First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has emphasised Scotland’s shared values with the European Union during a series of engagements in Brussels.
Speaking to an audience including EU diplomats at the European Policy Centre, she said that Scotland’s task now that membership of the EU had ended was to find a voice as an independent nation which could take its place on the world stage.
In the meantime, the Scottish Government will use its devolved powers to maintain, as far as it is able, the closest possible ties with the EU, while working towards independence.
Earlier the First Minister met EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier to discuss the UK/EU talks, which are due to begin next month. She also spoke to EU Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager about the EU's Green Deal and the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the dynamics of digitisation and Artificial Intelligence.
The First Minister said:
“It was already clear, and it has been reaffirmed to me in the constructive meetings I’ve held today, that there is genuine goodwill in the EU towards Scotland.
“We are leaving the EU at a time when we have never benefited from it more, and when we have never needed it more to achieve our ambitions.
“On this visit to Brussels I have made clear how important it is for Scotland to remain close to the EU.”
The First Minister’s speech to the European Policy Centre is available on the Scottish Government website.