Scotland’s connections to the wider world will be examined in 2015 when the European and External Relations Committee begins an inquiry into how Scotland can engage most effectively in a globalising world.
The ‘Connecting Scotland’ inquiry will have four strands:
• How the Scottish Government engages internationally
• How non-governmental and third sector organisations in Scotland engage internationally
• Scotland’s physical, virtual and social connectivity with the world
• The value of membership of international organisations to Scotland and Scotland’s relationship with them.
European and External Relations Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP said:
“Scotland has always enjoyed a high profile and good reputation on the global stage. This has been important in a number of spheres, but particularly for promoting economic growth. Our Committee is keen to map Scotland’s current international engagement activities and identify how they can be developed and supported.
“In a rapidly changing world, it is important we understand how Scottish businesses, organisations and individuals connect with those in other countries. We will be looking at Scotland’s infrastructure as well as our relationships to ensure that our digital, cultural, tourism, educational and third sector networks are fulfilling their potential.”
The Committee has issued a call for evidence on the first strand of the Connecting Scotland inquiry into how the Scottish Government and its agencies engage internationally. Those interested in submitting their views to the Committee should to do so by 30 January via
On this aspect, Ms McKelvie continued:
“The first strand of the inquiry will look at how the Scottish Government and its agencies engage internationally. Ahead of the Government revising its plans in early 2015, we are looking for a range of views to come to the Committee. This will help to inform our scrutiny of the effectiveness of the Scottish Government’s international strategy once they publish.”
The Scottish Government published its first International Framework in 2008 and updated it in 2012. It described its updated Framework as reflecting the Scottish Government’s growing ambition that its “overseas engagement will enable Scotland to flourish on the international stage, thus increasing economic growth for Scotland.”
The Framework sets out the context and rationale for the Scottish Government’s international activities and is complemented by a series of individual country plans which set out the detail of how the Scottish Government engages with Canada, China, Europe and the EU, India, Pakistan, South Asia and the United States of America.
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs has indicated to the European and External Relations Committee that the Scottish Government intends to publish a revision of its International Framework and EU Action Plan during spring 2015. The Committee has therefore decided to issue this call for evidence in order that it can draw on the comments and views of key stakeholders in its scrutiny of the new International Framework and EU Action Plan once they have been published.
The Committee has identified three core questions for its inquiry:
1. Is there a clear, coherent and well-resourced strategy for European and international engagement within the Scottish Government and its agencies?
2. What has the Scottish Government’s international strategy achieved since its refresh in October 2012, and what has the EU Action Plan achieved since it was first published in 2009? Has the international strategy enabled “Scotland to flourish on the international stage, thus increasing economic growth for Scotland”?
3. What can be learnt from the approaches of other sub-state governments? In particular, how do the EU and international offices of other sub-state governments operate and what tangible outcomes do they achieve?
You can follow the work of the Committee on Twitter: @SP_Europe