European countries have, over the centuries, been more used to war than peace. Over the years, countless millions of our people have died because politics went wrong and leaders fell out. The thing we now call the European Union was born out of the horror of the Second World War. It was designed as a way to bring the people and leaders of European countries together, to encourage prosperity and, in so doing, make war that bit more unlikely.
The original agreement came about when six European states (France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy) created the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. Though they could not imagine an EU of 28 Member States and over 500 million citizens at that point, through the agreement of subsequent treaties, these nations have created the world’s largest single market.
Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, joined in 1973 and has now been a member for forty-three years. We have enjoyed peace, stability and economic prosperity as a result of this highly successful collaboration.