Scotland; A European Nation

Our history with Europe.

A document outlining Scotland’s extensive historical engagement with Europe and its present democratic and constitutional position in relation to the UK, Europe and Brexit has been published today.

The document, for an international audience, explains the historical, political and legal reasons why Scotland’s voice needs to be heard following the EU Referendum.  In addition the Scottish Government has set out our intention to publish plans to maintain Scotland’s relationship with Europe in the coming weeks.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop said:

“Scotland has benefitted tremendously from our EU membership in terms of trade, skills, funding, people and rights. And, individuals, businesses and communities have gained from the ability to live, study, work and travel across 28 Member States.

“In turn the EU has benefitted from years of partnership working with Scotland on areas ranging from climate change, social policies and research.

“A clear majority of people in Scotland voted to maintain their relationship with Europe and we will continue to pursue all options to protect Scotland’s interests.

“This document is to help partners across Europe to understand Scotland’s distinct position.

“Scotland has had a strong and committed relationship with the EU for over 40 years and we want to continue a positive relationship for many more.”

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe Michael Russell added:

“Since the Scottish Parliament was re-established in 1999 the people of Scotland have exercised their democratic right to have a government that represents their needs.

“The rest of the United Kingdom acknowledged and respected the right of the people of Scotland, within the Union, to make these decisions themselves.

“EU law stands at the centre of these arrangements, shaping the powers of the Scottish Parliament, and providing rights to the citizens of Scotland.

“However, following the EU referendum their rights in areas that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament are now under threat.

“Whilst we accept that the formal EU negotiating role belongs constitutionally to the UK, it is also clear that Scotland’s political history and current constitutional framework make it imperative that our distinctive voice and views are heard loud and clear in London and throughout Europe.”

To read the full document please visit


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