AN independent Scotland’s membership of the EU will put rocket boosters on our economy, instead of being hamstrung by the UK’s stagnating decline.

I recognise that I am likely preaching to the choir here but as I’ve outlined in a few of my previous articles, there is no serious debate in the independence movement around where Scotland’s best future lies – other options are substandard and would be against our best interests.

Fundamental to this is membership of the EU’s single market – arguably its biggest asset and one which we benefitted from membership of for nearly three decades.

Yet the single market we will look to join will be different to the one we’ve left. Ahead of a Special European Council taking place on April 17-18, EU leaders are expected to call for a deepening of the single market as well as see tangible progress towards a capital markets union.

Contrary to the skewed image portrayed by large parts of the UK media, the EU is not a stagnant institution but one which continuously looks to improve itself and develop an environment beneficial to its citizens.

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The single market was established on November 1, 1993. With its establishment, EU member states created an area without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the four freedoms of people, goods, services and capital.

Today, from Riga in the Baltics to Valletta in the Mediterranean and Dublin in Ireland, euros and people flow seamlessly where once there were numerous bureaucratic obstacles (as the UK now experiences on a daily basis with the EU). The single market is the engine which drives the largest economy in the world and its largest trading bloc.

A lot has changed in those 30 years. The digital age ushered the internet into all our homes and phones. Climate change is reshaping our environment and causing severe disruption for communities across our planet.

The EU itself has changed, enlarging from 12 members in 1993 to 27 today, with other states such as Ukraine, Georgia, and Albania all looking to accede.

The world is ever-changing, and the EU recognises that it must continually adapt if it is to succeed in a more unstable geopolitical landscape. The Commission’s website outlines some of the barriers within the single market it is looking to eliminate over time, such as how to facilitate a more seamless flow of energy, capital and goods, regulatory harmonisation, as well as simplification of rules on the recognition of vocational qualifications.

How these challenges may be addressed could depend on upcoming reports from two former Italian prime ministers.

Enrico Letta’s report on the future of the single market and former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi’s report on the future of European Competitiveness are likely points of conversation at the Special European Council.

Some of their proposals are already being widely discussed and have been around for years, such as harmonisation of the bloc’s bankruptcy and corporate tax laws, as well as completing the creation of a capital markets union.

A “new European competitiveness deal” would look to deepen the single market by removing barriers, ensuring more effective enforcement of existing rules, empowering smaller companies, increasing investment in digital infrastructure and use of artificial intelligence, and developing a more supportive environment for research and commercial innovation.

Contrast this with the rather weak-beer solutions offered by both the Tory and Labour parties here and it is clear to see the direction of economic travel.

The EU may be engaged in highly complex discussions of economic reform but that is a good thing – governments are meant to improve their citizens’ lives and this means not shying away from difficult conversations and intense debates.

Neither the Tories nor Labour are offering a remedy to the economic decline successive UK governments have presided over and subsequently accelerated by Brexit.

Indeed, the Labour Party seem intent on doubling down on Tory failures by refusing to consider rejoining either the single market or the customs union, both policies which at a stroke would do wonders for your income, the businesses that operate on our shores as well as the public purse.

We are all aware of the economic and infrastructure challenges facing us. The Scottish Government is doing what it can. But while we are tethered to the UK, it will only be able to operate with both hands tied behind its back as Westminster holds the economic levers.

Around half of Scots back independence – our challenge is to ensure that we present a compelling vision to bring more onside.

As we look enviously across the sea to our European neighbours who get on with the serious business of governing for Europe’s citizens, we can see the opportunities that independence will bring to the people of Scotland.

Let’s make sure that those who are undecided are aware that there is an alternative to the stagnating Westminster status quo – independence in Europe.