Scotland's international policy statement 2017

This policy statement builds on the four strategic objectives outlined in Scotland's International Framework.


The Scottish Government has a strong and consistent commitment to international engagement. In 2008 we published Scotland’s International Framework, setting out how our international work supports the Government’s central purpose of creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth. Indeed, Scotland’s Economic Strategy places ‘internationalisation’ at its heart alongside innovation, investing in our people and inclusivity. We are equally proud of, and committed to, Scotland’s reputation as a good global citizen, making a unique contribution to the international community.

Over the decade since the International Framework was first published, Scotland has experienced significant social and economic change. No single event has had a greater impact than the result of the United Kingdom’s EU Referendum. This now threatens to redefine Scotland’s place in Europe and the world, although the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. Brexit threatens our future economic and social prosperity and risks our ability to play a full and constructive part in international affairs. It affects many elements of this Policy Statement, but also means that the Statement and the underpinning Framework are more essential than ever to communicate Scotland’s open and welcoming approach.

While the referendum outcome and consequential decision to leave the EU have a significant impact on the context of our International Framework, its strategic objectives remain unchanged.

  • Strengthen our external relationships, partnerships, roles and networks;
  • Build our reputation and international attractiveness, boosting our trade and investment;
  • Enhance our global outlook to set the domestic conditions for success; and
  • Encourage engagement with the European Union and protecting Scotland’s place in Europe.

These objectives were agreed between the Scottish Government and its partners in 2015. They remain entirely valid. The Framework retains these objectives, ensuring a consistent direction guiding our priorities for specific countries, regions and sectors and ensuring that we embed internationalisation in all that we do. The various policy areas covered within the Framework sit across many of these strategic objectives and are not exclusive to any single outcome.

In June 2017, we published the ‘Enterprise & Skills Review: Report on Phase 2’, setting out actions to improve coordination of international activity across the spectrum of policy and in September 2017 we published our programme document ‘A Nation with Ambition – The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2017-2018’ looking ahead to the next year. As Scotland’s ambitions grow, so does the importance of our international reputation and the need to work with others to contribute to the success of the global community.


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