In a significant development, a new paper authored by External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson presents the case for an independent Scotland rejoining the European Union. As the seventh installment in the 'Building a New Scotland' series, the paper outlines the multitude of benefits that EU membership would bring to Scotland and its people.
According to Robertson, independence represents the most feasible path for Scotland to reclaim the advantages of being part of the EU.
This move would mark Scotland's direct representation in the EU for the first time, opening up various opportunities for its economy and citizens. Key benefits highlighted include:
- Access to the Largest Single Market: Scotland would enjoy reduced trade barriers, free data flows, and less bureaucracy as part of the world's largest single market.
- Expanded Labour Market: Open access to a broader EU labour market would allow unrestricted employment of EU citizens in Scotland, bolstering businesses, universities, communities, and public services.
- Trade Agreements and Negotiations: Scotland could benefit from the EU's extensive network of favorable international free trade agreements and have a say in market access issues, food production standards, and future regulatory requirements.
- Digital Economy Participation: Scotland could leverage its expertise in sectors like gaming, AI, and data science, to fully engage with the EU’s digital economy.
- Educational Opportunities: The Erasmus+ program would offer students the chance to study and work abroad, just like previous generations.
- Agricultural Policy Benefits: Scottish farming and rural businesses would gain from the multi-year funding security provided by the Common Agricultural Policy.
- Enhanced Law Enforcement Collaboration: EU law enforcement tools would strengthen Scotland’s ability to tackle cross-border crime and threats.
Robertson also emphasizes Scotland’s potential contributions to the EU, citing its strengths in renewable energy, research, innovation, and a commitment to human rights and international law.
The paper argues that Scotland's knowledge, shared values, and close alignment with EU laws position it strongly for EU membership. Robertson envisions a Scotland that not only benefits from but also contributes significantly to the EU, while fostering a new and improved relationship with the UK.
He urges widespread reading and discussion of the proposals within Scotland, looking forward to continued debate and the prospect of an independent Scotland closely collaborating with the EU for a better future.