Greens react to European options paper

The Scottish Government’s European options paper published today has been received cautiously by the Greens who say it is the “maximum limit of compromise” and that it “does not reflect what Scotland actually voted for” because it suggests Scotland is likely to leave the European Union.

The Scottish Greens are also urging Nicola Sturgeon to proceed with legislation for an independence referendum so that the option remains open to Scotland in, what the party sees, as the likely event that all the proposals will be rejected by Theresa May.

Green external affairs spokesperson, Ross Greer MSP said:

“This work from the Scottish Government is the most detailed plan on any element of Brexit published anywhere on these islands. That being said, whilst the Greens accept that few options remain available to Scotland, this represents a huge compromise on the government’s part. The reality is that just under two in three people in Scotland voted to stay in the European Union and the options presented today fall well short of that. Indeed, this compromise would probably result in around 40,000 lost jobs and a £1,000 drop in average wages in Scotland.

“These plans are the maximum limit of compromise, so if the Westminster government fails to accept them, it will signal clearly that Scotland’s interests and wishes are to be ignored completely. This would be an act of contempt that would likely end the UK’s fragile union. The fact that the UK Government has come out with no proposals of its own shows yet again that they are hopelessly out of their depth and dangerously unprepared for the tough, looming negotiations.

On independence, Greer added:

“It is clear that the only way to guarantee our European future, defend workers’ rights, environmental protections and our freedom of movement is as an independent nation within the European Union. I urge the Scottish Government to proceed with legislation for an independence referendum – we can’t leave ourselves without that option if Theresa May’s government acts as we expect. Scotland did not vote to leave the European Union and we should not be forced to choose the least worst of the options available.”

Also commenting on today’s publication, Green MEP and European Green Party co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer said:

“The tenacity with which Scotland holds on to EU membership is heartening and very welcome. We want to keep the Scots in. And all of the UK, if possible.”