We have identified over 650 questions and answers concerning many of the topics featured on this site. The information is categorised and can be reached by navigating via the entries below.

Information can also be retrieved using the Search box. This will search through the entire list of FAQ entries (in the Title and the Body) and will return results based on a match based on the words you input. If you wish, you may enter complete questions, e.g. "What currency would we use in an independent Scotland".

How will Scotland become an independent member of the European Union?

Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will immediately enter into negotiations with Westminster and EU member states to ensure that an independent Scotland achieves a smooth and timely transition to independent membership of the EU.

Scotland will negotiate the terms of membership of the EU during the period we are still part of the UK and, therefore, part of the EU. There is, within the EU Treaties, a legal framework by which Scotland, a country that has been an integral part of the EU for 40 years, may make the transition to independent EU membership in the period between the referendum and the date on which Scotland becomes an independent state. Article 48 provides a suitable legal route to facilitate the transition process, by allowing the EU Treaties to be amended through ordinary revision procedure before Scotland becomes independent, to enable it to become a member state at the point of independence.

There is no Treaty provision that would require Scotland to leave the EU on independence. It would also be against the self-interest of the EU collectively, and of the Member States individually, to seek to deprive Scotland of EU membership given that Scotland is an integral and highly valued part of the single market. Throughout its history the guiding principle of the EU has been enlargement of its membership, not contraction.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Why will an independent Scotland wish to be part of Europe?

Scotland has been a constituent part of the EU since the accession of the UK in 1973 and benefits greatly from the peace, security and economic opportunities provided by membership of the European Union. Over these 40 years Scotland’s economy and society have become an integral and fully integrated part of the EU single market.

The best way for Scotland to be represented in the EU is as an independent nation, with our own seat at the top table. This will allow Scottish Governments to represent Scotland’s interests in areas like fisheries, which have not been given sufficient priority by Westminster.

Scotland’s citizens enjoy freedom of movement and the right to work and study in other member states. The ability to trade within a single market of 500 million citizens is of central importance to our strategy to stimulate growth by increasing international trade. Around 158,000 EU citizens have also chosen to live and work or study in Scotland.

The European Union continues to be Scotland’s top overseas export destination – the value of exports destined for countries within the EU is estimated at £11 billion in 2011.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Is the proposed transition period between the referendum and becoming independent in March 2016 enough time for Scotland to become a recognised independent member state of the European Union?

Yes. Scotland already complies with EU laws, people in Scotland are already EU citizens and Scotland is already a member of the EU.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would an independent Scotland’s voice in Europe be weaker or stronger?

Stronger. Scotland currently has a limited voice in Europe. The Scottish Government is permitted to make an input to Westminster discussions about EU proposals that impact on devolved matters, but Westminster is under no obligation to take account of the views of the Scottish Government when determining its position at EU-level negotiations.

Independence will give Scotland our own voice in Europe, participating at every level in the EU policy process and ensuring that Scottish governments are able to promote and protect Scotland’s national interests in EU affairs.

As an independent member state the Scottish Government will be able directly to promote our economic and social interests and protect our citizens by participating on equal terms with all other member states in EU affairs. Scottish Ministers would participate fully in meetings of the Council of the European Union and Scotland would have increased representation in the European Parliament, thereby increasing Scotland’s voice in the two legislative bodies of the EU.

Where Scotland’s interests coincide with the interests of the rest of the UK, together we will form a more powerful voice for action. When Scotland has a distinct view, we will have a new ability to build alliances and make our case, ensuring that what is right for the people of Scotland is heard.

The current Scottish Government firmly believes the only government capable of properly representing Scotland’s interests in the EU decision-making process is a government elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland be forced to join the Euro?

No. In order to be considered for membership of the Eurozone, countries need to choose to include their currency in the Exchange Rate Mechanism II and there are no plans for Scotland to do this. No country can be forced to join the Euro against its will.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

When will Scotland begin negotiations to join the EU?

Following a vote for independence in the 2014 referendum, the Scottish Government will immediately enter into negotiations with Westminster and EU member states to ensure that an independent Scotland achieves a smooth and timely transition to independent membership of the European Union.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How long would the process of EU membership take?

The negotiations to secure the transition to independent EU membership will be conducted between the date of the vote on 18 September 2014 and 24 March 2016 when Scotland becomes an independent state. During this period Scotland will remain part of the UK.

These negotiations will include discussions to determine the specific terms, and where necessary any transitional arrangements, under which an independent Scotland will take its place as a full EU member state.

Scotland has been a member of the EU for 40 years and already complies with its body of law. The 18 month period between the referendum and the planned date of formal independence provides sufficient time for discussions settling an independent Scotland’s terms of EU membership. In the current context of devolution the Scottish Government has already demonstrated its capacity to transpose and implement the provisions of EU legislation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How does this predicted timescale compare to the process for previous accession states?

Scotland will not be an accession state. We will negotiate the transition from being an EU member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the EU from within the EU. The predicted timescale compares well with the most similar sets of previous circumstances. For example, the transition to EU membership for East Germany during its reunification with West Germany took 11 months from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland’s membership of the EU require the agreement of all member states?

Yes. The terms of Scotland’s membership will be agreed with the EU and the necessary Treaty amendments will be taken forward with the agreement of member states.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland continue to qualify for a European rebate?

The EU budget has been agreed until 2020 and the Scottish Government will not seek to re-open budget discussions until the next funding cycle, at which point we will be negotiating as a full member state. Prior to 2020, the division of the share of the UK rebate will be a matter for agreement between the Scottish and Westminster Governments and the Scottish Government will argue for an equitable share.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What impact will the Conservative Party proposal to have a UK referendum on EU membership have?

It is the view of the current Scottish Government that the only real risk to Scotland’s membership of the EU is the referendum proposed by the Prime Minister.

The Scottish Government does not wish Scotland to leave the EU and does not support the Prime Minister’s plans to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership.

Following a vote for independence, Scotland will become an independent EU member state before the planned in-out referendum on the EU in 2017. However, if we do not become independent, we risk being taken out of the EU against our will.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.