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First Minister speech at the Resolution Foundation

On 29 February First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited First Minister speech at Resolution FoundationLondon to deliver a keynote speech at the Resolution Foundation setting out the positive case for Scotland and the UK to remain in the EU.

The First Minister told a packed audience at St John's Smith Square that:

"The European Union is good for the prosperity and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities across our country.

"In fact, some of the benefits the EU brings are so basic that we take them for granted – whether it’s the ability to travel freely across the continent or the reciprocal right to free medical treatment in other EU countries...

"It’s worth looking at some of the social protections the EU has established, which benefit everyone in the UK, but often aren’t attributed to the European Union.

"The right not to be discriminated against on the basis of age, gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity; maternity and paternity leave entitlement; the right to paid holidays; the right to work for no more than 48 hours each week – all of these are enshrined in EU directives and regulations."

She concluded by saying:

"There’s something inherently noble about 28 independent sovereign democracies choosing to work together to promote peace and mutual prosperity. And it’s not just a noble principle. It brings us real and meaningful benefits.

"Of course it’s not surprising that the European Union sometimes falls short of its own ideals, or that it’s often bureaucratic, frustrating and messy. In many ways what is more surprising is how well it has lasted and how much it has achieved.

"For all its imperfections, the European Union is a force for good in the world.

"I would much prefer Scotland to be one of the independent states of the EU and I believe for what it is worth in the future we will be. But independent or not I believe we are better off in than out so we can work with our neighbours to create a wealthier, fairer, happier continent.

"That’s why I will campaign for continued membership in the run up to June’s referendum. I believe that it’s the best outcome for communities, businesses and individuals everywhere – across the European Union, and in all the nations of these islands."

Read the full speech here: Scotland and the UK in the EU

The speech, and the subsequent Q&A, can also be viewed on the Scottish Government's YouTube channel.