued the agreement’s governance was important “to getting the parties to iron out the problems”.
Lord Frost said: “I agree it is extremely important all the bodies created under the Trade and Co-operation Agreement should meet and work effectively.”
While he insisted there had been “no lack of activity” between himself and his EU counterpart, he agreed “it will produce stability when these committees are working properly”.
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