A recent report from the Scottish government outlines its future plans for relations with Europe. It proposes Scottish independence, after which it would apply to rejoin the bloc as soon as possible.
In a new policy paper, the pro-EU, pro-independence government highlights the advantages of EU membership, including:
- Access to the single market for Scottish businesses
- Joint access to EU free trade agreements
- Securing EU funding for Scottish agriculture
- Reinstating participation in the Erasmus+ university exchange program for Scotland’s young people, which was lost after Brexit.
Despite this, polls show that a majority of Scots do not currently support independence. A recent survey indicates that 40% of respondents support independence, while 49% favor remaining part of the UK.
However, according to Scottish minister Angus Robertson, EU membership “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.”
Can Scotland rejoin the EU?
Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, left the EU after the 2016 referendum. Despite the narrow overall vote in favor of leaving, Scotland had a strong preference for remaining within the EU. Subsequent polls have consistently indicated a growing majority in Scotland that views Brexit as a mistake.
This scenario reveals a desire to maintain ties with the European Union while not necessarily committing to achieving this goal through independence. The Scottish government has proposed that an independent Scotland would follow the standard accession process, known as Article 49, a procedure that typically spans several years.
The ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) says it will have a mandate for independence negotiations if it secures a majority of Scottish seats in the next UK election, a position it already holds. However, the party could lose its majority in the coming year.
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