We are testing a new beta website for gov.scot go to new site


This content is no longer being updated. You can find the latest content on Europe on beta.gov.scot.

Protecting Scotland's Place in the European Union


Scotland has long been a committed and engaged partner in  the European Union. The Scottish Government firmly believes that the EU is the best international framework to deliver social and economic gains for the people of Scotland, and to tackle the global challenges facing Scotland and our partners world-wide.  EU membership is also integral to Scotland’s identity as an outward-facing, confident and modern nation, amplifying  Scotland’s inclusive and progressive values on a global stage.


The Scottish Government believes that EU membership is in the best interests of Scotland, which is why we are making a positive, constructive case for staying in the  European Union.

For more than 40-years, individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland have experienced the social, economic and cultural benefits of EU membership.

The EU was born out of the needs of European countries to prioritise cooperation over conflict. Relationships of respect and cooperation can also drive developments for mutual interest to help Europe lead and shape a better world.

Benefits including the freedom to live, study, work, trade or travel across the EU’s 28 member states.

For businesses, this places them within the world’s largest trading area of 500m consumers. For our education sector, it provides life changing opportunities abroad for our students and researchers, and for international collaboration. For our communities, benefits include social and development funds which supports this Government’s work to secure new jobs, opportunities and inward investment to Scotland.

The EU is not simply an economic union. It is also about solidarity, social protection and mutual support.

Solidarity is at the heart of why membership matters. Working collectively, we can address pressing global challenges, such as the movement of refugees and migrants, energy security and climate change.

The EU has given us valuable and hard fought for social protections. This includes measures to prevent the exploitation of workers and the right not be discriminated against on the grounds of age, gender or race.

And the EU supports the ambitions of people to improve their lives; of businesses to innovate and grow; and of governments for economic prosperity.

This Government believes the EU should focus more on economic and social policies that make a tangible difference to the lives of its citizens, while allowing member states more autonomy to address specific domestic issues.

If we are to influence positive change in Europe, we must preserve our EU membership – only that guarantees our role in the EU decision-making processes that affect our lives.

It is now more important than ever that those who support Scotland and the UK’s continued EU membership make the positive case for remaining in the EU as strongly as possible. The Scottish Government will remain at the forefront of that argument because Scotland benefits from being part of the EU, and the EU benefits from having Scotland a part of it.


Our Action Plan for EU Engagement sets out our approach to deliver benefit for the people of Scotland through our engagement in the EU.

The Benefits of Scotland's EU Membership

The Scottish Government has published a booklet on the 'Benefits of Scotland's EU Membership' which contributes to the work we are doing as a Government to outline the benefits of our membership, and the constructive role Scotland can take in the EU to secure its future prosperity.

‘The Benefits of Scotland’s EU Membership’

First Minister speech at the Resolution Foundation, February 2016

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

Fiona Hyslop Speech, November 2015

On 8 and 9 November Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited Dublin to give the keynote speech at the first meeting of the “National Conversation” established by the European Movement Ireland. The National Conversation aims to discuss the issues around the UK’s European referendum and the potential implications for Ireland. Read the speech in full.

First Minister Speech, June 2015

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivered a speech to the European Policy Centre in Brussels in June 2015, setting out the Scottish Government's position on the EU In/Out referendum. Read the speech in full.

Case Studies

See examples of how we are delivering the objectives of our Action Plan for EU Engagement on our Case Studies page. We will continue to update that page with further examples of Scottish activity in Europe.

How Scotland is Performing

Scotland’s EU membership has an impact on almost every aspect of Government and is crucial to achieving the Scottish Government’s purpose of creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish.

Scotland Performs measures and reports on progress of government in Scotland towards that purpose. View more information on Scotland Performs.