2 June 2015
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took the case for Scotland remaining in the European Union to the heart of Europe in a major speech in Brussels.
In her first speech in the EU capital since she came to office, the First Minister outlined her positive case for Europe and pointed out that continuing EU membership is vital to the Scottish economy and jobs.
The EU provides the market for 46 per cent of Scotland’s international exports – worth £12.9 billion in 2013 – and more than 300,000 jobs are estimated to be associated with trade with member states.
We see the European Union as a positive force in Scotland and in the UK as a whole. And so throughout the coming months and years, we will make an overwhelmingly positive case for Europe.
“That will be based on practical benefits – our trade, the jobs it helps to secure, the extent to which we all benefit from the right to live, study, travel and trade across 28 countries.
But it will also be based in part on who we are, the sort of country we want Scotland to be.”
During the speech, the First Minister reaffirmed her call for a “double-majority” to be put in place for the UK Government’s planned in-out referendum to ensure that none of the nations that make up the UK would be at risk of being forced out of the EU against their will.
In making her positive case, the First Minister also outlined some clear proposals for reform of the European Union, including: More local decision making on health and social policies to allow countries to target key issues such as alcohol; a greater focus on developing the single market in energy and digital services; and local discretion in implementing regulation, making policies more proportionate and less burdensome.
The First Minister’s busy day in Brussels concluded with a constructive meeting with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
— First Minister (@ScotGovFM) June 2, 2015