Fiona Hyslop travels to Brussels to outline commitment to European cooperation
Fiona Hyslop will use a trip to Brussels today to emphasise the Scottish Government’s intention to maintain ties with Europe, telling MEPs “we are as committed now, as we were 20 years ago, to building and cooperating together”.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Brussels headquarters, Scotland House, to mark the 20th anniversary of devolution, the external affairs secretary will point to cooperation in renewable energy research as well as European funding for remote infrastructure projects as evidence of how Scotland benefits from EU membership.
She will also meet First Vice President of the European Parliament and Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness to discuss Brexit negotiations.
The trip comes amid growing concern over the prospect of a no deal Brexit, with both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt refusing to rule out leaving the EU without a deal during Conservative Party leadership hustings.
But while Johnson has insisted he is “not bluffing” about being willing to leave with no deal, Scottish Secretary David Mundell has warned the move would “fuel nationalist claims of a UK that is insensitive to Scotland’s needs”.
Speaking later today, Hyslop is expected to say: “Devolution has transformed politics in Scotland. It has ensured beyond any doubt that Scotland is a distinct political community within Europe.
“This is undoubtedly a pivotal period for the EU. It is also a critical time for Scotland. Decisions taken over the next few months will impact on us all for years to come.
“I want to assure you that we are as committed now, as we were 20 years ago, to building and cooperating together. We will keep welcoming our European friends to celebrate and work with us.
“From many research projects such as the pioneering renewables initiatives on Orkney, to major infrastructure schemes on the Western Isles, Scotland has benefited massively from working with European partners, as well as contributing our world-leading expertise and innovation.”