October 16, 2014
by blog administrator
This year has put Scotland firmly on the map, with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the referendum generating attention and interest from our international neighbours.
This international interest in Scotland continues – this was my experience this week, when I travelled to Brussels to meet MEPs, Ministers, and academics and to address a European Policy Centre (EPC) event on the subject of the EU, the referendum and EU reform.
Helpful meeting with Minister President of Flanders Geert Bourgeois on how Scotland and Flanders can learn from each other on more devolved powers.
Scotland’s constitutional journey and the importance we place on EU membership has become a talking point beyond our shores. That’s why I was grateful for the opportunity to reinforce Scotland’s commitment to the EU and the Scottish Government’s reform agenda at the EPC event in Brussels.
European Policy Centre event in Brussels.
The opportunities and benefits offered by membership are vitally important and we have a role in addressing some of the central challenges facing the EU at this crucial time.
In Scotland we are proud of our reputation as an outward looking nation. We work hard to secure a better future for all of our people, but also place importance on being a good global citizen. That’s why in the Scottish Government’s proposals to the Smith Commission, we said Scotland should have guaranteed rights to engage directly with EU institutions and decision-making processes in areas, which have considerable influence over the economic success and social welfare of Scotland.
This Government recognises the important role the EU can play in delivering peace, prosperity and social progress. That’s why our reform agenda prioritises economic and social policies that reflect the aspirations and concerns of people across Europe. We also seek to influence the UK government and EU institutions to advocate meaningful reform in areas such as economic growth and competitiveness, youth employment, workers’ rights, public health, climate change and energy security and free movement of persons.
Extra powers for Scotland in the EU would ensure we have the leverage we need to protect Scotland’s interests, making our distinctive, pro-European voice heard loud and clear in Brussels.
As our constitutional journey has shown, connecting people, politics and power has never been more important than it is now – not just for Scotland, but across Europe.
Download our booklet on Scotland’s Agenda for EU Reform.
Watch the EPC speech in full on Youtube or read the speech here.