SNP Calls on Government to Explore Formal Nordic Links

12 June 2008
Scottish National Party Parliamentarians Rob Gibson MSP and Alyn Smith MEP have welcomed the adoption as policy by the Scottish National Party of a motion drafted by them on building links with the West Nordic and Nordic Councils.

Mr Smith, a member of the European Parliament's delegation to Norway, Iceland and the West Nordic Council has written to Europe Minister Linda Fabiani MSP to request a meeting to report back on discussions he has had with officials of both organisations discussing Scottish involvement and to pass on details to the government.

Speaking after the unanimous vote at SNP National Council, Rob Gibson said:

"It is clear Scotland is a Nordic country, at least in part, and it is only right that we should explore links with countries and organisations that could help us build a better Scotland.

"Scotland and the Nordic countries have a long and colourful history which has had benefits for the area we now call the 'Arc of Prosperity'. It is time to start a new chapter in that history and start working closer together for our mutual benefit."

Mr Smith added:

"I have spent a lot of time in Norway, Iceland and elsewhere discussing how the Scots government is looking to build links and discuss real issues of real concern to folk in Scotland. It seems to me to be a no-brainer that we should look into a formal arrangement with the Nordic Council and the West Nordic Council. They are both looking for a way in which like-minded countries can meet to discuss ways of co-operating on issues like energy, transport, fisheries management and trade policy. Any one of these topics are of real concern and interest to folk in Scotland and as a major country with family and historical Nordic connections it is only sensible that we should play a role in that process.

"It also of course allows us to play our part as a responsible nation in the world, like they are, at a time when the UK government with the 42 hour detention vote demonstrates a policy which offends both Scottish and Nordic values. We have more politically in common with these countries and we should formalise links with them."