Scottish Government
Printable version

Scotland must not be “dragged out” of EU

All constituent parts must consent if UK votes to leave

Scotland must not be dragged out of the European Union against its will, Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said yesterday.

Speaking ahead of a debate on Scotland’s membership of the European Union in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Yousaf stressed that the UK’s membership must be subject to a “double majority” – with any vote for exit from the EU only valid if each constituent part of the UK votes to leave.

Mr Yousaf made clear that support for our membership of the European Union is strong and continues to grow in Scotland.

And he stressed the economic and social benefits our membership of Europe brings, with Scotland exporting nearly £13 billion of goods and services to Europe a year, and 330,000 Scottish jobs associated with exports to the EU.

Mr Yousaf said:

“Our EU membership brings enormous benefits to Scotland and it is vital that it continues.

It would be completely unacceptable for Scotland to be dragged out of the EU against her will.

“The Scottish Government does not support the Prime Minister’s proposed in-out referendum on the UK’s EU membership. That puts Scotland’s place in Europe in grave danger – and we will continue to passionately advocate the benefits of being part of Europe.

“Since the independence referendum we have seen a substantially higher level of support for EU membership in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, with support for Scotland to remain in the EU 19 points higher than two years ago, and Scots more likely to recognise the advantages of our EU membership.

“That strong support for membership is why we believe that for the UK to leave the EU, it should require not just a majority across the whole UK, but a majority in each constituent part of the UK – a ‘double majority’.

“Membership of the EU places Scottish businesses within the world’s largest economy, whose 500 million citizens enjoy some of the highest standards of living on the globe. Around 20 million businesses operate in the EU single market, and the EU is a vital export market for Scottish firms – accounting for almost half of Scotland’s international exports in 2013, worth a massive £12.9 billion each year.

“Meanwhile, around 40 per cent of foreign-owned companies in Scotland are EU-owned, and every year since 2006 Scotland has been ranked one of the top two areas of the UK outside London for foreign direct investment.

“Many of those jobs and much of that investment would be put at risk by the proposed in-out referendum, which is why those who value our European Union membership and all the benefits it brings need to speak up now.

“The EU has been at the forefront of protecting the welfare of its citizens, promoting gender equality, improved conditions for workers and strengthening consumer rights, and migration from the EU has delivered social, cultural and economic benefits to Scotland’s communities.

“The European Union is not just a place where rules and regulations are made, but also a market place for exchanging ideas and for showing where Scotland can display leadership.

“The Scottish Government has never argued that the EU is perfect. The institutions of the EU have grown distant from the citizens of the EU and there is a need for those institutions to reconnect. But we can reform from within – doing things in a better way, without an overhaul of treaties.”

Notes To Editors

A recent Chatham House report found support in Scotland for remaining in the EU is 19 point higher than two years ago


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Scottish Government