Guest post from Europe for Scotland
Europe for Scotland is the arm of the Scottish campaign that campaigns across Europe. It is a grassroots movement of Europeans who would like to welcome an independent Scotland back into the EU. We are shining a spotlight on Scotland in continental Europe, rallying support for Scotland’s right to choose its own future, and calling on the European Union to welcome Scotland back with open arms if Scots wish to rejoin it as an independent country.
Our pan-European initiative launched in April 2021 with an open letter, organised by a handful of people but signed by almost 200 renowned intellectuals and cultural figures from all European countries and all UK nations, which was simultaneously published in ten countries. In the months since, thousands of Europeans joined these first distinguished signatories and signed our open letter on Action Network.
With the pandemic waning across the continent, we have ambitious goals for 2022. We have recruited more than 50 volunteers from 17 European countries that form groups of national ambassadors of our campaign, who work on strategies to increase support for our arguments in their respective countries. A group of cultural ambassadors will soon start planning events to remind Europeans of the many ways in which Scotland could enrich the European Union. Lastly and most crucially, we have recruited a group of lawyers, lobbyists, and EU insiders that are developing a plan to lobby the European Parliament, where we hope to convince MEPs to take a stance and vote in a motion on Scotland’s future in Europe in 2023.
We find that there is great affection for Scotland across Europe, rooted in familiarity with Scotland’s rich history and culture, vibrant cities and beautiful landscape. However, both among the European public and among European politicians the many differences between Scotland’s desire for self-determination and other independence movements are not always well known. In order to gather European political support for Scotland’s choice about its future we are promoting a deeper understanding of Scotland’s past and present, raising awareness that Scotland is not a region in Great Britain (or, indeed, in England) but an ancient European nation that existed long before most other European nations. Most importantly, we are highlighting Scotland’s unique situation as a former member of the European Union (for 47 years), which rejected Brexit by 62% and yet had to leave against the will of its people–a democratic injustice that Scots should have the right to reverse.
In addition to promoting a culture of solidarity with Scotland across Europe, Europe for Scotland also wants Europeans to appreciate how much Europe would benefit from Scotland rejoining the EU. On a practical level, Scottish universities enjoy great popularity among Erasmus students, Scottish shores have enormous potential for renewable energy, and Europeans would like fewer obstacles to work and trade with Scottish businesses. On a political level, Scotland’s patriotism and pride in its culture and history, coupled with its desire to be an equal partner among European nations stands in stark contrast with British nationalism and desire for dominance. While Brexit emboldened not just Trump but also far right Euroskeptics across the continent, Scotland rejoining the EU would have the opposite effect, as Scots would inspire Europeans to follow their example, showing them that they can celebrate their national culture whilst they embrace their European identity.
With the help of our groups of national ambassadors, as well as of our EU lobbying group we want to make the case for Scotland’s future in Europe, lobbying EU leaders to explicitly support Scotland’s choice about its future and to clarify that if Scots wish to return they could speedily rejoin the EU.
It is vital that this assurance comes before a referendum is held. During the Brexit referendum voters did not have clarity about what they were voting for, as Brexiteers and British tabloids spread lies about the EU, whilst the EU itself remained silent. Scottish voters deserve honesty and clarity about the future that is on offer when their referendum takes place, and EU membership should be an offer that is on the table. We will do what we can to ensure that Europe does not stay silent this time, but rather guarantees Scottish voters that an independent Scotland would have a bright future in the European Union. Speaking for the many Europeans involved in our campaign we can certainly say that Europeans miss Scotland and we would love to welcome you back! If you would also like to see an Independent Scotland in Europe, please sign and share our petition with your European friends!