Scotland: A European Nation

This publication outlines the historical, political and constitutional context that gives legitimacy to Scotland’s voice in the Brexit debate.

2 Scotland's unique offer: what is Scotland saying?

Scotland has a constitutional right for its voice to be heard in Brexit and other European negotiations. We will continue to use this voice to clearly articulate Scotland's interests as set out by the First Minister.


The fact that a strong majority in Scotland voted to remain in the EU must be respected.

Map of Scotland's Vote: Leave 38% - Remain 62%

The economy

The almost £12bn of Scottish exports to EU member states, the 300,000 jobs in Scotland supported by EU membership and, crucially, the vital contribution EU nationals make to many sectors of our economy must be protected.

Social protection

The hard-fought rights enjoyed by workers, consumers and many others which are safeguarded and promoted by EU law must be maintained.

  • 'Not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation or on the basis of race or ethnicity'
  • '20 days paid leave each year'
  • '14 weeks maternity leave'
  • 'Work no more than 48 hours a week'


We must safeguard the ability through the EU to work collectively and constructively with other nations to address pressing global challenges such as climate change and international security in all its forms.

Reduction in Green-House-Gas Emissions 1990-2014:

  • Scotland -39.5%
  • EU-28 Average -23.9%

Scotland is ranked second - behind Sweden - in terms of emissions reductions across the EU-15 states between 1990 and 2014.


The ability of Scotland to play its full part at an international level, whether by positively influencing decision making or by contributing our unique expertise and skills, must be retained.

These interests will impact on many current and future agendas relating to European business. It is impossible to predict them all, but Scotland will certainly have contributions to make on dossiers such as:

Environment: pushing for greater ambition toward climate change targets.

Economic ties: the EU is the top destination for Scottish international exports, receiving 42% in 2014.

Financial services: Scotland has a distinguished history in financial services that dates back over 300 years. It is one of Europe's leading financial centres and the most important financial hub in the UK outside of London.

Research collaboration: Scotland is a leading research nation and active in many EU partnerships.

Fisheries: Scotland has the fourth largest sea area in core EU waters and has world-class fisheries management expertise.

New and developing markets: from life sciences to the exciting opportunities emerging through the digital single market.

Energy: Scotland is at the forefront of emerging technologies for harnessing renewable energies.

Renewable electricity as a proportion of gross consumption in 2014:

  • Scotland 49.9%
  • EU-28 27.5%

Farming and food: Scotland has a strong rural tradition and stunning landscapes which nurture a fast-growing, high-quality, food and drink sector.

Social policies: our ambitious fair work agenda encompasses job security, fair reward and opportunities for personal and workplace development. Justice and law enforcement: Scotland and the rest of the EU benefit from close collaboration on justice and law enforcement issues.

Innovation and technology: Scotland is a modern, forward-looking country which has collaborated with partners across the European Union to create world-leading innovation and technology such as marine energy.

Crucially, Scotland and the EU have mutual interests. In each of these areas we bring, and will continue to bring, expertise and resources in the cause of a progressive, outward-looking future for Europe as a whole.


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