THE youth wing of the SNP will kick off its first-ever international conference on Friday.

Aimed at boosting support for Scotland across Europe, the event will see delegates from Germany, Poland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Catalonia, Wales, and the youth wing of European Free Alliance (EFA) descend on Edinburgh.

Over the three-day conference, which will close on Sunday, delegates will hear from senior parliamentarians and speakers including SNP MPs Drew Hendry, Alyn Smith and Hannah Bardell, National columnist Lesley Riddoch and editor Laura Webster, and Business for Scotland founder Gordon Macintyre-Kemp.

A spokesperson said that the primary aim of the conference – held under the heading “Our European Future” – is to boost international support for Scottish independence and for Scotland rejoining the EU.

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It also aims to set out a “bold youth-led vision of an independent Scotland playing its full part in tackling global challenges such as climate change”.

Commenting, Young Scots for Independence (YSI) international officer and conference organiser Olaf Stando said: “With the UK taking a narrow, inward-looking path and Scotland continuing to pay a heavy price for Brexit we never voted for, international engagement is more important than ever.

“Scotland as a country, and the SNP as a party, are proudly internationalist – and this conference is testament to that.

“We have invited nearly 20 international guests from seven youth parties to Edinburgh in order to shine a light on the unequal Union that Scotland finds itself in, and to spell out a hopeful, progressive vision for an independent Scotland at the heart of the EU.”

Stando went on: “There is a lot of support for Scotland’s cause all over Europe, but it’s up to us to harness that goodwill and build on it. By showing our commitment to the EU and working together on common challenges, we’re forging a network of youth ambassadors for Scotland abroad.

“We’re looking forward to this conference being an injection of much-needed optimism in these turbulent times, as we strengthen our links with international friends in pursuit of a fairer, greener, more equal world.”

The conference will culminate with YSI and international delegates signing the “Edinburgh Pledge” of internationalism and cooperation on Calton Hill.

On Saturday, The National will publish an eight-page special supplement to coincide with the conference.