I was delighted to visit Oslo and Bergen earlier this month. My programme reinforced my sense of the extent and importance of the links which Scotland has with Norway.
Geography and history have created so many shared interests between Scotland and Norway. Today the cultural and economic bonds are strong and precious. Not only do we share values and appreciate each other’s sense of humour, but we have a great deal to be proud of in respect of our collaboration and respective successes – for example offshore. Many Scots have made their home in Norway, and Norwegians are very welcome indeed in Scotland.
It was such a pleasure to meet some of Norway’s great companies during my visit, who are doing wonderful things in Scotland. From onshore investments, to pioneering floating offshore wind off the Scottish coast, to developing one of the most significant fields on the UK Continental Shelf, to investing in state-of-the-art fisheries technology, Norwegians are making an important difference in Scotland. We are also proud of the contribution which Scottish companies are making in Norway.
One of the objectives for my visit was to assure Norwegians that Scotland, along with the rest of the United Kingdom, wants our future relationship with Norway to be just as significant. As we prepare for our future outside the European Union, the British government is very mindful of this, and very grateful for the helpful response of the Norwegian government.
On November 30th Scotland celebrates its patron saint, Saint Andrew. This has been an important date in the Scottish calendar since the 11th century – a period when many historians believe the Norwegian influence was at its zenith in Scotland.
I should like to wish all readers a Happy St Andrew’s Day.
The Rt Hon David Mundell MP is the British cabinet minister responsible for Scottish Affairs.