25 YOUTH leaders from across Europe descended on Stirling for Young Scots for Independence’s (YSI) Our European Future conference this weekend.

Among them was representation from eight political parties spanning Germany, Denmark, Poland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as the European Free Alliance (EFA).

The topic? Discussing Scotland’s path to independence and a way back to EU membership.

And The National spoke with attending delegates to hear their thoughts.

“Scotland has the right to have another referendum”

The National:

Lu Greenlees (left) and Jakob Hass (right) are activists within Jusos – the Working Group of Young Socialists in the SPD, Germany’s centre-left political party.

Brexit is actually what got me into politics in the first place.,” Jakob told The National.

“Leaving the EU, sorry for my language, but how stupid can you be? I also believe Scotland has the right to decide its own future, and everything else is a democratic denial.

“I think Scotland has the right to have another referendum.”

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Lu, who is a German-Scot, said: “I think it's very important to have a diverse EU. I think Scotland's got a very unique perspective, with it not being on the continent.

“I think Scotland has a very unique position and rejoining would be very important for the EU too.”

Jakob agreed. “With freedom of movement. Edinburgh, Glasgow – they are brilliant cities to study,” he said.

Lu added: “Also, the policies that you have here. Schooling, you have free healthcare.”

“You've got so many policies that I think other countries should learn from and should really look at. The first country to offer free period products. I think Scotland can be a good influence for other countries.”

"It's necessary to keep these international connections going"

The National:

Support for Scottish independence goes without saying for Joshua Declan McCarthy (right) and Brandon Ham (left) from Plaid Ifanc – the youth movement of centre-left Welsh indepndence party Plaid Cymru.

“A lot of the growth in the discussion around an independent Wales has occurred in the wake of Brexit but the discussion around it is less clear, largely because Wales voted very marginally to leave the European Union in 2016,” Joshua said.

“So it's less clear cut than in the case of Scotland, where the country was pulled out of the EU by the United Kingdom. We're in different places and Scotland are further ahead in their journey than we are.”

Brandon – who is also running as an MP in the next General Election – added: “But I think it’s really important to have these sorts of events and to have these discussions.

“It's really good practise to understand other viewpoints, hear so many different European perspectives. It does help us strengthen our own perspective.”

Joshua added: “Certainly, it's really relevant ultimately, whether Scotland becomes a member of the European Union or not – likewise for Wales – that it is necessary to keep these international connections going.

“Whether we're inside or outside the European Union, we require a relationship with it. Our economies, our social fabric are so reliant on it. And so maintaining those open dialogues is necessary, regardless of whatever direction we ultimately take.”

"We stand with Scotland's right for self-determination"

Stéphanie Ngalula and Raphaël Richard are both running for public office for Ecolo – Belgium’s green party.

“We stand with the idea of any population who have the right for self-determination.

“The will comes from the population itself. And this is something that we've seen in Scotland for quite some time.”

Raphael added: “Scotland has a progressive vision. And all the people I’ve heard today, they are always talking about creating bridges with the people and countries in Europe. And that’s the real project of the European Union.”