May 4, 2019 Pro-Scottish Independence activists march through the streets of Glasgow with Saltire- themed flags, banners and sunglasses during the All Under One Banner March for Independence. LEHTIKUVA / AFP

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Dear Anthony Heron,

I was delighted to see your column in the Helsinki Times this past weekend, arguing that Scotland would be a good fit for the Nordic Council.

You will be pleased to know that many of us agree with you, and we are examining options for this relationship with our Nordic neighbours to grow and prosper.

I have not long returned from a visit to the 73rd Plenary Meeting of the Nordic Council in Copenhagen this past month, which I was fortunate enough to attend as an observer, a great honour as we look to cementing relationships and alliances with the High North. At these sessions, important issues such as post-Covid resilience, the role of young people in decision making, regional defence and security and post-COP climate action formed key elements of the agenda.

Earlier this year, I met with the Finnish Centre Party Minister, Mikko Karna, to discuss progressing opportunities for Scotland’s observer status, taking him up on his offer to initiate this process. Mikko pointed out that the Nordic Council already includes the autonomous Faroe Islands, the Åland Islands and Greenland, all of whom are not fully independent nations, like Scotland at the moment, but who enjoy active participation in enhancing co-operation across the area.

It is no secret that as a SNP MP, my main goal is securing independence for Scotland, and as we travel along this journey, I am committed to examining opportunities for us to engage with our Scandic friends in the spirit of mutual respect and openness on shared concerns such as social justice, renewable potential, sustainability and well-being.

Scotland has already benefited from borrowing your wonderful idea of baby boxes and has been looking closely at your “housing first” initiative to tackle homelessness from a more holistic and supportive standpoint. And, just last year, another Finnish newspaper was calling for Scotland to be recognised as the Sixth Nordic Nation, an invitation we would gladly accept.

You may also be interested to know that I have set up a new All Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster on the Nordic and Arctic Councils, to gain insight into both these bodies and the important work they do to promote collaboration, shared values and resources. In Scotland the work of the Nordic and Arctic Unit and its framework for co-operation and knowledge exchange continues to build relationships and strengthen existing ties.

Given the enormous challenges Scotland faces due to climate change, Brexit and our place in the world as well as the continuing pandemic, it feels vital and timely to look North to our neighbours with whom we share so much in terms of cultural, historical and geographical ties.

In this regard, may I gladly accept your warm words and encouragement on behalf of the people of Scotland as we continue to work towards closer bonds with the Nordic states and cement our nation’s outward looking status as collaborative and responsible global citizens.

Yours for Scotland,

Douglas Chapman
SNP MP for Dunfermline and West Fife
SNP Spokesperson for SMEs, Enterprise and Innovation

Read Anthonys column here.


This is a "Viewpoint" opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of The Helsinki Times. This column is not fact checked and HT is not be responsible for any possible inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

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