The European Movement in Scotland (EMiS) and eu+me are encouraging people to join their campaigns on the day that marks the end of UK membership of the EU Single Market and Customs Union.
The campaigns also come a day after the House of Commons passed the Bill that approved the new trade deal between the UK and the EU and marked the end of the Brexit transition period. The Bill passed despite not receiving consent from the UK’s devolved administrations.
Former Labour MP Mark Lazarowicz, convener of EMiS, said that Scotland needed to rejoin the EU “as swiftly as possible – whatever its constitutional status”, and that while coronavirus restrictions forced the cancellation of planned street protests against Brexit, including at the Scottish Parliament and UK Government hub in the capital, future protests were being arranged.
"With all the crises the world faces, the argument for the European Union is stronger than ever – and opinion polls show that support for EU membership is higher than it was at the time of the 2016 referendum, both in Scotland and across the whole of the UK,” he said.
"Whether Scotland becomes part of the EU again as an independent nation state, or through the UK as a whole, we know it will not happen overnight. But being a realist doesn’t mean we stop campaigning for our country to be part of that wider European project again."
The new director of Scotland-based campaign group eu+me, Alastair MacColl, has also said the campaign to rejoin the EU “begins now” and that his organisation will “concentrate on building impetus for Scotland regaining its rightful place at the heart of Europe, inch by inch, issue by issue”.
He said: “When I wake up on January 1, I’ll still be European. That identity and the values that underpin it won’t have changed. But a whole series of rights, benefits and freedoms will have been taken from me without my consent.
“But, the process of understanding how Scotland and the wider UK will negotiate life outside the EU is just beginning.
"With so many crucial issues still unresolved, this trade deal just marks the start of a new relationship with Europe. So, rather than leaving the definition of that relationship to politicians, it’s more important than ever that we work together to campaign for the rights, freedoms and opportunities that we’ve always enjoyed.
"Inch by inch and issue by issue. They’re simply too important to relinquish easily.”
He added: “I’ll be campaigning with a network of like-minded pro-Europeans, for those social and democratic values that make us European. And to support the clear wish of the Scottish people, that we maintain and build on our rightful place at the heart of Europe.”
EMiS has launched a pledge for supporters to sign, which reads: “We declare that Scotland is a European country, embracing our common values of peace, democracy, human rights, equality, sustainability and solidarity.
"The clear wish of the great majority of the Scottish people is that Scotland should be within the European Union. We commit to working to bring this about, whatever Scotland’s constitutional status.”