Scottish independence may boost Nordic partnership

Independence could improve Scotland's regional co-operation with countries including Denmark. Picture: AFP

Independence could improve Scotland's regional co-operation with countries including Denmark. Picture: AFP

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REGIONAL co-operation with countries such as Iceland, Denmark and Norway would improve significantly under Scottish independence, the SNP’s leader at Westminster has told an audience in Reykjavik.

Angus Robertson MP, the party’s foreign affairs and defence spokesman, spoke at the Centre for Arctic Studies in the Icelandic capital on the “geopolitics of an independent Scotland”.

The speech is part of a visit in which he is also meeting government and opposition representatives in the country, as well as officials from different ministries.

Addressing the audience, Mr Robertson said: “Scottish independence will bring significant improvements to regional co-operation with neighbours such as Iceland, Denmark and Norway.

“Environmental challenges to the High North and Arctic will impact on us all most directly. We have a shared interest in taking these challenges as well as the opportunities seriously.

“Scotland is in a vital geo-strategic position with the Iceland Gap to our north, the Atlantic to our west and the North Sea to our east.

“The SNP has committed itself to security stability with our neighbouring northern allies who are all Nato members. With a commitment to conventional maritime priorities we will be a reliable and dependable partner.”

The UK Government is “failing to take its Nato responsibilities seriously in the region”, the Moray MP also claimed during his speech.

“Not only has the UK withdrawn from northern air policing but has also let years pass without contributing naval vessels to the Nato northern maritime patrol group.

“Scotland is a northern maritime nation without any maritime patrol aircraft or serious ocean-capable convention vessels.

“The UK Government is responsible for these capability gaps and policy shortcomings. An independent Scottish SNP government will rectify this as a top priority.”

Mr Robertson recently undertook a similar program in Denmark, in which he spoke at Copenhagen University on regional co-operation with an independent Scotland.

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