On 8 and 9 November Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited Dublin to give the keynote speech at the first meeting of the “National Conversation” established by the European Movement Ireland. The National Conversation aims to discuss the issues around the UK’s European referendum and the potential implications for Ireland.
Fiona Hyslop told the European Movement Ireland that "the Scottish Government believes that the UK's continuined membership of the EU is in the best interests of Scotland, the rest of the UK, Ireland and the rest of the EU and that's why we will continue to make the positive, constructive case for remaining in the EU.
"I want Scotland to be part of a European union in which the Member States and the EU Institutions work together to put the interests of Europe's citizens at the heart of their policies and which moves with the times - a European Union which embraces solidarity and its social responsibilities; and mutually supports its peoples, enterprises and governments.
Thanks to the dreams of visionary leaders like Jean Monnet and Robert Schumann, which inspired the creation of the European Union, citizens of the EU live in a time of peace and stability which we so often take for granted. As one of Europe's finest poets, WB Yeats, reminds us: 'In dreams begins responsibility'."
Whilst in Dublin Fiona Hyslop announced the appointment of John Webster to lead the new Dublin Innovation and Investment Hub. The founding of the Hub is not only an important milestone in the delivery of an important Programme for Government commitment, but is also a demonstration of the Scottish Government's commitment to develop a working relationship with Ireland as a key EU partner and their strong links already established with our Irish partners.
Mr Webster, who is well known in Ireland for his work in the British Embassy, will lead a dedicated Scottish team to form new and enhance business relationships on both sides of the Irish Sea. The Hub in the British Embassy will open in January 2016 and will provide dedicated support to enhancing high-value economic, academic and innovation partnerships between Scotland and Ireland. Scottish exports to Ireland are worth £920 million, according to the latest figures.
Read the full speech here: Scotland's Future in the EU - A Renewed Vision of Solidarity, Social Protection and Mutual Support.