An independent Scotland in Europe

From: Scottish Government
Published: Fri Nov 17 2023

Regaining the benefits of EU membership.

Independence is the only realistic route for Scotland to regain the benefits of EU membership, according to a new paper published by External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson.

The seventh paper in the Building a New Scotland series, sets out the benefits for people and businesses that would occur from Scotland having direct representation in the European Union for the first time.

These include:

  • being part of the world's largest single market, with reduced barriers to trade, free flows of data and less bureaucracy
  • open access to a larger labour market with no restrictions on employing EU citizens to work in Scotland, sustaining businesses, universities, communities and public services
  • the EU's network of highly favourable international free trade agreements and EU-level representation on market access issues and food production standards in international negotiations and disputes and the opportunity to influence future EU regulatory requirements and standards
  • a level playing field to access the EU's digital economy, including through Scotland's expertise in games and software development, Artificial Intelligence (AI), data science and connectivity
  • the Erasmus+ exchange programme, giving future students the same opportunities as previous generations to work and study abroad
  • multi-year funding security for Scotland's farming and rural businesses through the Common Agricultural Policy
  • EU law enforcement tools, to help police and prosecutors fight cross-border crime and threats more effectively

The paper also highlights what Scotland could contribute to the EU as a member state with its strengths in renewable energy, research and innovation, and shared values such as respect for human rights and international law.

Mr Robertson said:

“Seven years after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, the paper we are publishing today sets out how we could meaningfully reverse the damage of Brexit and regain and enhance the benefits of EU membership by joining as an independent country.

“This would give Scotland direct representation in European decision-making for the very first time, providing opportunities for our economy to grow inside a market which is seven times the size of the UK and escape the damage of the UK's hard Brexit, which is hitting Scotland's economy and communities hard.

“Our knowledge, shared values and close alignment with EU law mean Scotland is well placed to fulfil all necessary steps required to become a member state, whilst creating a new and better relationship with our close friends in the rest of the UK.

“We are also well placed to give back to the EU as a welcoming and inclusive country with strengths in research and renewables, and a steadfast commitment to advancing human rights and the rule of international law.

“I hope this paper and the proposals it puts forward will be read and debated widely by people in Scotland. I look forward both to that continuing debate and to the day when Scotland becomes independent, working closely with all our friends in a great shared endeavour that can help bring about a better Scotland and a better Europe.”


Building a New Scotland: an independent Scotland in the EU

Company: Scottish Government

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