THE First Minister has met with the Bavarian State Chancellery's European Affairs Minister ahead of Scotland’s opening Euros match against the host nation.

While John Swinney has paused campaigning for the SNP in the General Election in order to cheer on the national team, the First Minister is also using the trip to Germany to strengthen Scotland’s diplomatic relationships.

It is only Swinney’s second trip abroad since becoming First Minister.

Like Scotland, Bavaria also has a significant independence movement, with a YouGov poll in 2017 finding that 32% of Bavarians supported the idea of independence.

Swinney was welcomed in the Prinz-Carl-Palais in Munich by Eric Beisswenger, who said he was honoured to have the First Minister in the country.

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“It is a great honour for us that your second trip is already bringing you to us,” he said.

“Bavaria and Scotland have long maintained close bilateral contacts, which have been gradually expanded and formalised since the early 2000s.

“We are also united by self-confidence and a certain tendency towards independence."

It comes as both countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of the twin town partnership between Bavaria and Scotland.

Edinburgh is twinned with Munich and the majority of German towns twinned with other Scottish locations are in Bavaria.

John Swinney exchanges gifts with Eric BeißwengerJohn Swinney exchanges gifts with Eric Beisswenger (Image: Bayerische Staatsregierung)

In 2022, Scotland and Bavaria also signed a joint declaration of intent to expand co-operation in innovation and research with a particular focus on hydrogen technologies and trading routes.

“This is the first time in 26 years that the Tartan Army have been able to travel abroad to watch their team in a European tournament,” said Swinney.

“And it is fitting that the opening match of Uefa Euro 2024, Scotland against Germany, is taking place in Munich in this special anniversary year.

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to visit Bavaria on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the partnership between two historic cities: Edinburgh and Munich.

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“From concerts to the exchange of teachers and young people, our connections go back many decades, even centuries.

“Most of Scotland's German town partnerships are with Bavaria, 18 in total. Another reason why Munich feels like a second home."

Beisswenger added that Scotland and Germany had another thing in common: opposition to Brexit.

(Image: Bayerische Staatsregierung)

“Our two countries are united by their joy of life and love of football,” he said.

“But beyond that, there are a lot of other things in common and a wealth of opportunities for co-operation.

“Neither of us wanted Brexit”.

However, while the politicians agreed on the negative impacts of Brexit, they will be on opposing sides during tonight’s match, which is set to kick-off at 8pm at Munich’s Allianz Arena.