On Wednesday, European Parliament chiefs will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Brussels to find a way for Scotland to remain part of the European Union. A nation comprising of five million people, Scotland voted to stay in the European Union in last week’s referendum by 62 to 38 percent and this put it at odds with the United Kingdom as a whole, which had voted 52% to 28% in favor of Brexit. Sturgeon declared the concept of Scotland being removed from the EU as being ‘democratically unacceptable’. She said that they would take all the necessary steps to prevent it from happening including independence from the UK.
She said that on Wednesday, in her initial visit to Brussels, she would set out her country’s position to Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, and also to the representatives of the European lawmakers. She also said that once the European Council of this week was over, she planned to speak about the Scottish issue directly with the EU’s executive body, the European Commission. Speaking to the Scottish parliament, Sturgeon said that their earliest priority has been to spread awareness in Europe that Scotland has made a different choice in the referendum and they still wish to stay part of the EU.
She also asserted that she had discussed the fallout of the Brexit vote with the Ireland president and prime minister and the Scottish government was also getting in touch directly with some of the governments of the EU member states. The Scottish National Party (SNP), to which Sturgeon belongs, has campaigned for Scotland to become independent from the EU and in the light of the referendum results announcement, this has become ‘highly likely’. A referendum had been carried out in 2014 in which the Scots rejected the idea of independence by 55% to 45%.
The EU membership had been declared to be a major advantage of staying part of the United Kingdom. It is argued by Sturgeon that the context has now changed due to the Brexit vote and a second referendum should be carried out as independence could be the best way for Scotland to stay part of the EU. In the Scottish parliament, the primary opposition faced by the SNP is by the Scottish arm of the Conservative Party ruling in Britain. It immediately criticized Sturgeon for linking the Brexit issue with a second referendum for independence.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, told the parliament in Edinburgh that lighting the fuse for another referendum was not the way to deal with the shockwaves caused by another. Once a force to be reckoned with in Scottish politics, the Labour Party has now become a shadow of its former self after continues electoral victories of SNP. It said that millions of Scots wanted to be both part of the EU and the United Kingdom. Kezia Dugdale, the Scottish Labour leader told the parliament they need to explore all options for protecting Scotland’s place, which includes a federalized United Kingdom.