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Scotland's place in Europe

Published: 5 Jan 2016 18:23
Part of:
International

PMs announcement means Scotland’s voice is more important than ever.

Commenting on the Prime Minister's statement to the House of Commons today on the recent European Council summit and his announcement that UK Government ministers will be able to campaign on both sides in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership, Europe Minister Humza Yousaf said:

"The Prime Minister's announcement today that he will permit his own ministers to campaign on either side in the coming EU referendum campaign is deeply worrying and could potentially move the UK closer to the EU exit door. It means whatever the outcome of the renegotiation the UK Government will not be making a unified case for remaining in the European Union.

"That is hugely significant, and means that it is more important than ever that those who do support Scotland and the UK's continued EU membership make the case as strongly as possible.

"The Scottish Government will be at the forefront of that argument in the coming months. We believe Scotland benefits enormously from being part of the EU - a vital export market accounting for almost half of Scottish exports in 2013, worth £12.9 billion and directly or indirectly supporting more than 300,000 Scottish jobs.

"The Scottish Government has not been consulted on the detail of the Prime Minister's renegotiations despite our repeated calls for Scotland to have a full and formal voice in the process to ensure our interests are properly considered and represented. Mr Cameron should share details of his proposals while there is still time, so we can be confident Scotland's views will be considered and our vital interests protected.

"Exit from the EU would pose a direct threat to jobs, investment and international influence. That is why the Scottish Government is determined to do all we can to secure a vote which keeps Scotland and the rest of the UK in the EU, and protect the benefits we all derive from our place in Europe."