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Scotland, Brexit and the Future

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), reiterated her call for a second referendum on EU membership during a speech at Georgetown today hosted by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security.

Unlike most of the UK, 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU in 2016. “The vote in Scotland has been ignored. Over the 2.5 years since it took place, our interests have been sidelined,” said the First Minister.

The First Minister said “Brexit makes no economic sense” and pointed to several social consequences—including restricted movement within the EU—that would negatively impact Scotland.

She added: “Brexit itself will be damaging for Scotland. But Brexit without a deal will be catastrophic.”

Sturgeon advocated for an extension to the March 29 Brexit deadline, called for a customs union and single market – and reiterated her call for another referendum.

The First Minister also called for Scottish independence. “Scottish national interests are not being served by a Westminster system that often sees our interests as an afterthought.” Those interests can only be served through independence. “I think Scotland will become an independent country in the not so distant future,” she added.

No matter the decision reached in the UK, Sturgeon insisted that Scotland would remain committed to addressing global issues like climate change and economic inequality.

“I don’t see independence for Scotland as being a move that diminishes international unity.” “We want independence to increase the voice we have in the world; We want to shape the world in a more positive way.”

The event was co-sponsored by the BMW Center for German and European Understanding, and included introductory remarks from the Dean of the School of Foreign Service Joel Hellman.