Equality, opportunity, community: New leadership - A fresh start

This publication sets out the First Minister’s vision for Scotland and the outcomes he and his government aim to achieve by 2026.

Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture

Angus Robertson MSP

I believe that Scotland's future should be in Scotland's hands; and that Scotland's interests are best advanced through relationships of equality and respect, enabling the governments on these islands to work together to tackle shared challenges such as the cost of living crisis, child poverty, and the climate emergency.

Our vision of Scotland is as an outward-looking nation, committed to good global citizenship, with a strong, respected voice in the world.

Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. We want the closest possible relations with the EU and our European neighbours based on shared values: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

So, by 2026 my colleagues and I will have done everything in our power to reduce the damage to Scotland caused by the UK Government's hard Brexit wherever possible.

I will continue to work with my Cabinet colleagues to ensure that our international work supports the delivery of domestic policy goals, in particular seizing the economic and social opportunities in delivering net zero, and increasing prosperity through innovation, greater fairness and a wellbeing economy.

Scotland enjoys a rich and distinct culture sector, valuable for the contribution it makes to our wellbeing as we recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic, and to Scotland's economic and social life and international reputation, including through the major events hosted here. We will build on this strong foundation by continuing to invest in our culture and arts sectors, working with them to increase their resilience and future sustainability.

With my Cabinet colleagues and the Minister for Independence, I will build the case for a socially just, independent Scotland within the European Union, so that Scotland can achieve its true potential and once again take its place within the family of independent nations. We will engage with people and communities across Scotland and provide the information they need to make an informed choice about Scotland's future.

As the Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, External Affairs and Culture, working with my Cabinet colleagues, I commit that by 2026 I will have:

  • Built the case for a socially just, independent Scotland within the European Union.
  • Given the people of Scotland the information they need to make an informed choice about whether Scotland should become an independent country.
  • Protected continued alignment with the vital safeguards and high standards Scotland benefitted from as part of the European Union.
  • Made the democratic case for the powers and responsibilities of the Scottish Parliament to be protected and enhanced, including through the power to decide Scotland's future.
  • Launched new international development programmes with our focus countries partnering with them to tackle non-communicable diseases, to support inclusive education for those who have additional support needs, and to advance the rights of women and girls.
  • Built a truly international network of Scottish Connections by implementing our Diaspora Strategy, published on 11 April.
  • Pressed for the UK's early return to the Horizon Europe research programme.
  • Sought improvements to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that materially improve outcomes for Scottish people and business.
  • Supported and promoted the culture sector and those who work in it, both at home and internationally, with a specific focus on measures to increase its sustainability and resilience.
  • Clearly demonstrated the integral part that the Scottish cultural sector plays in the lives of people across Scotland and how it contributes to the wider work of government.
  • Successfully delivered major events that contributed to Scotland's economy and promoted Scotland on the world stage.


Email: pfg@gov.scot

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