The EU and You

The benefits of EU membership

Scotland has long been a committed and engaged part of the European Union. For more than 40 years, individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland have experienced the social, economic and cultural benefits of EU membership. This is why we believe Scotland, and the UK as a whole, should vote to remain part of the EU on June 23rd 2016. 

Supporting the Scottish economy

The European Union is the world's largest single market. The freedom to move capital, people, goods and services has delivered economic and social benefits for Scotland, removing barriers to trade and opening Scotland to a market of over 500 million people.

The EU is Scotland's top destination for international exports. It was worth over £11 billion in 2014 and supports over 300,000 jobs directly and indirectly. It delivers economic growth to businesses and opportunities to citizens.

Continued access to the Single Market is cited as a key reason behind 72% of foreign investors decisions to invest in Scotland - making Scotland second only to London as the most attractive destination for foreign direct investment in the UK.

Developing Scottish innovation, creativity and future leaders

EU membership means we are able to move freely throughout the EU to live, work and study. For example, as part of the EU, Scots can train and study in any EU country under the same conditions as that country's nationals.

Through the Erasmus+ programme for 2014-2020, Scots are currently benefiting from more than 150 EU-funded projects totalling almost 13 million (Euros) to boost skills, employability, and provide opportunities to study, train, volunteer and work abroad.

Freedom of movement also helps Scottish educational institutions to develop fundable research partnerships that enhances Scotland's reputation. This makes our universities more attractive to international students and researchers, and enhances our ability to attract and retain access to new markets and funding.

Championing social protections and fundamental rights

EU membership means that important rights in areas ranging from civil liberties to consumer protection are ensured across the EU. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights enshrines respect for human dignity and fair treatment for all members of society while preventing exploitation of workers.

Membership gives us valuable and hard fought social protections such as employment rights, maternity and paternity leave and the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of gender, religion, disability, age or sexual orientation or on the basis of race or ethnicity.

If Scotland was to leave the EU, these hard fought for protections could be lost.

Working together to tackle disease and illness

EU membership enables participants to work together to prevent the spread of illness and disease. This includes joint action to address cancer and HIV/AIDS, coordination on health threats, and major campaigns against drugs abuse.

Coupled with free movement, EU citizens can train and work in the NHS, enhancing the pool of available knowledge, skills and expertise, from which the NHS can continue to recruit the highest quality of staff.

Continued membership also gives Scots access to the European Health Insurance Card, entitling you to access state healthcare on the same basis as residents of the country you are visiting if you are injured or become ill.

Tackling global challenges through unity

As a member, Scotland has a say in the decisions that shape the European Union. This enables us to influence EU policy and make a positive contribution to the European project.

This includes playing a meaningful role in taking collective action to address major challenges affecting the world, from dealing with the serious impacts of climate change and tackling human trafficking, to addressing the current global refugee crisis and organised crime.

We believe that European cooperation, not national isolation is key to managing current and future challenges and our voice is loudest and our actions most effective when we act together as part of the European community.

Protecting our rural environment

Whether its Scottish smoked salmon, whisky, Harris tweed, or as the set of Outlander, Scotland is internationally renowned for its natural beauty and rural products. The EU has awarded Protected Status to a number of Scottish products that has helped to differentiate Scotland from our international competitors.

Membership of the EU not only provides trade access to the Single Market of over 500 million consumers, it also provides significant support to our rural industries. For example, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provides vital funding to Scotland's farmers and land owners for a range of agri-environmental, food, rural and community activities across Scotland.

For more information on the benefits of continued membership of the EU please visit