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Scotland in Europe

Published: 30 Jan 2017 16:26

Cabinet Secretary asks European Parliament to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard during Article 50 process

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop has urged the European Parliament to stand up for its citizens and challenge whether Brexit negotiations respect the rights of citizens in all parts of the UK.

Ms Hyslop made the call as she put forward the case for Scotland remaining within the single market even if the rest of the UK leaves, to the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Ms Hyslop told the Committee:

“While the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union, the people of Scotland voted categorically to remain within it.

“We believe that finding a way to continue Scotland’s membership of the European single market, including the four freedoms, is central to the health of our economy and our prosperity as a nation.

“I accept that Article 50 negotiations will be between the UK and the EU and that’s why we are committed to working positively and creatively with the UK Government.

“We know the UK Government will need to be flexible when dealing with the border and free movement issues posed by Northern Ireland, and it looks like it will seek a differentiated approach for particular sectors. So I see no good reason why flexibility shouldn’t also apply to Scotland when there is a very clear democratic mandate to protect the interests of the people of Scotland within the EU, and within the UK.

“And we also believe that the European Parliament - which represents the voice of EU citizens - has the right to challenge whether the Article 50 negotiations respect the rights of citizens in all parts of the UK.

“It is therefore essential that differentiation is a key part of the Article 50 process – at the outset, during the negotiations and as the future relationship with the EU develops.

“The bonds of friendship between Scotland and other countries in Europe are as deep, strong and mutually beneficial today as at any time in our shared history.

“As a nation which voted overwhelmingly to remain within the European Union we seek your solidarity and support.”