Sunday

26th Feb 2017

Scottish leader warns of independence

  • Sturgeon: it would be "simply unacceptable" if Scotland was to be "dragged out of the EU against its will" (Photo: Scottish government/Flickr)

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday (23 August) that leaving the EU would have a "huge cost" for Scotland and that independence remained an option to protect its interests.

According to a Scottish government analysis published on Tuesday, an EU exit would cost Scotland, by 2030, up to £11.2 billion (around €13 billion) a year, and a loss in tax revenue of up to £3.7-billion (€4.3 billion) a year.

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“This paper shows, in the starkest possible terms, the potentially huge cost to Scotland of being taken out of the European Union and the single market," Sturgeon said in a statement published with the report.

She said that it woud be "simply unacceptable" if Scotland was to be "dragged out of the EU against its will".

“The only way to protect Scotland’s economy … is to work to ensure we protect our relationship with the EU," she said.

At a press conference, Sturgeon said that independence was still an option to secure Scotland's membership to the EU single market.

"If it turns out simply not to be possible to protect scotland's interest through the UK, it must be open to the Scottish people to consider afresh … the question of independence," she said.

She said that "first of all" her government was talking with the governement in London to agree on a common position before the UK triggers article 50 to start exit talks with the EU.

"It's through that process that we must make sure that Scotland's interests are recognised and protected," she said.

But she added that "we shouldn't underestimate the prospect of the UK approach being in the more damaging end of the spectrum", adding that "some in the UK government appear to favour" the "hard Brexit" option.

In that case, she warned, Scotland would ask a "distinctive arrangement" with the EU.

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.

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