As Brexit continues to damage Scotland, independence offers a route back into the EU – Angus Robertson MSP

As we counted down the bells in our capital of Edinburgh, the fireworks had faded from the skies an hour ahead in Paris.

Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 12:30 pm
European Union supporters hold an anti-Brexit rally outside the Scottish Parliament on January 31, 2020 (Picture: Robert Perry/Getty Images)

Some of France’s most famous landmarks, however, remained illuminated through the night: the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Élysée Palace were just a few of the iconic French buildings which stood brightly lit in European blue, adorned with the golden stars of the European flag.

For as we began singing Auld Lang Syne, France had been an hour into its presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the next six months, France will be responsible for organising the meetings of the council, fostering cooperation between EU member states, and acting as co-legislator with the European Parliament.

Priorities for culture, in particular, include making it easier for European artists to travel and work across Europe and expanding Erasmus+, which celebrates its 35th year this month.

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Brexit has severely hampered the opportunities of young people and artists. Edinburgh, which boasts five campus universities and the world’s largest arts festival, has been particularly affected.

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I recently spoke with French Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot about how we can work together and lessen the damaging impact of a Brexit which Scotland voted against.

Similarly sized countries to Scotland, like Denmark and Ireland, have both presided over the Council of the European Union seven times.

Presiding over the council is a great responsibility, particularly in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the green and digital transitions, but one I am sure Scotland will have the privilege to undertake through independence and rejoining the EU.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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