Sturgeon reaches out for German help to keep Scotland in EU

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon praises Germany's solidarity after a surprise visit to Berlin as she seeks support to keep her country in the EU despite the UK voting to leave.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during an emergency cabinet meeting at Bute House in Edinburgh, Scotland June 25, 2016.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has paid a surprise visit to the German capital Berlin in a bid to garner support for Scotland remaining in the European Union. 

Edinburgh has been stuck in the crossfire between London and Brussels since Britons voted to leave the EU in a referendum in June. As part of the United Kingdom, Scotland will also be forced to leave the bloc despite the fact that the vast majority of Scots voted to remain.

Sturgeon has been exploring a number of possibilities after the EU referendum, including a repeat of a Scottish referendum for independence from the UK in order to secure its position in the EU in the event of a ‘Brexit.’

In September 2014, Scots voted to remain part of the UK after London warned that Scottish independence would result in Scotland leaving the EU.

But less than two years later, Scots find themselves faced with the possibility of being unwillingly dragged out of the EU by London.

During her visit on Tuesday, Sturgeon met with Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth, who is in charge of the country’s EU affairs.

Speaking to German broadcaster ARD after the meeting, Sturgeon said she thought it would be “very positive for the wider European Union for a part of the United Kingdom, if not the whole of the United Kingdom, to want to stay and continue to be part of the European family of nations."

In a statement issued by the Scottish government, Sturgeon also praised the “solidarity shown toward Scotland as an enthusiastic part of the EU.”

Roth was cited by the statement as describing the talks as a "very pleasant and constructive conversation between two dedicated pro-Europeans."

“I hope that the UK finds a way forward that will benefit Europe as a whole in the end,” Roth added.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who took over from David Cameron after he resigned in the wake of the June referendum results, also visited Berlin in July to meet with her counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Although the UK is yet to formally implement Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the British government has started pre-exit talks to ensure a smooth exit process.

According to Downing Street, Prime Minister May told her Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte and Danish Prime Minister Lars-Lokke Rasmussen that the leave clause would not be triggered before 2017.

“In both calls, the Prime Minister explained that we are keen to approach negotiations for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union in a constructive and positive way,” the Downing Street statement said.

TRTWorld and agencies