On 23 June 2016 the people of Scotland voted decisively to remain within the European Union (EU).
Article 50 was triggered in March 2017 but the UK Government is yet to gain the UK or Scottish Parliament’s agreement to a deal. Scottish Ministers have consistently highlighted that the UK Government has failed to engage meaningfully with the Scottish Government, leaving the Scottish Government in an uncertain situation as to whether and how the UK will leave the EU.
There remains a possibility, despite the latest Article 50 extension to 31 January 2020 agreed by the EU, that the UK could still leave the EU without a deal on that date. That is why Scottish Ministers have been pressing the UK Government to allow for a second referendum, with remaining in the EU as an option.
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The Scottish Government has undertaken extensive preparation for a potential ‘no deal’ exit from the EU, as set out in our ‘Overview of ‘No Deal’ Preparations’. This work will continue to prepare for the impacts of leaving the EU, including the potential for a ‘no deal’ exit on 31 January.
Scottish Ministers have repeatedly set out their concerns that a ‘no deal’ outcome would cause significant disruption to citizens and businesses in Scotland and in the UK. A report published in February 2019 by the Scottish Government’s chief economist showed a ‘no deal’ Brexit could have a dramatic impact on Scotland’s economy, with the potential for national gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by up to 7%.
The Scottish Government will continue to press the UK Government to take ‘no deal’ off the table, while at the same time doing everything possible to prepare for a potential ‘no deal’ outcome.
The First Minister chairs regular meetings of a ministerial group which oversees cross-Government activity to prepare for leaving the EU.
Scottish Ministers continue to believe that staying in the EU is the best option for Scotland and the whole of the UK, and will continue to make the case for this. The Scottish Government was the first administration in the UK to set out a substantive policy response to Brexit in December 2016. This and subsequent analysis is set out in the documents below:
- Scotland's place in Europe: assessment of the revised EU withdrawal agreement and political declaration
- Scotland's Place in Europe: assessment of UK Government's proposed future relationship with the EU
- Scotland's Place in Europe: science and research
- Scotland's Place in Europe: our way forward
- Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment
- Protecting the rights of EU citizens: position paper
- Scotland's Place in Europe: security, judicial co-operation and law enforcement