Embracing Europe: EMiS at the SNP Conference in Aberdeen

Published on October 19, 2023

The European Movement in Scotland (EMiS) recently concluded an immensely successful few days at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, Europe's energy capital. 

For EMiS the conference was a significant milestone, our first time participating at a party conference and our efforts were met with an overwhelmingly positive response, affirming the growing resonance of our message within Scotland's political landscape. 

The highlight of our engagement was the standing-room-only fringe event, chaired by the SNP President Michael Russell who is also the Honorary President of EMiS, the Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Relations and Culture Angus Robertson MSP, former MEP and now Dundee City Council Heather Anderson, and the acclaimed journalist and campaigner Lesley Riddoch. 

The panel's dynamic discussion centred on how Scotland could reconnect with the EU right now and cultivate deeper collaboration with our European neighbours.  

The engaged audience posed thought-provoking questions, reflecting a shared commitment to keeping the European spirit alive.  

We also hosted an exhibition stall alongside other prominent exhibitors, including the BBC, the Bank of Scotland, and various charitable organisations and campaign groups. Throughout the event, a stream of MPs, MSPs, councillors, and enthusiastic members visited our stall, demonstrating their support for Scotland's place in Europe. 

We had not 1, not 2 but 4 former Europe Ministers, as well as the current Minister, stop by our stall. Minister for Europe Christina McKelvie gave us an exciting update on her recent discussions in Strasbourg and issued a rallying call to SNP members on social media to join the European Movement.  

Others eagerly contributed short videos endorsing EMiS and our various campaigns, the President of the National Union of Students in Scotland gave her backing to our Unlock Erasmus campaign, as did the Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Europe and External Affairs Committee Clare Adamson MSP. 

Countless more party members, and various other exhibitors snapped photos for social media and helped generate more than 250,000 impressions on Twitter/X over the 3 days of the conference. They shared their personal connections and stories about why they are #StillEuropean on our giant map.  

We loved hearing these tales directly from the delegates, it was a timely reminder that the Europe we continue to belong to has people at its heart. 

Concluding the conference, the SNP Leader and Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf delivered a resounding address, categorising Brexit as "an unmitigated disaster" for Scotland and pledged his solid support for Scotland's return to the European Union.  

We departed the SNP conference with a renewed sense of purpose, determined to leverage the momentum gained to further our mission of strengthening Scotland's ties with Europe. 

Thank you to everyone who came to speak with me in Aberdeen, who showed support via social media, and who made EMIS's attendance in Aberdeen a possibility.  

I look forward to seeing more of you next weekend when I attend the Scottish Greens Autumn Conference in Dunfermline. 

David McDonald 

Organiser, European Movement in Scotland

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