“The European Movement in Scotland (EMiS), Scotland’s premier pro/EU body, strongly endorsed the Scottish Government’s decision to make rejoining the EU a centrepiece of its economic strategy if Scotland were to become independent. EMiS, a cross-party body that is neutral on the independence question, points out that Brexit has demonstrably impoverished the UK and destroys the sustainable, inclusive growth Scotland wants and needs.” (Currently on the EMiS website landing page)
- The paper rightly points out the damage done to Scotland’s economy by Brexit, and that Scotland’s prospects for growth will be immeasurably strengthened inside the world’s largest Single market and customs union. Rejoining the EU is key to ending poverty and inequality and to promoting green growth and jobs for Scotland and the UK.
Note – no timescale given, but there will be a need for parallel negotiations for exiting UK and rejoining EU, over a number of years.
- Rejoin would help reverse UK economic model of low growth/low productivity, “stagnant wages” and high inequality;
Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimates long-run UK productivity down by 4% than if still in EU, £100bn loss of output, £40bn loss of public revenues (of which £3.2bn in Scotland) but no guarantee an independent Scotland could overturn all that damage or how;
- Freedom of Movement would allow workers from across the EEA to come freely to Scotland to fill the thousands of vacancies in our economy. Equally, Scotland’s population would travel freely across the EU-27 plus UK and Ireland via Common Travel Area, with right to live & work in EU-27.
EU 515m people; free movement/immigration is vital for Scotland’s future demographically and economically to offset ageing/declining labour force and sustain effective social/health services;
- Building a New Scotland also references the economic potential from developing Scotland’s energy resources almost as much as it emphasises the value of rejoining the EU. It estimates a potential for 300,000 jobs. The energy sector across all of Europe is undergoing huge change and massive investment. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has both accelerated the changes and complicated them by creating a short-term energy security crisis.
- Alongside huge infrastructure projects, the EU’s Green Deal recognises that localised energy production and distribution can offer resilience to local communities by improving local economic opportunities and has the potential to significantly slash energy poverty. Scotland has many such producers who, under current arrangements, produce much renewable energy but pay higher than average fuel prices.
- EU single market 7 times bigger (515m people) than UK’s but UK would remain strong trading partner, with measures to “smooth any checks” post-Brexit, post-independence;
heavily depends on new, advanced technology (‘single trade windows’) for border checks and goodwill of Westminster government;
- Independent Scotland would still use Pound Sterling for unspecified period, then switch to Scottish currency in due course; begs question of whether this is compatible with EU accession criteria and whether euro might be better from the start;
- Scotland would align with EU-27 regulations, including Stability & Growth Pact, and priorities (Green New Deal), in run-up to full EU membership; assumes financial/fiscal stability in newly independent country and political tolerance from both rest of UK, which seeks divergence, and EU.