The Scottish government has unveiled plans to stay within the EU single market after the UK triggers Brexit. Some of the proposed measures might be "impractical," warned British Prime Minister Theresa May.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon presented a document titled "Scotland's place in Europe" on Tuesday, saying that Edinburgh could create a special arrangement with the European Union.
"Brexit is not a problem of Scotland's making," she told reporters, referring to the UK's vote to leave the European bloc.
The plan proposes a significant transfer of power from London to Edinburgh, particularly on immigration and trade. This would allow Scotland to pursue its own interests inside the EU while staying a part of the UK. The paper cited examples of Australia and Canada, which also have regions with different immigration systems.
Edinburgh government also referred to EU's arrangement with the Channel Islands and the Faroe Islands as precedent.
"There has to be a way to effectively square the circle," Sturgeon told a news conference.
Another independence vote?
In the June referendum, the "Leave" option claimed some 52 percent across the UK, but only 38 percent in Scotland. Some 80,000 Scottish jobs are possibly at risk over Great Britain leaving the single market.
According to Sturgeon, "a 'hard Brexit' would severely damage Scotland's economic, social and cultural interests."
The document also includes an option of Scotland restarting its independence bid and negotiating with the EU as a sovereign nation. Critics accuse Sturgeon of using Brexit as an excuse for another secession vote after her side lost in 2014.
May pledges to 'seriously' consider document
Responding the initiative out of Edinburgh, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that her government would look at the document "very seriously" in January. However, "there may be proposals that are impractical," she added.
She also pointed out that the government would negotiate an EU relationship for the whole of the nation.
"If Scotland were to become independent, then not only would it no longer be a member of the European Union, it would no longer be a member of the single market of the European Union and it would no longer be a member of the single market of the United Kingdom," May said.
"The single market of the United Kingdom is worth four times as much to Scotland as the single market of the European Union," she added.
London is due to trigger the exit procedure by end of March next year.
dj/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)