Scottish Government to issue open letter to EU nationals and work with businesses.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will send a message of reassurance to EU nationals living in Scotland that they are welcome here.
The First Minister today met consuls and diplomats from EU countries and will distribute an open letter to EU citizens that reiterates and values the contribution EU migrants make to Scotland's economy, society and culture.
The First Minister also met business organisations and committed to work jointly, in Scotland and in Brussels, to ensure EU trading partners know that Scotland is open for business and to protect Scotland's interests.
Speaking after the meetings, the First Minister said:
"My message today - to EU citizens and to their representatives in Scotland - remains simple. Scotland is your home, you are welcome and your contribution to our economy, our society and our culture is valued.
"We will pursue every option to protect Scotland's position in Europe and, by extension, the interests of EU citizens who live and work here. I call again on the Prime Minister, and the potential candidates to succeed him, to give an immediate guarantee that the existing rights of the 173,000 EU nationals in Scotland will be protected.
"I listened today to consuls and diplomats on the engagement they've had with their citizens, and we'll continue our programme of engagement with EU communities in Scotland.
"A strong starting point is a clear message from me to EU citizens that wherever they live and whatever they do, they are welcome here, now and in the future.
"With both the consular network and business representatives, we have an open and positive channel of communication between the Scottish Government and the people and organisations they represent.
"While the path ahead is uncertain, every part of the EU must know that Scotland remains part of the EU and an attractive and stable place to do business, with a fundamentally strong economy. I agree with business organisations that we need to get that clear, unequivocal message out and also about the long term importance to Scotland of the EU, the single market and free movement.
"We will work closely with business organisations, sharing intelligence as issues arise and deepening relationships with businesses with strong EU connections. Business has suggested we establish an EU business hub within Government to act as a single point of contact and we will take forward that proposal. And we'll use our influence in Brussels and elsewhere to ensure that the message that Scotland is open for business is heard and understood and that we work together to protect Scotland's interests and the benefits that the EU and the single market deliver."
Pictures of the meetings with Consuls and with business organisations are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/firstministerofscotland
The First Minister's letter to EU citizens is available at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00502733.pdf
Attendees at today's meeting of Consuls were:
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs
Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
Dariusz Adler, Consul-General, Poland
John Clifford, Honorary Consul, Austria
Emmanuel Cocher, Consul-General, France
Mihai Delcea, Head of Consular Office, Romania
Miguel Utray Delgado, Consul-General, Spain
Frank Gill, Honorary Consul-General, Netherlands
Mark Hanniffy, Consul-General, Ireland
Dr Constantinos Hajivassiliou, Honorary Consul-General, Republic of Cyprus
Peter J Hillier, Honorary Consul, Luxembourg
Iain Lawson, Honorary Consul, Estonia
Yves Lemarchand, Honorary Consul, Belgium
Professor Stuart MacPherson, Honorary Consul, Denmark
Dr Paul Millar, Honorary Consul-General, Czech Republic
Craig Murray, Honorary Consul, Slovakia
Carlo Perotta, Consul General, Italy
James H Rust, Honorary Consul, Portugal
Jens-Peter Voss, Consul-General, Germany
Ana Wersun, Honorary Consul-General, Slovenia
Attendees at today's meeting with business organisations were:
Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown
Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Nora Senior, Chair, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Andy Willox OBE, Scottish Policy Convenor, Federation of Small Businesses
Stuart Mackinnon, Senior Public Affairs Advisor, Scotland, Federation of Small Businesses
Alison McGregor – CEO Scotland HSBC plc and Chair of CBI Scotland
Mari Tunby, assistant director (policy), CBI
Ross Martin, Chief Executive, SCDI
Dame Susan Bruce DBE, Vice Chair of SCDI
David Watt, Executive Director, Institute of Directors
Susan Deacon, Chair, Institute of Directors
Graeme Jones, Chief Executive, SFE