Foreword by the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture
In the 2016 referendum on European Union (EU) membership the people of Scotland voted by a margin of 24 percentage points to reject Brexit, with a majority for remain recorded in every one of Scotland’s 32 local authorities.
Despite that clear democratic expression by the people of Scotland we have been removed from the EU against our will. And Scotland is now suffering the disastrous outcome of the hard Brexit negotiated, and hailed as a fantastic deal, by the Westminster government.
What makes this even more unacceptable is the fact that during the 2014 independence campaign the Westminster government cited the UK’s membership of the EU as a reason to reject independence.
In this, the seventh paper in the ‘Building a New Scotland’ series, we set out the values Scotland shares with the EU, the benefits of EU membership and the contribution Scotland can bring to the EU as a new member state.
Perhaps above all the paper demonstrates the value the Scottish Government places on co-operation and partnership in place of confrontation.
It is that approach that we seek to bring both to our aspiration to regaining our place in the EU as well as to what I believe will be a new and better relationship with our closest friends in the rest of the UK.
Given the position of the main parties at Westminster, the only route back to the EU for Scotland is by becoming an independent country.
Scotland’s journey to re-joining the EU – this time as a member in our own right with a seat at the EU’s decision-making tables for the first time ever – is through a legal, democratic process to decide on Scotland’s independence, and by following the normal accession process.
People in Scotland have voted to elect a Parliament with a substantial majority in favour of an independence referendum and we are determined to ensure they can exercise the right to choose their own future.
I hope the ideas presented here will be read and debated widely by people in Scotland. I also hope that this paper will enhance understanding among our fellow Europeans of Scotland’s past and present, and why we believe it is in all our interests for the around five million former European Union citizens who live here in Scotland to regain that citizenship.
I look forward both to that continuing debate and to the day when Scotland becomes independent, working closely with all our friends in a great shared endeavour that can help bring about a better Scotland and a better Europe.
Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture
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