David Cameron’s announcement that UK ministers will be allowed to campaign for either side in the EU referendum is “deeply worrying and could potentially move the UK closer to the EU exit door,” said the Scottish Government’s Europe minister Humza Yousaf.
“It means whatever the outcome of the renegotiation (on the UK’s relationship with the EU) the UK Government will not be making a unified case for remaining in the European Union,” said Yousaf.
“That is hugely significant, and means that it is more important than ever that those who do support Scotland and the UK’s continued EU membership make the case as strongly as possible.
“The Scottish Government will be at the forefront of that argument in the coming months.”
Yousaf said Scotland benefits enormously from being part of the EU, which is a crucial export market accounting for almost half of Scottish exports in 2013, worth about £12.9 billion.
He said such trade with the EU directly or indirectly supports more than 300,000 Scottish jobs.
“The Scottish Government has not been consulted on the detail of the Prime Minister’s renegotiations despite our repeated calls for Scotland to have a full and formal voice in the process to ensure our interests are properly considered and represented.
“Mr Cameron should share details of his proposals while there is still time, so we can be confident Scotland’s views will be considered and our vital interests protected.
“Exit from the EU would pose a direct threat to jobs, investment and international influence.
“That is why the Scottish Government is determined to do all we can to secure a vote which keeps Scotland and the rest of the UK in the EU, and protect the benefits we all derive from our place in Europe.”