Greens seek guarantees in Europe options paper

The Scottish Government’s options paper to be published tomorrow for Scotland’s place in Europe must include free movement for all, workers’ rights, environmental protections and membership of the single market say the Greens.

The party’s external affairs spokesperson Ross Greer MSP says that workers must continue to have their rights protected, as they currently are by Europe, irrespective of which party is in power at Westminster.

Greer also says the paper must commit to safeguarding the rights of the estimated 130,000 EU nationals living in Scotland.

West of Scotland MSP Ross Greer said:

“Like so many in Scotland, I’m deeply concerned by the lack of credible options for keeping our place in the European Union. That hasn’t been caused by a lack of imagination from those of us campaigning to stay in, but rather because the Westminster government totally refuses to recognise the democratic will of the Scottish people or provide any flexibility as it prepares for Brexit.

“The Scottish Government has been robust in defending our interests so far. Nevertheless, the much anticipated options paper must include certain guarantees if the government wants the support of Green MSPs. It must have a focus on free movement, workers’ rights and environmental protections. And it must make the case for Scottish – or continued UK- membership of the Single Market.

“There are more than 130,000 people living in Scotland who are citizens of other EU countries. They contribute to our economy and culture and none of them deserve to have their right to live and work here stripped away from them.

“Workers in Scotland, knowing that the EU provides a reliable safeguard against potential Tory attacks on working hours, holidays and fair pay, need to know their rights are enshrined regardless of the plans of Theresa May and her successors.

“Like many in Scotland, I also don’t trust Westminster when it comes to protecting our environment, so it must be made clear that the Scottish Parliament will have the power to uphold the same degree of security the EU has given to water quality, clean beaches, waste management and protection of wildlife and marine areas. These powers should not move from Brussels to Westminster.”