Academics have warned they would create a hard economic border with England and the Spanish government appeared to deliver their death knell by flatly rejecting them. Any differentiated deal for Scotland would require the consent of all 27 other member states.
But Ms Sturgeon said: “We are working to safeguard the opportunities that so many people in Scotland now take for granted.
“We are determined that Scotland’s vote to remain in the European Union will be respected – and that people in Scotland retain as many of the benefits of EU membership as possible, including the freedom to work, travel and study in other member states.”
She also highlighted developments such as the introduction of the baby box, which will see every mother in Scotland given a box of essential items for a newborn baby by summer next year, and the expansion of free early learning and childcare.
Ms Davidson described 2016 as a time when the “world felt that it shifted a little on its axis” and claimed “it became a different, often more troubling place.”
“So my hope for 2017 is that we see a little more stability and moderation. That applies right across the world – but it applies here at home too,” she said. “So, here in Scotland, that means we need to focus not on creating further division and instability; but on improving services and supporting business to get our economy moving again – to help families who are struggling to get by.”
Ms Dugdale said: “Remaining in the UK is good for jobs, it’s good for our economy and it’s good for our public services. Labour will never support the SNP’s attempt to force another referendum on the people of Scotland.”
Wiliie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said: “We need to put the politics of division behind us and focus on making Scotland a better country to live in.”