ON Saturday, Sweden’s Loreen won Eurovision for the second time, making history and joining Johnny Logan as the only performer to win it twice. This year, Glasgow makes similar history.

The city has been crowned European Capital of Sport, 20 years since it first gained the ECOS accolade in 2003. It means Glasgow is the only European city to ever earn this accolade twice.

Much has happened since 2003, when we were first recognised as one of the world’s best sporting cities, going on to earn similar global gongs. Glasgow ranked first as Europe’s leader for “openness, tolerance and trust”, and as the UK’s top cultural and creative city by the European Commission Cultural and Creative Cities Monitor in 2019.

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Last week, Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren hosted an event to mark Europe Day, the first time the city had been able to bring people together since the former provost, Eva Bolander, held one in George Square to celebrate our European connections in 2018.

So, what have we done and how have we managed to secure Glasgow as a Scottish city at the heart of Europe?

We upped our visibility and participation in Eurocities – a network of over 200 cities from 38 countries, representing 130 million people, working together to ensure a good quality of life for all.

At the height of Westminster debates in January 2019 – which had everyone glued to their TVs in disbelief, apprehension, and sorrow – Glasgow hosted a Citizens’ Panel on the Future of Europe.

Glasgow was one of only 20 cities, and the only one in the UK, chosen by the European Commission to secure participation in bringing together citizens to discuss the new vision for the EU, whether or not we would be members.

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The same year, Glasgow was runner up in the European Capital of Innovation – securing a €100,000 award fund to accelerate our work to improve the health of our citizens, tackle climate change, decarbonise our city, invest in the industries of the future and expand our work with citizens to co-design a future Glasgow.

Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said at the time: “Glasgow is a city of innovation and re-invention, where everything we do is led by people and everyone who comes here, from wherever in the world, is an honorary Glaswegian.”

We have continued to secure and deliver a range of EU projects despite Brexit.

We have just completed RUGGEDISED – a smart city project funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Through ROOF, we were one of nine European cities that came together to collaborate on ending homelessness through housing solutions.

We amplified the urban voice at COP26 in Glasgow, working with Eurocities-led Mayors Alliance for the European Green Deal and ensuring that a just transition is at the heart of the climate emergency.

We have not only used the soft diplomacy of our sport and cultural offers to raise Glasgow’s profile but been resolute in the pursuit of urban diplomacy, as shown by Aitken (below) who stravaigs the world stage with gallus confidence, whilst Labour counterparts try and put the city down at every turn.

The National: GRATIS IMAGES.Scottish Government Business Minister Ivan McKee.Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken.Scotland's Towns Partnership Chief Officer Phil Prentice..Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken is pictured with at the launch of the Scotland

She rightly lambasted the UK Government's Levelling Up fund when the Tories changed the goalposts, sabotaging our bid for funding for the People’s Palace. This £2.6 billion for funding previously run by the EU perversely somehow made its way to Red Wall Tory seats and Rishi Sunak’s constituency.

Whilst Labour wraps itself in the UK flag and inconsistencies, it is clear that when it comes to Brexit it’s no longer time for Making Your Mind Up. Labour has decided to follow the Tories, who will be facing their own Waterloo soon, in a desperate dash to win hard Tory Brexit votes.

And just last month Glasgow ran – unopposed – to be Chair of the Eurocities Social Affairs Forum for a two-year term.

The SNP group in the city are clear: “Glasgow has secured a seat around the table with our peers and continues to be a proud European city.

“Scotland has the right to self-determination and join the family of nations, and we will no longer be a Puppet on a String!”