Our Place in Europe
The Will of the Scottish People
In 2016, a mandate was issued by the Scottish people, clearly stating that if Scotland was to be taken out of the European Union against the wishes of the Scottish people, then that would be a considerable material change in circumstances that would allow the public to revisit the question on Independence. Despite this clearly expressed mandate, no referendum or preparations for a referendum have been forthcoming and Scotland has now been taken out of the EU.
Rejoining the EU
As a result of Brexit, Scotland has lost single market membership which affords members four freedoms: the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital.
The Scottish Government's current position is that following a vote in favour of independence, we will begin the process of joining the EU. While there is unlikely to be much opposition within the member states to such a move, negotiations surrounding Scotland's entry may take years.
There is another route that Scotland could take that would certainly mean quicker entry to the European community and the four main freedoms this comes with, and that's the European Free Trade Association.
The EFTA Option
It is ALBA’s position that an independent Scotland should join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) as an immediate priority. This will allow Scotland to gain access to the European Economic Area (EEA) and effective free trade with the EU, thus mitigating the negative effects of Brexit.
EFTA membership could be negotiated within weeks, as opposed to years, and could be negotiated in parallel with independence negotiations with the UK. On becoming an EFTA member, Scotland could re-join the EEA within a few months. This is important as it would afford Scotland a strong hand in negotiations with the UK Government. We would have a concrete plan and timetable in place that secured our trading relationship with the world’s largest marketplace.
EFTA membership would enable Scotland to negotiate to become a full member of the EU in due course if the people of Scotland so choose whilst enjoying the benefits of free trade, thus placing Scotland in a much stronger negotiating position with the EU for future membership.