The UK's former longest-serving MEP has warned that failure to reach an agreement in EU trade talks will cause irreparable damage to the Scottish economy, education, and fishing industry.

He added that more should be done to prepare businesses for the departure from the EU and that more control of certain aspects would come at a price for the country. 

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David Martin told The Scotsman, “Covid has resulted in massive damage to the Scottish economy. The impact of this global pandemic could not have been foreseen, while the impact of a no-deal Brexit is predictable.

“It takes a special kind of arrogance or incompetence to put the UK’s business community in a situation where 40-odd days from a momentous change in their relationship with their most important trading partners, they have not a clue what to expect.

“Irreparable damage will be done to the Scottish economy unless they suddenly wake up and smell the coffee.”

The former vice-president of the EU Parliament added: “No deal would mean this full panoply of checks and formalities applying immediately at significant cost.

“No deal would also mean tariffs and possibly even quotas for some goods.”

Martin, who is now co-convenor of the Citizens' Assembly of Scotland said that Scotland could have more control of its waters following Brexit but at a price.  

He explained: “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out that we can expect significant disruption for Scottish produce entering the EU market.

“Ironically, our largest fish export to the continent is salmon and salmon producers have nothing to gain from ‘taking back control’ and everything to lose from market disruption.”

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He told The Scotsman: “Scotland’s participation in European research will be severely damaged.

“Student exchanges like the ERASMUS programme will end, police and security services access to Europol data will be disrupted and Scottish organisations will find it more difficult to attract the European citizens who have done so much to enhance our way of life.”