EU and the rest of the world

by  | Jun 28, 2016 |


 

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Picture courtesy of Rex Shutterstock

With the recent EU referendum vote, the UK has decided to leave the European Union, but although with a UK vote of 52% in favour of a Leave vote, Scotland and Northern Ireland have voted to Remain (with a 62% and 56% result respectively). Even with these figures, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being forced out of the EU, against their will, in an undemocratic decision. Due to this, the SNP leader and First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has laid out legislation to propose a second referendum on Scotland’s independence, saying:

The manifesto that the SNP was elected on last month said this: “The Scottish Parliament should have the right to hold another referendum… if there is a significant and material change in the circumstances that prevailed in 2014, such as Scotland being taken out the EU against our will.”

Scotland does now face that prospect – it is a significant and material change in circumstances – and it is therefore a statement of the obvious that the option of a second referendum must be on the table. And it is on the table.

Since then, Nicola Sturgeon has been supported by leading figures in Europe, supporting Scotland’s membership in the EU.

In the coming days and weeks, we will soon discover what this will lead on to. In the meanwhile, we have a few pages set up to inform you all of Scotland’s future within the European Union.

Agriculture

Agriculture is a huge topic which covers the whole of Europe. In 1962, the European Union founded the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to increase agricultural output, secure Europe’s supply of food and to ensure cheap food for consumers.

In the mid-1980’s, CAP was reformed due to criticism, stating that it was causing the EU to overproduce, thfarmer-826912_960_720us ‘distorting’ the global trade market by wasting surplus produce on developing markets.

CAP is the largest item in the EU budget, composing of almost 40% of the EU’s €140 billion budget in 2015. This fund supports farmers across the EU, thereby producing the food on our plates, nurturing our land and environment, as well as maintaining economic activity in our rural and peripheral areas.

Scottish farmers receive around €580 million a year in direct subsidies from the CAP, with a further €500 million between 2014-2020 in Rural Development funds from the CAP, on top of the funding from the Scottish Government.

It’s extremely unlikely that a UK Government outside the European Union would provide Scotland with the funding it needs to maintain farm payments. Governments in recent years, from all different parties, have declared their indifference or outright opposition to CAP payments, and their desire to reduce or scrap them.

This was shown when the UK Government denied the Scottish Government access to a payment of €230 million from the EU, earned due to Scotland’s low level of CAP payments.

In recent years, the SNP has campaigned against CAP subsidies which indirectly support bullfighting, against the electronic identification of sheep and we could be doing better in enforcing common animal welfare laws. But the best way to fix this is inside the European Union, where we are able to negotiate change with our partners all over Europe as so many of these issues cross borders and require common solutions.