THE combined inward investment from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden puts Scandinavia in the top five investors into Scotland, and three of the top 20 destinations for our exports, with £2.6 billion of goods and services exported to these countries by Scottish businesses in 2019.

The First Minister recently opened the SNP Government’s Nordic Office in Copenhagen, to help unlock new economic and trading opportunities by increasing Scotland’s cultural and economic visibility across the Nordic region.

During her visit, the First Minister also met with business and energy leaders at State of Green to discuss how Scotland and Scandinavia can work together to accelerate decarbonisation and share expertise, as well as with Denmark’s Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod.

Ms Sturgeon furthermore visited UNICEF’s Global Supply Hub in Copenhagen - the largest humanitarian warehouse in the world - to view the assembly and dispatch of life-saving supplies for children and families in Ukraine.

The SNP Government has provided £1 million of funding to UNICEF since Russia illegally invaded Ukraine.

The establishment of our Nordic Office means that Scotland now has a network of nine international offices in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, London, Ottawa, Paris and Washington DC. These are actively working to promote Scottish interests, seeking opportunities to attract jobs and investment while strengthening international relations.

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Over the next few years, Scottish Ministers will open an office in Warsaw, as part of its continued commitment to further strengthen our cultural and trade relations with central and Eastern Europe.

Scotland enjoys a centuries-long heritage with Scandinavia. Cultural, social and linguistic traces of our shared history can be found across Scotland, celebrated every year at Largs Viking Festival. Scots DNA is also, on average, 17 per cent Scandinavian in origin.

We have similar population sizes, dynamic cities, and large rural communities and must build on these strong connections. Each nation is highly innovative, with ambitions to further develop our renewable energy technologies and more sustainable, thriving economies.

Work to attract investment, boosting trade and economic opportunities by Scottish Government offices at home and overseas helped increase foreign direct investment into Scotland by 14 per cent in 2021, compared to 5.4 per cent across Europe and just 1.4 per cent in the UK as a whole, according to EY’s 2022 Attractiveness Survey.

Figures published by Scottish Development International (SDI) in May 2022 revealed that more than 7,500 jobs were generated by inward investment in 2021/22, with 113 investment projects in Scotland supported. Of these, 39 investors located in Scotland for the first time.

As opposed to the increasingly isolationist UK Tory Government - which opposes Scotland’s trading offices and delivered a Brexit that has already had a damaging impact on Ayrshire food and drink processing, fishing, agriculture and manufacturing - the SNP Government continues to look outward and ahead.

SDI will lead Scotland’s presence at the five-day Hannover Messe Integrated Energy Expo in April 2023 following the UK Government’s decision not to act as partner country in 2024. The Expo is one of the largest trading events in Europe, attracting around 1,800 exhibitors.

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