LONDON (AP) — Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon offered her proposals Tuesday to protect Scotland's place in Europe after Britain leaves the European Union, saying it's possible to keep Scotland in Europe's single market even after the rest of the U.K. pulls out.
Britain voted to leave the EU in June but 62 percent of voters in Scotland backed remaining in the 28-nation bloc. Sturgeon, who backs Scottish independence, said Britain's departure — now called Brexit — should be "flexible" to address the needs of the different parts of the U.K., which is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Launching a document titled "Scotland's Place in Europe," Sturgeon said it was best for Scotland — and the rest of Britain — to remain in the European single market and customs union. She argued that the EU referendum did not give a mandate to take any part of Britain out of the European single market. Nonetheless, she conceded it was unlikely that Britain will choose to stay in the free trade bloc.
In that event, Sturgeon proposed that Scotland could stay in the European Economic Area by means of special arrangements like those that apply to the Channel Islands and the Faroe Islands.
She also proposed a substantial transfer of new powers to the Scottish Parliament — including powers over immigration and import and export control — in order for Scotland to pursue its own relationship with the EU.
The British prime minister's office at Downing Street said the British government would look closely at Tuesday's proposals, which are expected to be discussed in detail in January.
But earlier this month, Treasury chief Philip Hammond reportedly said it was unrealistic for different parts of the U.K. — including Scotland — to get special concessions in the Brexit deal.