Scottish Government
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Cooperation will continue among these islands

External Affairs Secretary attends last British Irish Council before referendum. 

The British Irish Council is an excellent example of cooperation between these Islands which will continue and strengthen should Scotland become independent, External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said today.

Speaking in Guernsey ahead of the last meeting of the Council before the Referendum, Ms Hyslop said the BIC encourages continuing cross border relationships and collaborative partnerships.

As Scotland is set to benefit from what Ernst & Young have described as the “halo effect” in which its increased profile from the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup boosts Scotland’s brand and potential opportunities for inward investment, Ms Hyslop said the BIC provided a forum for members to share lessons in continuing economic success.

Ms Hyslop said:

“With independence, Scotland would maintain a strong relationship with the other nations of these islands - they would be our closest friends, as well as our closest neighbours.

“Against a backdrop of strong recovery in the economy and growth expected to accelerate this year, 2014 is a year of tremendous economic opportunity. For Scotland and for all nations in these islands the eyes of the world are upon us. According to an Ernst & Young report released this week, which highlighted Scotland as the top UK location outside London for foreign direct investment, there is the potential for Scotland to build on this success as it capitalises on what Ernst and Young call the ‘halo effect’ which is created as major sporting events raise a country’s profile among inward investors.

“The British Irish Council provides a great model for collaborative partnership on the world stage and it is one of the many factors that helps these islands to share our economic success. It shows the cooperation which already takes place between the Governments of these islands and which will continue should Scotland become independent.

“This is the last British Irish Council ahead of the referendum. Should Scotland vote for independence, the spirit of cooperation between these islands which the council represents will only deepen and strengthen.

“The BIC currently has representatives from two independent states, three devolved nations and three Crown Dependencies, who work together to address issues of common interest and learn from each other’s experiences. It would not be so different if it included three independent nations rather than two.”

Notes To Editors

The British Irish Council was formed following the Good Friday Agreement to further promote positive, practical relationships among the people of the islands and to provide a forum for consultation and co-operation.

The BIC’s secretariat is based in Scotland, and members cooperate on areas such as the misuse of drugs, early years policy, housing, the environment, and energy.

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