Scottish Government events in Brussels: 2020

A record of the events we held at Scotland House in Brussels in 2020.

Burns Night Concert: 29 January 2020

Scotland House Brussels hosted its annual Burns Concert featuring talented performers from Live Music Now, Robyn Stapleton and Jean Damei. The event was attended by around 150 guests and served as an opportunity to share Scottish cultural and hospitality with our European partners. The reception was hosted by Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Immigration and International Development, and featured traditional Scottish bagpipe music and renditions of Burns’ songs, as well as a traditional buffet of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. 

VIP Burns Supper: 28 January 2020

As part of Scotland House Brussels’ celebrations for Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland,  a VIP Burns Supper took place at the Residence of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU. The Supper was hosted by Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Immigration and International Development, and welcomed guests from the Croatian and German Permanent Representations, who will be hosting the EU Council Presidencies this year, as well as MEPs and other high level EU contacts. Classic Burns music and poetry performances were provided by talented students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Climate Change and the just transition: 5 February 2020

The first Scotland House Brussels discussion series event of 2020 was dedicated to Climate Change and the Just Transition, looking both at how Scotland can take a holistic approach to the just transition, and at the expected proposal of the Just Transition Fund, as announced by the European Commission in early December, 2019.

Chris Stark, CEO of the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC), was joined by Diederik Samson, Head of Cabinet of Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Professor Jim Skea, Chair of Scotland's Just Transition Commission, and Dr. Raphael L'Hoest, Deputy Director General for Competition and Structural Policy in the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.  Annika Hedberg, Head of Sustainable Prosperity for Europe Programme at the European Policy Centre moderated the session.

Scotland House concerts: 3 June to 1 July 2020

Throughout the month of June, a concert series called #ScotlandhouseSessions was organised together with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, featuring virtual performances for audiences to view from the comfort of their homes. The first concert on 03 June showcased a blend of traditional/jazz piano with RCS Alumni Fergus McCreadie. On 17 June, mezzo-soprano Fiona Joice and tenor Liam Bonthrone entertained online audiences with an eclectic mix of Scots, light classical and comedy songs. The series finished with a performance by classical guitarist and Toronto native, Time Beattie, celebrating Canada Day on 01 July by playing an eclectic mix of Canadian and Scots songs. All concerts are still available for viewing on YouTube by clicking the links above.

A greener recovery after COVID-19: 15 July 2020

Scotland House Brussels, in partnership with the European Friends of Scotland Friendship Group in the European Parliament, hosted a webinar exploring different perspectives on how a greener, more resilient and more inclusive recovery beyond the COVID-19 crisis can be achieved.

Benny Higgins, Chair of Scotland’s independent Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, provided an overview of the group’s report: “Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland”. Udo Bullmann MEP discussed the EU’s economic recovery and renewal measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Russell MSP, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Constitution, Europe and External Affairs, offered some reflections on the key challenges and shared opportunities to ensure a robust and sustainable recovery.

Towards a sustainable recovery: 15 September 2020

As part of its discussion Series, the first event in Scotland House Brussels’ new online series focussed on public sector collaboration as a means to drive innovation and deliver a green economic recovery.

Jo Green, Chief Officer Green Recovery at Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and Andy McDonald, Head of Low Carbon Transition at Scottish Enterprise, gave an overview of the Scottish context and how the country’s Environment and Economic Development agencies are working together to tackle green recovery.

Supporting economic recovery in the food and drink sector: 13 October 2020

This event in the Scotland House discussion series considered the impact of COVID-19 on the food and drink sector in Europe. It acknowledged the need for the industry to contribute to a strong economy-wide recovery and recognised the importance of  future growth. In this webinar experts Mella Frewen, Director General Food and Drink Europe, and David Thompson, CEO Food and Drink Federation Scotland, exchanged best practice and discussed new initiatives and opportunities on the horizon.

Songs of the past and poets of the future: 14 October 2020 – 16 October 2020

The Transpoesie poetry festival was organised for the tenth consecutive year by EU National Institutes for Culture Brussels, the network of European Union National Institutes for Culture based in the Belgian capital. In 2020, Scotland House Brussels hosted Scottish poet Iona Lee representing Scotland and participating in two of the Festival's events.

Songs of the past: Iona joined five poets, performers and singers from Austria, Belgium, Friesland, Poland and the Netherlands as each share their melodies and rhythms.

Poets of the future: The closing event of Transpoesie looked at the future, with Iona taking part in a panel of young voices, poets and authors who are experimenting with the boundaries of the written word and are looking for new ways to engage their public.

European Week of Regions and Cities event: 14 October 2020

Scotland House Brussels and the Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) hosted a session on ‘Implementing the Wellbeing Economy: Scottish and EU perspectives’ to coincide with the European Week of Regions and Cities. The discussion featured Co-President of the Club of Rome Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Director of EDAS Robert Pollock and Wellbeing Economy Alliance Spokesperson Mark Langdon who shared thoughts on Scotland’s journey to a Wellbeing Economy and how the agenda is developing from an EU perspective.

European Week of Regions and Cities event: 26 October 2020

This event looked at how the Scottish approach to collaboration and cross-agency and cross-sector working continues to make Scotland a relevant and natural partner for our European colleagues and friends, with the goal of delivering on an ambitious sustainable, green recovery. Jan Reid, Senior Manager, Low Carbon Technologies at Scottish Enterprise, Paul O'Brien, Deep Wind Cluster Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise took part in the discussion, exchanging views on Scotland's energy transition and innovative ways of delivering the energy transition.

Scotland’s Winter Festivals: 27 November 2020 to 30 November 2020

As every year, Scotland House Brussels marked the celebrations of Scotland’s National Day, St. Andrew’s Day, and the start of Scotland’s Winter Festival with a virtual festival of music, performance and digital art from Scotland.

On Friday, 27 November, award-winning folk musician and acoustic guitarist Jenn Butterworth and students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland performed a mix of music and spoken word.

On Saturday, 28 November, Live Music Now Scotland offered a taste of Scottish music and Gaelic song with performances from Scottish musicians Kilda, Ainsley Hamill & Alistair Paterson, and Aves O’ May.

On Monday, 30 November, Heather Lander, a member of Glasgow art collective Cryptic, presented “Primordial Waters Revisited”, digital video art inspired by the Scottish coastline, featuring music from Alex Smoke.

St. Andrew’s Day Lecture with Alan Mahon: 2 December 2020

As part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, Scotland House Brussels hosted its traditional St. Andrew’s Day Lecture. This year’s lecture focussed on the importance of compassion and collaboration to help us find better responses to common challenges from COVID to climate change – working together to make the world a better place. Alan Mahon, Social Entrepreneur and CEO of Brewgooder, shared the story behind the mission of Brewgooder and discussed how compassion can play a central role in the coming years for Scotland and its international partners.



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