Frequently Asked Questions - How will Scotland become an independent member of the European Union?
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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.