Scotland’s voice must be heard in EU Referendum
9 Jun 2015 01:47 PM
Hyslop to set out Scotland’s role in key negotiations.
The Scottish Government will continue to make a positive and powerful case for EU membership, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop will say later today.
Speaking ahead of a Scottish Government debate on the forthcoming EU referendum, Ms Hyslop said that the Scottish Government would do everything in its power to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in all EU negotiations whether in London or Brussels.
She also said the EU Referendum Bill must be amended to give 16 and 17-year-olds and all EU citizens the right to vote on their future in Europe.
Ms Hyslop said:
“The UK Government’s plan for a referendum on EU membership jeopardises Scotland’s place in Europe. That is why the Scottish Government will do everything it can to protect Scotland's interests and make a powerful and positive case for Scotland and the UK’s continued membership of the EU.
“Around 330,000 Scottish jobs are estimated to be directly linked to our European Union membership, and the EU was the destination for 46 per cent of Scotland’s total exports in 2013 – worth £12.9 billion to Scotland’s economy.
“However, the benefits to Scotland of EU membership are not purely economic. Our EU membership is also a vehicle to create a more equal and more inclusive society. Central to the inclusive society we want to see is the premise that the referendum process is fair to all. That is why the Scottish Government will continue to call on the UK Government to give the right to vote to all 16 and 17 year olds as we did in the Scottish independence referendum in September last year.
“We also gave a vote to the EU citizens who live in Scotland, meaning they were able to have their say just as they already do in Scottish parliamentary and local elections.
"The citizens of Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who have chosen to make Scotland or other parts of the UK their home and who are resident here, will have a vote in the EU Referendum. As indeed will the citizens of three EU states – Ireland, Malta and Cyprus. There is no justifiable case for excluding the citizens of the 24 other EU countries.
“The Scottish Government sees the European Union as a positive force in Scotland and in the UK as a whole. Membership of that Union is overwhelmingly in Scotland’s best interests. That is why we will continue to make the positive case for Europe and argue wholeheartedly for Scotland and the rest of the UK to stay in the EU.”