Scotland's Global Affairs Framework

The Global Affairs Framework sets out the values and principles underpinning the Scottish Government’s international work and the basis on which the Scottish Government will prioritise its international activity.

2. Maintaining the closest possible relationship with the European Union

Scotland is a nation with a strong European heritage, outlook and values. The fundamental values of the European Union (EU) – human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights – resonate in Scotland. Scotland recognises that the EU is more than a free trade area: it has much wider benefits, including support for peace and a strong social dimension, which Scotland supports and wants to be part of as an independent member state.

Like many European countries, Scotland’s population has been shaped by migration. EU citizens have enriched communities in every local authority, and in recent decades free movement within the EU has helped reverse population decline in Scotland. European markets dominate our international trade. Indeed, for more than 45 years, individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland experienced the social, economic and cultural benefits of membership of the EU.

Ensuring the closest possible relationship with the EU is therefore a fundamental part of our international activity.

Scotland shares with the EU a Strategic Agenda and a vision that embodies democratic values, promotes the wellbeing of all of society, rises fully to the challenge of the global climate and biodiversity emergencies, and supports a smart and sustainable economic recovery from the global pandemic. Steadfastly European: Scotland’s past, present and future reaffirms Scotland’s commitment to work in partnership with the EU to realise our shared values and address global challenges.

We will continue to uphold the values we share with the EU, and to engage positively and proactively with the EU institutions, member states and other European organisations on Scotland’s and the EU’s policy priorities.

For example, we will engage on:

  • climate action, renewable technologies and protecting biodiversity
  • supporting the development of green and digital jobs and skills
  • standing up for individuals’ freedoms and for democratic processes, keeping people safe, tackling poverty and inequality
  • supporting young people.

We also remain committed to the EU’s Erasmus+ programme, recognising the importance of reciprocal education mobility, and are exploring ways to maximise Scotland’s access to this scheme.

We believe that rejoining the EU at the earliest opportunity as an independent country represents the best future for Scotland. In the meantime, we will maintain alignment where possible and practical with EU legislation, standards, policies and programmes.



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