External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson will cement Scotland’s strong and close ties with the EU on a visit to Brussels from 31 May to 1 June.
The visit coincides with EU Green Week, and Mr Robertson will stress shared priorities on climate goals and biodiversity loss during meetings with Members of the European Parliament, its Friends of Scotland Group and senior Brussels-based diplomats.
Speaking ahead of the two-day visit, Mr Robertson said:
“Last November, Scotland was proud to host leaders from across the world at the COP26 climate change summit.
“We are committed to becoming a net zero nation by 2045, and will continue to work closely with our European neighbours, friends and counterparts to deliver on our shared climate goals.
“Like many European countries, Scotland’s population has been shaped by migration.
“EU citizens have enriched communities in every local authority, and in recent decades free movement within the EU has helped reverse population decline in Scotland.
“European markets dominate our international trade. Indeed, for more than 45 years, individuals, businesses and communities across Scotland experienced the social, economic and cultural benefits of membership of the EU.
“Ensuring the closest possible relationship with the EU is therefore fundamental to Scotland’s future, which is why we will continue to foster ever close ties with our EU partners.
“The Scottish Government’s aim is to re-join the EU as an independent country as soon as possible.”
Another key message will be the Scottish Government’s opposition to the UK Government’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Robertson added:
“We are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, so for the UK Government to threaten to breach an international treaty which could spark a disastrous trade war is folly in the extreme.
“Despite numerous requests, the UK Government has shown no willingness to engage on key issues for Scotland, such as trade and border control.
“We continue to press the UK Government to pull back, and focus instead on dialogue with our EU partners and finding a durable, agreed solution to the NI Protocol.”