Over 45 years ago, after much debate, the UK joined the European Economic Community.
Today, on Europe Day, our European future is once again in question as the UK stands on the brink of reversing that decision.
But that’s not what Scotland voted for and it is not in the best interests of Scotland’s future. It won’t benefit our economy, our communities or future generations.
Scotland’s future will be better served staying within the European Union, or at least within the Single Market and Customs Union.
Remaining part of the world’s biggest, most lucrative market place - around 8 times the size of the UK with over 510 million consumers - will protect our future.
At the moment, our businesses are able to export with ease to any other EU country and any country worldwide the EU has a trade deal with. Whether it’s world famous Scotch whisky and salmon or crucial component parts for aircraft being built in France - we reap the rewards of free movement of goods and services.
When it comes to people, we have welcomed many of our fellow EU citizens to our shores to live, work and study. They contribute to our world-leading universities, treat us when we have to go to hospital, help grow the food we eat, and they are part of our community and our country.
And our young people benefit from the opportunity to learn about different cultures and come back to Scotland with new skills and experience.
When we go on holiday, we are treated in any European hospital in the same way as those who live in the country, we can phone our loved ones at home without generating a huge bills.
Across Europe, we have common standards. We know food is of the same quality and we have the same levels of consumer protection when we need it.
Even if Brexit happens we can retain many of these benefits - but only if we stay in the Single Market.
At present there is a bitter row taking place within the UK Government over what direction Brexit should take. Incredibly, they can’t make up their minds, even though it’s been almost two years since the EU referendum.
Soon, EU leaders will meet to decide whether the UK is serious about living up to the commitments it’s made during the Brexit process.
Given the chaos, like changing Cabinet ministers, that surrounds the UK Government many are unconvinced.
This means the prospect of a disastrous No Deal outcome is looming large once again.
So this can’t be left to the UK Government.
Instead we need an inclusive, national movement to make it clear to Downing Street that Scotland must stay in the Single Market. It’s time, more than ever, for Scotland’s voice to be heard.
Scotland is blessed with talent and resources in abundance. The Single Market, already the world’s biggest, is growing, offering huge opportunities for this and future generations.
For our country’s future, we can, and must, be a part of that.
- What is the SNP's plan for Brexit?
- Sign our petition - hands off Scotland's powers
- Statement by Scotland's Brexit Minister on the EU Withdrawal Bill
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