LONDON (AFP) – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday told the European Union (EU) “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 EU, 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 EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum, giving fresh impetus to the movement pushing for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom (UK).
After losing the 2014 independence vote, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Sturgeon is spearheading the push for another referendum and hopes to re-join 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.