HOW to keep the bond between Scotland and Europe alive ahead of this year’s European election is set to be debated by an expert panel on the fourth anniversary of Brexit.

On Wednesday Europe for Scotland will host an online panel discussion called Beyond Brexit, which will dig into the question of how to keep Scotland relevant on the European political stage following the UK’s departure from the bloc.

In June, the European Parliament election will be the first in which Scottish citizens will not be able to vote but, given the country backed staying in the EU in 2016, Europe for Scotland is keen to ensure Scots are not forgotten about as talks of enlargement grow louder.

Europe for Scotland co-ordinator Andrea Pisauro said the event will be about looking to the future now there is a solid evidence base that Brexit was a “mistake”.

He said: “Four years is a long time but that sense of loss [in leaving the EU] is still very vivid and there is widespread opinion now that it was the wrong decision [Brexit].

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“But we do want to move beyond Brexit. We don’t just want to talk about the past but the future too.

“The future we want to build is one where the political and cultural links between Scotland and Europe are maintained and preserved and reinforced.”

Hosted by Pisauro, the panel will include director of European Alternatives Niccolo Milanese, who has been involved in many initiatives across Europe to promote democracy and political imagination.

Guido Silvestri, the co-president of Italian progressive party Volt Italia, openDemocracy’s special correspondent Adam Ramsay, journalist Jamie McKay and Europe for Scotland’s French ambassador Jane Mackinnon will also be on the panel to discuss the important role Scotland could continue to play in European politics.

Can Scotland make Europe stronger? 

Pisauro said the panellists, who will also take questions from the public, will talk about how Scotland could help tackle the rise of the far-right in Europe, open the continent’s eyes to the power of renewables and encourage the EU to take a stronger stand against Israel’s actions in Gaza if it is kept in the European conversation.

He told The National: “The most important task we have ahead of us is how to make Scotland relevant in the European election campaign.

“This is the first European election in which Scottish citizens will not be able to vote and the change in the composition of the European Parliament will also reflect this loss of representation.

“I think it’s going to be quite important to debate climate change and the climate transition in our talk.

The National: Andrea Pisauro (middle) hosted a discussion on whether the EU is complete without Scotland last yearAndrea Pisauro (middle) hosted a discussion on whether the EU is complete without Scotland last year (Image: NQ)

“We are seeing more and more resistance from industries and think tanks associated with people who use fossil fuels, and I think a country like Scotland, which has a huge economy that is dependent on renewables could help tackle that.

“I think we will talk about foreign policy too because in recent months there are concerns that many Europeans have about the war in Palestine and Israel. Many Europeans care about the lives of Palestinians and any feel the EU and the UK Government have gone too far in supporting Israel or not blocking Israel’s actions.

“We feel the Scottish Government has been a beacon of hope in this context by taking a different stance.”

The National previously told how Europe for Scotland launched a petition in November aiming to secure Scotland’s European future.

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The petition - entitled Would You Like Scotland To Be Part Of The Conversation On EU Enlargement? - asks European citizens and MEPs in the next Parliament to “remember us, consider our clear desire to rejoin the EU as an independent country and to keep Scotland part of the conversation on a democratic, open and fair EU enlargement”.

So far nearly 3400 Scots have signed the petition who have talked about the urgent need to restore historic ties between Scotland and Europe.

One person who signed said: “It would be heartening to know if MEPs and citizens of the EU would actually like Scotland back. In Scotland we are constantly told by the UK government that the EU has no interest in us, but we Scots are European, and feel that we would like to contribute to building a great European Union.”

Pisauro said an array of comments from supporters will be discussed as well as concerns people may have about a lack of EU enlargement in recent years.

He said: “Our standpoint is that enlargement has been blocked because of Brexit. It was a huge impediment to any reform in the EU.

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“Even before Brexit happened because there was a sense the UK might come out and this consumed a lot of energy. It was only after Brexit that the EU moved on a bit I think.

“Since Brexit there has been major reforms of the EU like the Next Generation EU package [supporting member states to recover from the pandemic] and the enlargement questions looms large now.”

Pisauro added: “Brexit was a mistake of historic proportion from a constitutional and democratic point of view and those that pushed for it haven’t yet admitted it.

“They pushed the UK in the wrong direction and they kept doing so without stepping back. There has now been time for reflection and we can see there have been a chain of mistakes.

“I don’t think it is spoken about enough that Scottish people were right all along and we want to keep the conversation alive between Scotland and Europe.”

You can watch the online event at 7pm via Europe for Scotland’s YouTube channel and through Independence Live.

To sign the petition, click here.