IT’S more important than ever that Scotland continues to talk, engage and collaborate with Europe.

It always makes my heart sing to see how passionately pro-European the people of Scotland remain. Despite the challenges we’ve faced, particularly with Brexit, our commitment to maintaining strong links with our friends in Europe remains unwavering.

Brexit has been a source of immense frustration for many of us. It is a decision that has profoundly altered our relationship with the continent, creating barriers where there once were bridges. Yet, in the face of these challenges, the resilience and determination of the Scottish people to stay connected with Europe is truly inspiring.

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What is most important now is that we continue to talk, engage and collaborate. The flow of ideas between Scotland and the rest of Europe is vital. Through this exchange, we can learn from each other’s successes and challenges and adapt the best practices to our own context.

Whether it’s housing policies, agriculture, education, health or equality, there is so much we can learn from our European neighbours. This is how we can build a stronger, more resilient Scotland. Moreover, seeing the mobilisation, protests and collaboration happening across Europe helps us feel less alone in our quest for a fairer, more inclusive Scotland.

We stand at a crossroads: the EU must decide to evolve into a true political force or risk fading into irrelevance.

Despite its flaws, Europe has showcased remarkable resilience in recent times. The negotiation of Brexit and the establishment of a new deal with the UK, the Green Deal for climate and energy transition and the European recovery plan, financed through the unprecedented issuance of European treasury bonds, the creation of industrial and vaccination policies to combat the health, economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic – these decisions all underscore the EU’s capacity to unite in crisis.

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However, the challenges we face demand an even more comprehensive response from Europe. These are extraordinarily difficult times, and Europe must rise to the occasion with an expanded sense of purpose.

That is why despite our many difficulties, one thing that makes me optimistic is the presence of innovative ideas in Europe to recover from the pandemic and move away from austerity. Across the continent, there is a growing demand from citizens for policies that prioritise improving our quality of life and safeguarding social safety nets.

For those advocating Scottish independence, a progressive social agenda in the European Parliament aligns perfectly with our aspirations. A Europe where progressive ideals thrive not only matches the vision of an independent Scotland but also reinforces the case for rejoining the EU.

Let’s continue to engage, learn and grow together with our friends in Europe. By doing so, we can ensure a brighter, more connected future for Scotland and Europe alike.