First minister mandated by Scottish Parliament to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU following Brexit
FIRST MINISTER NICOLA STURGEON has arrived in Brussels for talks with two of the EU’s most senior officials in her quest to preserve Scotland’s relationship with the EU following the UK’s vote to leave.
Among others, Sturgeon is expected to hold talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, two of the most influential leaders of the 28-member bloc of European nations.
The trip comes after the Scottish Parliament awarded Nicola Sturgeon an overwhelming mandate of 92 votes for a diplomatic mission to Brussels to secure Scotland’s place in the EU.
The trip also follows a speech in the European Parliament by SNP MEP Alyn Smith, who urged his fellow MEP’s to stand by Scotland to a rapturous applause.
Speaking to the BBC before the Sturgeon arrived in Brussels, Smith said: “The doors in Brussels are open and there is a willingness to speak to Scotland.
“We'll do whatever we need to do to best safeguard Scotland's best interests, but my job at the moment is to get as many doors open as possible and as many things as possible on the table.
“Brussels is good at finding solutions to complex questions where there is a political will and goodwill to do so, and hopefully I demonstrated yesterday that there is a lot of goodwill for Scotland right now.”
The mission to Brussels means that Scotland is pursuing its own independent foreign policy, separately from the rest of the UK.
Sturgeon has said she will pursue a range of options to maintain Scotland’s membership of the EU, though the circumstances under which a Scotland still within the EU could become a member of the bloc even with a UK exit would be unprecedented.
Sturgeon has also stated that a second referendum on Scottish independence is “highly likely”.
Picture courtesy of European Parliament
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