"Friends of Scotland" group launched in Brussels

SNP MEPs Aileen McLeod, Christian Allard, and Heather Anderson, as well as Scottish Lib Dem MEP Sheila Ritchie, today met for the establishment of the European Friends of Scotland, a cross-party, cross-country friendship group that will strengthen and maintain Scotland’s relationship with our European friends and neighbours.

Originally conceived by former MEP Alyn Smith, the group launched today in a packed meeting in the European Parliament and was attended by Scotland’s Europe Minister Ben Macpherson.

Representatives from EU member states including Germany, Poland and Sweden gathered to reaffirm their commitment to a good working relationship between the European Parliament and Scotland, a remain-voting country that on Friday will be taken out of the EU against its will by the UK Government.

In a joint statement, the SNP MEPs said: 

“This is a sad week for Scotland, but it is also a time of hope. 

“Our EU friends and colleagues have not turned their backs on us; they want us to stay, they want to maintain close links and contacts with Scotland, and they have seen the world of difference between the approach of the Scottish Government and that of the UK Government. We have had such a fantastic, warm welcome by everyone here with lots of support for Scotland going forward. 

“Scotland has built up excellent working relationships over our decades in the EU, and this will not go to waste, whatever Brexit brings. The setting up of such a friendship group underlines our commitment to continuing to maintain and develop a positive relationship with our European friends and partners whose values we share. 

"Given the shared European and global challenges we all face, close links between the European Parliament and Scotland will be important as we work together to tackle these, such as the climate and environmental emergency."