Scotland needs to '˜go Nordic' to limit Brexit fallout

Riga's Old Town. Picture: Getty ImagesRiga's Old Town. Picture: Getty Images
Riga's Old Town. Picture: Getty Images
Holyrood's newly-updated Nordic-Baltic policy could be set to boost opportunities in everything from tourism to social security and education.

That’s the view of Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald, who’s depute convener of the Scottish Parliament’s cross party group on Nordic nations, following a new policy statement launched in Riga.

He says examples of how Scotland could benefit from stronger links with Nordic and Baltic countries include studying Finnish action on the attainment gap and Estonia’s approach to digital transformation.

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Norway’s expertise in carbon capture and storage and an imaginative bottle return scheme in Sweden are also highlighted.

Mr MacDonald said: “The risks posed by Brexit make it ever more important that Scotland maximises economic, cultural and social links with Nordic and Baltic nations.

“Being a regular visitor to Scandinavia and having lived and worked in Norway and Denmark in the 80’s and 90’s I have long been of the view that our links should be encouraged and nurtured.

“My recent visit to Latvia reinforced the view that there is so much goodwill towards Scotland from our northern neighbours”.

Launching the policy statement in Riga the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe Dr Alasdair Allan said: “As the UK Government continues to limit Scotland’s input to the Brexit negotiations – and as we hurtle ever closer to a damaging and poorly-planned EU departure – it is all the more important that we strengthen our international relationships and protect Scottish interests.

“Our first Nordic-Baltic Policy Statement in 2014 was a catalyst for greater collaboration with countries in the region.

“A great example was the launch of Scotland’s Baby Box, based on the experiences of Finland.

“Looking ahead, there are many areas we can work together, share our expertise and learn from others.”

• This article first appeared on our sister site, Falkirk Herald