EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 29 (UPI) -- Maintaining support for a second referendum for independence, the Scottish government said its economic and energy policies were squarely aligned with the EU.
"I want to be clear to Parliament that whilst I believe that independence is the best option for Scotland, it is not my starting point in these discussions," Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a statement to Parliament. "My starting point is to protect our relationship with the EU."
The majority of the British voters taking part in a referendum on membership in the European Union last week voted in favor of leaving the bloc. By Sturgeon's account, more than 60 percent of the Scottish voters checked a ballot to stay in the European Union.
Based on that support, Sturgeon said the Scottish people voted to remain in the single EU market to advance their economy and collectively tackle issues like climate change and energy security.
More than half of the voters taking part in the first Scottish referendum for independence from the United Kingdom said no in September 2014. The sitting Scottish government at the time said it could draw on oil and gas revenue from the North Sea to support an independent economy powered by renewable energy resources, though analysts said independence would've resulted in a short-term economic crisis in Scotland.
With a United Kingdom, including Scotland, pulling away from the EU, Sturgeon said the economic future was uncertain and fraught with risk.
"Beyond the financial markets, there are suggestions that companies are considering relocating jobs and diverting investment, and that others are concerned about their future access to skilled workers," she said.
With crude oil prices down 50 percent from what they were in the wake of the Scottish vote for independence two years ago, energy companies like BP are cutting back and, as a result, thousands of jobs have been lost in the British oil and gas sector so far this year.
Sturgeon said her country is a good place for a business.
"During the [first] independence referendum, we were told that staying in the U.K. meant we could benefit from having guaranteed access to the EU -- that was a driving factor in many people's votes," she said. "That is no longer true."