Copenhagen Office (Opportunities)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 8 September 2022.

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Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what trade, investment and cultural opportunities it expects to arise from its Nordic office in Copenhagen. (S6O-01332)

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

On behalf of the Scottish Government, I join the First Minister, the Presiding Officer and members across the chamber in extending our best wishes to Her Majesty the Queen and to her family at this difficult time.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden are already some of Scotland’s biggest trading partners, with all three in our top 20 export markets, and with £2.6 billion of goods and services being exported to those countries by Scottish businesses in 2019. The Nordics are also responsible for major inward investment into Scotland, including in ScotWind.

On 26 August, the First Minister visited Copenhagen to open our new Nordic office. As part of that trip, she had conversations with a number of major energy companies and investors. It is clear that the energy transition, renewable energy and hydrogen will be major opportunities for Scotland in the region. I am also struck by the scale of the opportunity for life sciences and medical technology, with Copenhagen being the base of the United Nations Children’s Fund, which is one of the world’s largest buyers of crisis and medical supplies.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

Does the cabinet secretary agree that this new office is essential to boost trade with our Scandinavian neighbours, ultimately creating and sustaining jobs, and that Tory opposition to it shows that party’s utter lack of ambition for Scotland, Scottish business and the Scottish economy?

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

Scotland has borrowed some of the best Nordic policies, from baby boxes to rural parliaments and, most recently, district heating, but Nordic colleagues are also interested in what we know how to do, particularly around community engagement. There is also a high level of interest in our recent period poverty work, which was, of course, supported across the chamber.

Our cultural exchange with Nordic neighbours is a reality, with Finnish and Danish showcases at Edinburgh international festivals, a strong showing of 12 Scottish bands playing in one of Europe’s largest folk music festivals in Denmark, and a joint exhibition between the Danish natural history museum and the national museums in Edinburgh next spring. Further, of course, there is much to learn from Danish broadcasting, whose success has been marked over recent years.