Building a New Scotland: An independent Scotland's Place in the World

This paper sets out the Scottish Government's proposals for an independent Scotland's place in the world.


Independence would mean Scotland becoming a state in its own right, joining the global community of nations. We would be able to put the promotion and protection of the security, wellbeing and prosperity of our people at the heart of our international activity. And we could contribute to promoting human rights and equality worldwide, as well as acting on our responsibility to tackle the climate and nature emergencies facing our planet.

With independence, for the first time in the modern era, Scotland would represent itself on the international stage, with a seat at the table at the UN, the EU and other important global and regional forums. Our network of diplomats would promote Scotland’s interests around the world.

Through cooperation with our international partners, an independent Scotland would advance our shared objectives, playing our full part in addressing global challenges. By joining NATO and committing to the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, we would play our part in collective security. An independent Scotland would build on our strong relationships with our nearest neighbours in the United Kingdom and Ireland to ensure our mutual safety.

Independence would allow Scotland to do things differently and take decisions that are in the best interests of Scotland’s people. For example, this Scottish Government believes that nuclear weapons should not be based in Scotland and should be removed in the safest and most expeditious manner possible following independence. This Scottish Government would also set as a cornerstone of defence policy that an independent Scotland would only participate in overseas military operations that are lawful, approved by Scottish Ministers, and authorised by the Scottish Parliament.

Our recently published international strategy[190] shows what Scotland can do with the limitation of devolved powers. Building on our strong reputation as a good global citizen, an independent

Scotland could do more to contribute to global issues such as tackling poverty and inequality and addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. An independent Scotland would be a responsible partner, honouring our international obligations, and entering into international agreements that reflect our nation’s values.

Independence would not be to the detriment of the existing relationships that Scotland already has in these islands or around the world. Instead, it would allow us to make these relationships stronger and forge new partnerships, working with other nations as equals on shared goals and challenges.



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