Independence: what you need to know

Information about Scotland's future.

The European Union

The Scottish Government’s policies for an independent Scotland at a glance

  • an independent Scotland would apply to re-join the European Union (EU)
  • through membership of the EU, Scotland would be part of the biggest single market in the world, with reduced barriers to trade and more economic opportunities for Scottish businesses
  • the people of Scotland would have the opportunity to move freely within the EU to work, study, live and do business, gaining experience they can share on their return
  • Scotland’s new written constitution – a set of rules which help guide how a country works – would demonstrate that Scotland is fully committed to the values shared by other European nations, with human rights and equality at its heart

An independent Scotland’s European Union membership

Following a vote for independence, this Scottish Government’s proposal is that Scotland would apply to re-join the European Union (EU) as soon as possible.

Scotland would regain the benefits of EU membership, including being part of the world’s largest single market and the freedom of movement of people. This means Scottish citizens could travel freely, work, study, live and do business across EU nations.

There is a clear process Scotland would follow to re-join the EU. With its experience of being part of the EU and following its laws, Scotland is well placed to move quickly through the membership process.

Until Scotland re-joins the EU, this Scottish Government will continue to align with its laws and keep pace with EU developments where appropriate.

Read more in the EU paper.

What EU membership would mean for you

Membership of the EU would provide you, as a Scottish and EU citizen, with economic, social and cultural opportunities.

Living, working, studying and doing business

You would:

  • be able to live, study, work and set up a business in any EU member state
  • have more job choices, with your professional qualifications recognised throughout the EU
  • have your rights protected by EU law, including guaranteed minimum working conditions and protected social security rights

Travelling within the EU

Scotland being a member of the EU would make travelling within the EU easier. You would:

  • be able to cross EU borders quicker
  • have equal access to healthcare if you fall sick or have an accident while travelling in the EU
  • be able to use your driving licence throughout the EU
  • have access to consular services around the world through the embassies or consulates of other EU member states

Common Travel Area

Under an arrangement called the Common Travel Area, you would continue to be able to live, work, access services and move freely within the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man with no new passport or immigration checks.

Read more in the EU paper.

Economy and trade

Re-joining the EU would create opportunities for an independent Scotland’s economy and businesses to grow.

Scottish businesses would:

  • be part of the world’s largest single market with almost 450 million consumers compared to the UK’s 67 million
  • benefit from reduced barriers, and less bureaucracy, when trading in the EU
  • have access to a larger labour market with no restrictions on employing EU citizens to work in Scotland
  • have access to the benefits of the EU’s network of highly favourable free trade agreements across the world
  • benefit from the removal of checks on goods moving between Scotland and the EU
  • benefit from Scotland having the same opportunities as other member states to access EU funding such as support for agriculture, infrastructure, regional economic development, and guaranteed participation in programmes such as Horizon Europe which supports research and innovation.

Read more in the EU paper.

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