OUR country remains scarred by Brexit. Our public services like the NHS are still struggling with the loss of European workers, businesses have lost access to markets, universities forced out of research programmes, students and young people remain frozen out of opportunities that their parents enjoyed, and the cost of living crisis has been made so much worse by our isolation from our European neighbours.

It’s bad enough that this scarring is the result of the catastrophic impact of Brexit. But to add insult to injury this act of monumental self-harm was imposed on Scotland against our democratic will. We have not consented to this, and so the enduring pain is not something we can meekly accept.

This week’s imposition of the unelected David Cameron (below) to the top of the UK Government serves as another reminder of the undemocratic nature of the UK that Scotland and our citizens must endure for as long as we are part of the Union. We are not, however, helpless. By making the case for independence and the agency and opportunity that would bring to all Scots, we will build an unstoppable force.

The National: David Cameron returns to the Cabinet (James Manning/PA)

On Friday, the Scottish Government will publish the latest in the Building a New Scotland series. This newest paper is focused on how, once we gain independence, Scotland will re-join the European Union. This is now a vital part of the argument for independence, one that speaks to the challenges and frustrations now felt by the clear majority of Scots.

Placing Scotland at the heart of the European Union underpins the economic case for independence. It will give businesses unfettered access to one of the biggest markets in the world, and open up opportunities to all our citizens across the continent. But the prize of EU membership is much bigger than this.

READ MORE: We must look at a different future for Scotland inside the EU

Joining the European Union will firmly establish Scotland on the global stage, empowering us to punch above our weight when it comes to the issues we care most about. Since its inception the EU has provided an essential space for European countries to collaborate and address environmental problems. Regulating chemicals, requiring products to meet minimum standards, protecting species and habitats all require collaboration. Pollution does not respect national boundaries, and in an interconnected world it's always easier to insist corporations change their ways when acting in large, globally significant blocs.

Rejoining the EU would mean Scotland not only benefiting from higher environmental standards, but we would be able to drive them forward too. Take the climate and nature crises. As a member of the EU we would be able to collaborate with and benefit from pan-European initiatives like the Green New Deal, which is driving investment in the green technologies and industries of the future, creating green jobs and helping decarbonise the continent.

In contrast, the UK Government continues to impose austerity on Scotland, refusing to invest and even undermining our renewables sector through high grid connection charges and failing to give the sector the support it needs.

No wonder that this week it was reported that the UK had fallen in the global rankings for attractiveness for renewable energy investment, behind France and Germany.

READ MORE: Warning of ‘Brexit 2.0’ with UK in 'permanent state of uncertainty' after leaving EU

Similarly, the EU has just agreed a new Nature Restoration Law that will establish legally binding commitments for all EU countries to work together to restore 20% of Europe’s land and seas.

By contrast, the Tories in England are enjoying the Brexit bonus of being able to ditch environmental standards that were preventing them from pumping yet more sewage into England’s rivers.

There is no doubt that Scotland’s environment and our climate would both benefit from EU membership, and, in turn, the EU would benefit from the contribution we could make to this critical agenda.

The Scottish Greens remain an active member party of the European Greens. We have sister parties across the EU, and as more and more of the European public wake up to the climate crisis and for a kinder, more compassionate politics, these parties are doing increasingly well.

Greens are in government in six EU countries and many regional and local governments. They represent a powerful force in the European Parliament and Brussels, and they are vocal in supporting Scotland's path to rejoining.

The Scottish Greens are working with them and others to help ensure that Scotland’s journey back into the EU is smooth and quick – and I look forward to the day when Scottish Green MEPs take their places alongside them.