01192018

EU membership ‘vital for jobs’

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon will say there is strong support for EU membership in Scotland

Membership of the EU is vital to Scottish jobs and the economy, Nicola Sturgeon is due to tell an audience in Brussels later this week.

The first minister will state the Scottish government’s commitment to Europe.

She will reiterate her call for a “double lock” on membership to prevent Scotland being forced out of the EU against its will in the referendum.

David Cameron has vowed to stage a vote on EU membership by the end of 2017.

Ms Sturgeon’s speech in the European Policy Centre to an audience of policy makers and institution representatives will be her first in the EU capital.

She will also highlight the Scottish jobs linked to EU trade and the economic and cultural contributions made in Scotland by people born elsewhere in the EU.

The Union Jack flag next to the European Flag

The Conservatives have promised to hold an “in/out” referendum on the EU by the end of 2017

The first minister is expected to say: “I firmly believe that membership of Europe is in Scotland’s best interests – and have done for all of my adult life.

“We value Scotland’s place in Europe, and the benefits it brings in terms of jobs and investment – with more than 300,000 Scottish jobs estimated to be associated with our exports to the European Union.

“Perhaps most fundamentally of all, the freedom to travel, study and work across Europe has brought major benefits to Scotland. At present there are 171,000 people from elsewhere in the European Union who live and work in Scotland.

“They contribute hugely to the diversity of our culture, the prosperity of our economy, and the strength of our society.”

She will add: “Polls in Scotland consistently show strong support for EU membership. That is why we will propose a ‘double lock’, meaning that exit from the European Union would only be possible if all UK nations agreed. That way Scotland couldn’t be forced out of the European Union against our will.”

Speaking to business leaders in Edinburgh last week, Ms Sturgeon reiterated her opposition to the Tories’ in-out referendum on UK membership of the EU, and said her Government would “work to protect Scotland’s interests”.

During a speech in Glasgow on Saturday, Scottish Labour leader candidate Kezia Dugdale called for EU nationals who have made the UK their home to allowed to vote in the referendum on Europe.

Earlier this week, No 10 said citizens from most EU countries living in the UK would not get a vote.

The SNP has also said it is “absolutely vital” the referendum on Europe is as inclusive as possible.

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