Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will hold talks with the leaders of the European Commission and Parliament, as well as MEPs, in Brussels on Wednesday — immediately after EU leaders’ Brexit talks — to make the case for Scotland remaining in the EU.
Scotland voted 62 percent in favor of staying in the European Union in last week’s referendum, reviving talk of a fresh referendum on independence from the rest of Britain after the U.K. as a whole voted to leave by a slender majority of 52 percent to 48 percent.
“I am determined — utterly determined — to protect Scotland’s relationship with, and our place in, the European Union,” the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) said in a speech to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, where she announced that she would meet European Parliament President Martin Schulz in Brussels on Wednesday.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Wednesday morning that Sturgeon would also meet President Jean-Claude Juncker later on Wednesday.
“We don’t have the intention to interfere in the British process,” Juncker told reporters at the end of the second day of the EU summit on Wednesday, where leaders met without the U.K. for the first time in 43 years.
While Europe waits for whoever succeeds David Cameron as Britain’s next Conservative prime minister to launch official exit negotiations by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, Sturgeon said she had to “ensure that Scotland’s voice is heard as widely as possible, in London, in Brussels, and by member states across Europe.”
Sturgeon said she expected Cameron to brief her on the EU summit later this week, after which she said she would “set out Scotland’s position directly to the European Commission.”
Members of the European Parliament gave a standing ovation earlier on Tuesday to the SNP’s Alyn Smith, when he urged his fellow MEPs: “Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, chers collègues, do not let Scotland down now.” Smith also won applause when he said he was “proudly Scottish and proudly European.”
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In the same special session on Brexit, MEPs booed UKIP leader and leading Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, who warned that Britain would not be the last nation to abandon the EU.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) on Wednesday will ask the parliament’s speaker to be made the official opposition party in the British House of Commons, the BBC reports.
This article was updated with further details of Sturgeon’s visit.