Petition against the eradication of Scotland – 1

This is the wording of the petition submitted on 16th January 2020 by Equality Nation to the European Parliament on Scotland being dragged out of the EU despite 62% of Scotland’s people voting, in the 2016 EU referendum, to remain. This is first of two pieces – the petition submitted, and an open letter to the EU Parliament and EU Commission. This gives background information, the case for a democratic solution, and ideas on a possible route to regain our EU citizenship, as well as brief historical notes of relevance.

We have to wait and see whether the petition will be accepted. As well as the petition to the EU a petition along the same lines has been set up on Change.org. Please sign and encourage others to do so.

Petition against the eradication of Scotland

Scotland has a long history as a European nation. For Equality Nation supporters, European citizenship is not a token addition to who we are but a fundamental part of our identity, adding value to our citizenship of Scotland, regardless of where we were born. The freedom to travel, trade and engage through the structures of the European Union are of enormous importance to us, and we mourn the impending loss of the rights of citizenship, facing an uncertain future in a UK intent on changes to the fundamental legal rights and protections we at present enjoy in European and International law.

Just as we, EU citizens until 31st January 2020, value these freedoms, we also value the rights of other EU citizens to come to Scotland to work, study, make friends, marry, raise families, and enrich our cultural life. Although welcome and appreciated in Scotland, these EU citizens have been appallingly treated by the UK Government, and many still face a very uncertain future despite wishing to remain in Scotland.

Brexit, which Scotland did not vote for, and in the referendum for which EU nationals from the other 27 nations resident in Scotland were not allowed a vote or a say, is being imposed on us, stripping us, against our will, of these rights and protections. Brexit and the loss of many EU nationals will severely impoverish Scotland, culturally and economically, harm the Scottish economy and the Scottish way of life, as well as bringing about the drastic break-up of very many families whose members straddle the EU.

Clause 38 in the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill asserts that the UK parliament is sovereign. This is, as we understand it, a convention, with nothing in UK law to confirm it. (Carwyn Jones AM, former First Minister of Wales, speaking at the Welsh Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, 13th January 2020 – about one hour twenty one minutes in, near the end of the recording. Prior to the 1707 Union, the English Parliament was sovereign, but this was never the case with the Scottish Parliament. Sovereignty in Scotland lies with the people (see attached paper). Queen Elizabeth is queen of Scots, not of Scotland.

The UK Parliament is using Brexit and its preponderance of Members of Parliament at Westminster to ride roughshod over Scottish opinion and erase the ancient nation of Scotland which is supposedly, though not in practice, an equal partner in the United Kingdom. The EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill also strips significant powers from our devolved parliament in Edinburgh, a parliament whose establishment 74.3% of Scots voted for in September 1997.

The EU Parliament is required to ratify the UK’s EU Withdrawal Act. It will have to do so before 31st January 2020. Therefore the EU Parliament will be agreeing to strip people who are still EU citizens of many of their rights and protections. By voting to accept the Act Members of the European Parliament will also be implicit in the eradication of one of Europe’s ancient nations. We ask that MEPs think carefully about that for it is not a course of action a democratic EU Parliament should be associated with.

We ask the European Parliament and EU Commission to agree that Scotland should have the right to choose Independence by constitutional means to pursue its EU ambitions and the return of a shared citizenship with 27 European countries.

We earnestly request reassurance from the EU that a future application from Scotland for EU membership would find an open door with a willingness to work towards Scotland’s early return to the EU. A simple statement of future possibility would counter the disparaging avalanche of assertions from UK politicians and media that Scotland would not be welcome in the EU or able to join as an independent country at a relatively early date.

We further ask that subsequent to the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament choosing to pursue EU membership:

A. Early discussions with engagement to chart the way forward would take place as soon as the Scottish Parliament approved such engagement.

B. These discussions could, if thought expedient by the Scottish Parliament, include an early application to EFTA whilst negotiations with the Westminster government on the terms of Scotland’s departure from the UK were still in progress.

Relevant precedents – the departure of Greenland from the EU and the arrangements for Northern Ireland as part of the agreement on UK withdrawal, both had devolved powers but were parts of a member unitary state.

C. That the EU consider giving Scotland ‘preliminary status’ as an Applicant State with all the access to dialogue that implies.

In relation to the above we ask you to take account of the following:

i. We note the European Union’s offer to fast track Iceland as the 29th member state in 2009. The EU saw Iceland as a valuable addition to the EU despite the Arctic nation having a 10% budget deficit following the 2009 financial crash.

ii. A former senior adviser to the European Commission, Dr Kirsty Hughes, advised MSPs (June 2016) that discussions had taken place about putting Scotland in a ‘transitional holding pen’ after Brexit to avoid “an absurd out and then in process”.

We accept the UK is the member state and Scotland will leave the EU on 31st January 2020.

Individual MEPs across Europe have said an application for membership from Scotland would be welcome. Our petition requests the EU Parliament endorse that position. The attached paper suggests possible stages towards full EU membership. This petition to the EU Parliament is also an Open Letter to the Commission.

As ordinary citizens we plan to continue campaigning for Scotland’s place in Europe until such time as full membership is achieved. We ask the petition is duly considered on the basis it was submitted during our final days as EU citizens even if consideration may take a little longer.

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