Scottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council

31.01.20 | News
Nordiska rådet besökte Skottlands parlament den 30 januari 2020.

Nordiska rådet besökte Skottlands parlament den 30 januari 2020.

Arne Fogt Bergby

The Nordic Council visited the Scottish parliament on 30 January. Emma Harper MSP, Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh MSP, President of the Nordic Council, Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, member of the Presidium of the Nordic Council Hans Wallmark, Vice-President of the Nordic Council, Oddný Harðardóttir and Beatrice Wishart MSP.

A delegation from the Presidium of the Nordic Council visited the Scottish parliament on 30 January, the day before Brexit. It met the Presiding Officer, Ken Macintosh, and several other MSPs. Both sides stressed the close historical and cultural bonds between the Nordic region and Scotland and the importance of continued co-operation.

Given the timing of the visit to Holyrood, it was only natural that discussions centred around Brexit – what it means for Scotland and its impact on co-operation with the Nordic region and the EU.

The Scottish and Nordic representatives all stressed the importance of continuing to work closely together post-Brexit.

“Historically, there have always been close ties between the Nordic countries, Scotland and the rest of Britain. The Nordic Council will do everything in its power to ensure that this close co-operation continues. Despite Brexit, we want Scotland to know that she will always have friends in the Nordic countries,” said the President of the Nordic Council, Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir.

Close partners even after Brexit

Gunnarsdóttir headed the delegation, which also consisted of the Vice-president, Oddný Harðardóttir, and Presidium member Hans Wallmark.

The visit is part of the Nordic Council’s international strategy, which states that the UK will continue to be a natural partner for the Nordic countries after Brexit. A delegation will also visit the UK parliament later in the year.

“I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is for our countries to maintain close relations with the British Isles. We would, of course, have preferred that Britain had remained in the EU, but we must live with the reality of the situation and make the most of it,” Hans Wallmark said.

Shared values

The Scottish hosts also stressed the close ties between Scotland and the Nordic region.

“It was a real pleasure to welcome colleagues from the Nordic Council to the Scottish Parliament today. The historical, cultural and geographical bonds between us are already substantial, and with an agenda covering everything from biodiversity to fake news, it is clear that we are also grappling with many of the same issues. I have every hope that our friendship will continue to develop and flourish,” said the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Ken Macintosh.