Scottish leader tells EU ‘we hope to join you again’

Published January 3, 2021
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday told the European Union  “we hope to join you again soon” as an independent nation following Britain’s full departure from the bloc. — File photo
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday told the European Union “we hope to join you again soon” as an independent nation following Britain’s full departure from the bloc. — File photo

LONDON: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday told the European Union “we hope to join you again soon” as an independent nation following Britain’s full departure from the bloc.

“As an independent member of the European Union, Scotland would be a partner and a bridge-builder,” she wrote on her party’s website.

A comfortable majority of Scots voted to remain in the European Union during the 2016 Brexit referendum, giving fresh impetus to the movement pushing for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom.

After losing the 2014 independence vote, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Sturgeon is spearheading the push for another referendum and hopes to rejoin the EU should she fulfil her dream.

“More and more people in Scotland believe our aspirations can best be met by continuing to contribute to the shared endeavour and solidarity that the EU represents,” she wrote.

“Because of Brexit, we can now only do this as an independent member state in our own right.

“We didn’t want to leave and we hope to join you again soon as an equal partner,” she added.

Recent polls have shown consistent support for independence, with the coronavirus outbreak further driving a wedge between the devolved governments and London.

But readmission to the EU would not be a formality, with Scotland running a heavy annual fiscal deficit. Sturgeon would also have to rely on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreeing to a referendum in the first place.

He has ruled out such a vote, but the SNP will likely claim a mandate and heap pressure on Johnson should the party perform well in upcoming local elections.

Despite calling it a once in a generation vote in 2014, Sturgeon argues that the Brexit vote and Britain’s full departure from the bloc’s single market and customs union have changed the game.

“We are now faced with a hard Brexit against our will, at the worst possible time in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession,” she said on Saturday.

“For too long, successive UK governments have taken Scotland in the wrong direction, culminating in Brexit.

“It’s no wonder so many people in Scotland have had enough,” she added.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2021

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