The Scottish Government will continue to stand up for EU nationals who have chosen to make Scotland their home, Fiona Hyslop has told a conference in Brussels today (Thursday, 13 October).
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs told delegates at the Friends of Europe annual conference, that the Scottish Government is considering all possible steps to protect Scotland’s relationship with and place in the EU, and that the contribution EU nationals make in Scotland will continue to be strongly valued.
More than 250 participants were expected to attend the event, including ministers, former heads of state, European commissioners, parliamentarians, academics, international organisation representatives and young European leaders and media representatives.
Ahead of the conference, Hyslop said: “Scotland has delivered a strong, unequivocal vote to remain in the EU and the Scottish Government welcomes that outcome. The UK vote means that Scotland risks being taken out of Europe against its will and that is democratically unacceptable. Our priority is to protect all of Scotland’s interests.
“The Scottish Government strongly values the contribution that EU citizens make in Scotland, just as we hope Scottish citizens in Europe are equally valued, and we will continue to press the UK Government for the protection of their right to live and work here. We have been clear about the benefits of being a member of the EU – the prosperity and economic opportunities which membership of the single market brings to our nation; the social protections it gives to our workers; the human rights it affords our people; and the important standards which protect our environment.
“Scotland has always been an outward looking nation and to this day we actively and enthusiastically collaborate with our European friends. We are also a nation that believes strongly in European solidarity so that we can tackle today’s global challenges such as climate change, terrorism and the refugee crisis together.
“We are now in uncharted territory. Brexit has not yet happened – Article 50 will not be invoked until next year. We are at the start of a process and we are ready to work creatively and positively with the UK Government and with all of our friends across Europe to shape a future that respects the interests of Scotland and the UK and benefits all of our citizens.”