A new international project has been launched to explore the possibilities and challenges of Scotland’s future relationship with Europe. The project, called Scotland’s European Future, is led by the University of Edinburgh and involves researchers from Scotland, the UK, and other European countries.
The Aim of the Project
The project aims to provide a comprehensive and interdisciplinary analysis of the legal, political, economic, and social implications of Scotland’s potential future scenarios in relation to Europe. These scenarios include:
- Remaining part of the UK and seeking a closer alignment with the EU than the current UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement
- Becoming an independent state and applying for EU membership
- Becoming an independent state and pursuing a different form of association with the EU, such as the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Association
- Pursuing a more autonomous role within the UK and developing bilateral relations with the EU and its member states
The project will also examine the public attitudes and preferences of Scottish citizens and stakeholders towards these scenarios, as well as the views and interests of the EU and its member states.
The Rationale of the Project
The project is motivated by the changing political and constitutional landscape of the UK and Scotland in the aftermath of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. The project’s director, Professor Christina Boswell from the University of Edinburgh, said:
“Scotland faces a number of complex and interrelated choices about its future relationship with Europe. These choices have profound implications for Scotland’s economy, society, democracy, and international standing. Our project aims to provide rigorous and independent research to inform these choices and to foster constructive dialogue among different actors and perspectives.”
The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the UK in a Changing Europe programme, which supports research on the UK’s relationship with the EU and its implications for the UK, the EU, and the wider world.
The Activities of the Project
The project will run for three years, from 2023 to 2026, and will involve a range of activities, such as:
- Conducting academic research and producing publications on the various aspects of Scotland’s European future
- Organising public events and workshops to engage with diverse audiences and stakeholders, including policymakers, civil society, media, and the general public
- Developing online resources and platforms to disseminate the project’s findings and to facilitate debate and discussion
- Collaborating with other researchers and networks working on related topics, both within and outside the UK
The project’s website provides more information about the project’s team, partners, outputs, and events.