Reports 2016

Scotland’s place in Europe

21 November 2016

Almost five months after the UK voted to leave the EU, the process remains stalled, pending the invocation of article 50 (which will trigger the start of formal negotiations to leave the Union). There is deep uncertainty about what Brexit actually means and the UK remains divided over the referendum result. Whereas the Leave camp carried the vote with a slim majority (52% in favour of leaving), Scotland voted strongly in favour of remaining in the EU with 62% wishing to stay and only 38% voting to leave.  Membership of the Single Market and the benefits that flow from it, including free movement of labour, are considered essential for the economic prosperity of Scotland. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has made it clear that she wishes to preserve Scotland’s relations with the EU, noting that “triggering article 50 will inevitably deprive Scottish people and Scottish businesses of rights and freedoms which they currently enjoy”.

Michael Russell MSP, who has been appointed by Nicola Sturgeon to lead negotiations with the UK Government, provided a briefing on the latest developments following the Brexit vote, Scotland’s constitutional journey to date, and the Scottish Government’s aims to ensure the country’s continued relationship with the EU. The Briefing was moderated by Fabian Zuleeg, EPC Chief Executive and Chief Economist.