International Office Network (Programme for Government)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 8th September 2022.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

6. To ask the Scottish Government what next steps the programme for government proposes for Scotland’s international office network. (S6O-01337)

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

Scotland’s international network creates domestic opportunities, attracts investment and ultimately benefits the people of Scotland. I am sure that my colleague Willie Coffey was delighted to see the First Minister open our new Nordic office in Copenhagen. We are also committed to opening a new office in Warsaw during this parliamentary session.

We will ensure that our international work is measurable, transparent and available to the public. From next year onwards, we will publish an annual report that explains how our international offices work to promote our values, objectives and priorities around the world.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

The Copenhagen office is tightening our ties with our Nordic neighbours. The proposed Warsaw office promises to facilitate our dialogue with central Europe. Will the cabinet secretary elaborate on how the expanded international office network will amplify Scotland’s distinct voice on the world stage? How does the global affairs framework guide such work?

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

It is hugely beneficial that the network is growing—that we have a greater footprint in northern Europe and in central Europe. It is worth observing, in value-for-money terms, that the Scottish Government manages the network with significantly less resource than similar devolved Governments elsewhere in the world spend.

At present, we are living within financial constraints, so our plans have focused on delivering the opening of the office in Copenhagen and moving forward in the central European region, which is so important for Scotland—not least because of the great many people from there who have chosen to move to Scotland. There are many opportunities that we can pursue.

I hope that we will, in time, look at growing the network further. In the here and now, I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to open the office in Copenhagen officially and that we are moving forward with opening an office in Warsaw.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

That concludes portfolio questions. There will be a brief pause before the next item of business.