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Northern neighbours

Published: 30 Sep 2017 00:01
Part of:
International

Brexit highlights need for deeper Nordic and Baltic cooperation.

The risks posed by Brexit make it ever more important that Scotland maximises economic, cultural and social links with Nordic and Baltic nations.

That was the message from Europe Minister Dr Alasdair Allan, as he launched a refreshed Nordic-Baltic Policy Statement while meeting regional representatives on a visit to Latvia.

The document identifies opportunities for strengthening connections in a diverse range of policies – such as tourism, social security, fisheries, education, energy and the environment.

Specific examples highlighted include:

  • Norwegian expertise in carbon capture and storage
  • Sweden’s bottle return scheme
  • Finnish action on the attainment gap
  • Estonia’s approach to digital transformation

Dr Allan said:

“As the UK Government continues to limit Scotland’s input to the Brexit negotiations – and as we hurtle ever closer to a damaging and poorly-planned EU departure – it is all the more important that we strengthen our international relationships and protect Scottish interests.

“Our first Nordic-Baltic Policy Statement in 2014 was a catalyst for greater collaboration with countries in the region. A great example was the launch of Scotland’s Baby Box, based on the experiences of Finland. Looking ahead, there are many areas we can work together, share our expertise and learn from others.

“Scotland wants a continuing close relationship with the rest of Europe, particularly our northern neighbours, and I believe this new Nordic-Baltic statement can help articulate and secure many important connections in the future.”

Background

Read the Nordic-Baltic Policy Statement.

Dr Allan launched the statement while participating in the Riga Conference, an annual gathering of foreign policy and diplomacy experts focused on the Baltic region, where he spoke on the impact of Brexit.