Scotland and Europe

Everything that happens in the European Union has an impact on your life or the way you will live in the future.

You go there on holiday, you see it on TV and although it can be easy to forget sometimes, Scotland is part of it all. It's up to you to take full advantage of what Europe has to offer you...

Where Scotland fits in

The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government were set up by the Scotland Act 1998 and have powers to act in the areas where the Scotland Act 1998 says they have power.

Europe is what is known as 'reserved matter' which means that the Scottish Government doesn't have the right to make any legally binding decisions on the issue. 

So, for example, it couldn't decide that Scotland would join the Euro separately from the rest of the UK.

This means that all decisions which are taken on European policy affecting Scotland are still made by the UK government at Westminster (London).

European Committees

The Scottish Parliament does, however, have a European Committee which discusses the European issues that affect Scotland.

Other committees, e.g the Environment & Rural Development Committee, discuss issues with a strong European dimension which impact on Scotland. 

They can voice their opinions and recommend to the Scottish Parliament what view it should take on a particular European issue. These views may have no legal affect, but it does depend on the issue.

The Scottish Government is also involved in European work. Some of the powers which have been given to the Scottish administration include policy areas like environment, fisheries, and agriculture which are all affected by decisions which are taken at a European level. 

This means that lots of different departments within the Scottish Government are involved in European work.

Scottish Government's European Union Office

The Scottish Government has a European Union office in Brussels, which is a part of the UK's permanent delegation in Brussels. 

The UK's permanent delegation is called UKRep (UK Representation) - it represents the views of the United Kingdom government on issues being dealt with at European level.

Did you know?

  • 70% of our laws are made by the EU (e.g. environment, fishing, mobile phone charges)
  • David Lidington is the UK Minister for Europe