Scotland’s Place in Europe

Author (Corporate)
Publication Date December 2016
ISBN 978-1-7865271-10
Content Type ,

Scotland’s Place in Europe, published in December 2016, sets out the Scottish Government’s position following the result of the EU Referendum in the United Kingdom in June 2016.

The paper presents the Scottish Government’s proposals for mitigating the impact on Scotland of the UK’s exit from the EU.

The paper sets out the importance of continued European Single Market membership for Scotland, and demonstrates that this is also the best outcome for the UK as a whole.

It then sets out the Scottish Government’s strategy for ensuring Scotland can remain a member of the European Single Market even if the UK Government chooses a different outcome, before laying out the impact of the EU referendum on the current devolution settlement and the new powers which will come to Scotland.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the paper represented a ‘significant compromise’ on the part of the Scottish Government which believed full membership of the EU is the best option for Scotland and the UK. Scotland’s Place in Europe aimed to build as much consensus within Scotland as possible and to unify the country around a clear plan to protect its interests.

Scotland’s Place in Europe sets out:

+ The Scottish Government’s position that the whole of the UK should remain in the Single Market.
+ How Scotland could stay in the Single Market even if the rest of the UK chooses to leave. The paper addresses challenges and solutions: how continued membership of the Single Market could be achieved with Scotland still being part of the UK, the legislative and regulatory requirements and financial contributions.
+ How free movement of goods, services and people would continue across the UK, even if Scotland is in the single market, and the rest of the UK is not. There are already a range of differential arrangements in operation within the EU and in relation to the Single Market and the European Customs Union. There is no reason 'flexible Brexit' – implied by the UK Government in relation to different sectors of the economy, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar – cannot be applied to Scotland.
+ Why the Scottish Parliament needs additional powers to protect the rights that will no longer be underpinned by EU law. Areas of EU competence that are currently within the Scottish Parliament’s responsibility (such as fishing and agriculture) must remain so. Additional devolution should be considered of repatriated powers that are not currently devolved but which would enable the Scottish parliament to protect key rights (such as employment law), and of a broader range of powers to protect Scotland's interests and support a differentiated solution (such as power over immigration).

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Related Links
Blog: EU Law Analysis, 20.12.16: Scotland's Place in Europe: Comments on the Scottish Government's new proposals
ESO: Background information: Scottish Government will intervene in Article 50 legal case
ESO: Background information: Nicola Sturgeon opening address to #SNP16, Glasgow, 13 October 2016 | First step towards a second independence referendum for Scotland
Scotland: Government: News, 20.12.16: Scotland’s Place in Europe
BBC News, 20.12.16: Sturgeon: UK could stay in single market
The Guardian, 20.12.16: Nicola Sturgeon: make Scotland's place in single market 'integral' to talks
Politico, 20.12.16: Nicola Sturgeon’s Christmas gift
EurActiv, 20.12.16: Scotland pushes for more powers and continued EU market access
EUObserver, 21.12.16: British PM rebukes Scottish single market plans
Blog: UCL: The Constitution Unit, 21.12.16: The Scottish government’s Brexit paper suggests that the last thing Nicola Sturgeon wants is an independence referendum
Politico, 20.12.16: Nicola Sturgeon: It’s ‘democratically justifiable’ for UK to stay in single market
Blog: Verfassungsblog, 21.12.16: From Greenland to Svalbard: Scotland’s quest for a differentiated Brexit
Blog: Institute for Government, 20.12.16: Brexit, Westminster and Scotland: when constitutional worlds collide
Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 27.12.16: The Scottish Government’s Brexit proposals are politically savvy and all-but-impossible
EurActiv, 02.01.17: Nearly two-thirds of Scots don’t want independence referendum in 2017
Blog: LSE EuroppBlog, 16.01.17: Scotland, Brexit and Spain: A special deal for Scotland is unlikely
Scotland: Government: News, 17.01.17: Scottish Parliament welcomes Scottish Government paper

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