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Scotland “must not be dragged from single market”
The Scottish Government is calling on all parties to support Scotland remaining in the European Union and ensuring our place in the single market.
In a day of EU-themed activity at the Scottish Parliament later today (Wednesday, 14 September) First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will address the European and External Relations Committee.
She will be followed by the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Michael Russell, who will open the first in a series of debates in the Scottish Parliament establishing key principles for Scotland's involvement in negotiations – including continued support for Scotland to remain in the EU and for Scotland and the UK to remain in the single market.
Mr Russell is also expected to call on the UK Government to end their "confused and damaging" messages and provide clarity and direction on their plans for leaving the EU or risk damaging confidence in the UK.
The activity comes on the same day the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, will make his State of the Union address in Strasbourg outlining his priorities for the year ahead, including how the Commission will address the issue of the UK leaving the EU.
During his opening address tomorrow, Michael Russell is expected to say:
"Scotland's voice is being heard across the European Union. We want Europe and the world to know that Scotland voted wholeheartedly to remain in the EU as befits a nation that is outward looking and open.
"The message from the United Kingdom Government has been both confused and damaging. At times it seems as if there is no direction.
"At others it seems as if a hard Brexit, with all the damage to jobs that would cause, is the desired destination. We have no idea whether or not the UK wishes to remain within the single market, almost three months on from the referendum. That is not good enough.
"I am today inviting this parliament to add their voice to ours in holding the UK Government to the Prime Minister's commitment and reiterating their support for our principled and values-driven approach to protecting Scotland's interests, fundamental to which is to remain inside the single market.
"For continued fairness and opportunity for Scotland's workers as well as for long-term prosperity for Scotland as a whole, we must not be dragged by the hard line Brexiteers out of the single market. That is the case we must make loudly and clearly. In so doing we will find many others across these islands who believe the same and who can join us in the fight to preserve our future in Europe."