Monday

22nd May 2017

Sturgeon: Scotland should have option to stay in EU

  • Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland's interests need to be protected (Photo: First Minister's Office)

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said Monday (25 July) that the parts of the UK that voted to stay in the EU should have the option to remain.

She reiterated again that if Scotland’s interests cannot be protected during the exit talks, Scotland must have the right to consider another independence referendum.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“We can seek to find - or create - a solution that enables Scotland's distinctive voice to be heard and our interests to be protected within the UK. Or we can consider again the option of independence," Sturgeon said.

In a speech in Edinburgh, the Scottish leader called on the UK government's negotiating position during the exit talks to allow those parts of the UK that voted to leave the EU the option of doing so, while those parts which voted to stay, such as Scotland, should have the option to remain.

Sturgeon warned that the UK is heading for a "hard" rather than a "soft" exit from the EU, with limited access to the single market and significant restrictions on free movement.

She lashed out against the Leave camp for failing to prepare for a win at the June referendum, and called former prime minister David Cameron's decision to call the ballot "reckless".

“We don’t yet have any clear idea of what a Leave vote means in practice, while ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is intended to sound like a strong statement of intent, it is in fact just a soundbite that masks a lack of any clear sense of direction," she said.

Sturgeon on the other hand welcomed UK prime minister Theresa May's commitment not to trigger article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty until there is a common UK approach to the exit negotiations.

But she added that she is prepared to take into account all options, including independence, to defend Scotland's interests, arguing that the situation has vastly changed since 2014, when Scots voted to remain in the UK.

“Scotland didn’t choose to be in this situation, and our vital interests are at stake with potential consequences that will affect all of us, so I have a duty to do all that I can to protect those interests," Sturgeon said.

She highlighted five key interests for Scotland to be protected: safeguarding free movement of labour; access to the single market and a say on shaping single market rules; retaining EU funding; and ensuring the continued protection of workers' rights.

Scottish voters backed remaining in the EU by 62 percent to 38 percent in June's referendum, while the UK as a whole voted by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave.

Scotland not giving up on EU membership

Scotland's EU spokesman has said the country is a special case that would not act as a precedent for places such as Catalonia or Corsica if it split from the UK to join the EU.

Scottish MEP: 'Independence not our first option'

A Scottish split from the UK remains on the table, a prominent Scottish MEP has said, as British PM Theresa May heads to Scotland to calm nerves on post-brexit EU relations.

Brexit unlikely before 2019

UK ministers have privately warned the City of London that Britain could remain in the EU until late 2019.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  2. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  4. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  5. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  6. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  7. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  8. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Cost of Speaking Out: Human Rights Violations Committed in Belarus
  10. ACCABanishing Bias? Audit, Objectivity and the Value of Professional Scepticism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Oslo Climate Declaration Focuses on Rising Temperatures in the Arctic
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceAbdominal Obesity: A Causal Risk Factor for Cardiometabolic Diseases