This is intriguing. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ (Wilson Center’s) Polar Institute is hosting a conversation about Scotland’s future role in the Arctic that will be livestreamed on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 12:30 pm ET (9:30 am PT).
Here’s more from the Oct. 29, 2020 Wilson Center announcement (received via email),
Scotland’s Offer to the Arctic
Scotland’s Shetland Archipelago is a mere 400 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Due in part to this proximity, Scotland is seeking to establish itself as a European gateway to the High North. Similar rural and demographic features mean that Scottish and Arctic communities share many present-day priorities, from strengthening rural resilience to improving connectivity and promoting sustainable economic growth.
Scotland’s engagement with the Arctic region has intensified steadily over recent years. Published in September 2019, the Scottish Government’s first Arctic policy framework sets out “Scotland’s offer to the Arctic,” a prospectus for cooperation and knowledge exchange around the issues and ambitions that Scotland has in common with the Arctic.
On November 24th , join us for a conversation on the future of cooperation between Scotland, Europe, and the Arctic. The live webstream will begin at 12:30 PM EST.
You might find this contextual information about Scotland’s Arctic Policy Framework, BREXIT, and the European Union (EU) useful (from a Sept. 24, 2020 post by the Polar Research and Policy Initiative on the Polar Connection website,
While the EU, the UK and Scotland are navigating the complex dynamics of Brexit to understand its implications on the three entities and their present and future interrelationships and interactions, one stage where the question of their future interplay rears its head is the Arctic region where the three have cooperated greatly in the past.
… the UK’s updated [in 2018 after the UK voted to leave the EU, i.e., BREXIT] Arctic policy framework clarified that leaving the EU “will not diminish our cooperation with EU nations but will enhance the possibility for forging even closer ties with non-EU nations”. It also observed how Scotland shared especially rich economic, social and cultural links with the Arctic region due to its history and geography, and acknowledged Scotland’s commitment to addressing climate change, promoting climate justice, driving the transition to a global low-carbon economy, developing its own Arctic Strategy on devolved matters, and collaborating, along with Northern Ireland, with Euro-Arctic states through the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.
In recognition of its shared history, geography, opportunities and challenges with several Arctic states, the Scottish Government itself has taken great interest in the Arctic in recent years. …
As the northernmost near-Arctic non-Arctic state, the UK is currently the northernmost EU state with Arctic interests, apart from Finland, Sweden and the Kingdom of Denmark (though Greenland is not a member of the EU) that are also member states of the Arctic Council. As the northernmost region/country within the UK, it is principally from Scotland that the UK derives that strategic advantage. Furthermore, as Finland and Sweden do not have direct access to the Arctic Ocean, save through Norway or Russia, and Greenland is not a part of the EU, the Scottish ports in Shetland [emphasis mine] and Orkney are currently the northernmost ports in the EU with direct maritime access to the North Sea and the Arctic Ocean.
I highlighted Shetland as there has been a pertinent development since Sept. 2019 according to a Sept. 11, 2020 article by Colby Cosh for the (Canada) National Post,
The council of the Shetland Islands, in which one official SNP [Scottish Nationalist Party] member is outnumbered 21-1 by independents of various stripes, voted 18-2 on Wednesday in favour of a motion to “formally begin exploring options for achieving financial and political self-determination.” [emphasis mine] As the makeup of the council implies, Shetland, about 170 kilometres north of the Scots mainland, has never been comfortable with the SNP’s goal of an independent, sovereign Scotland. In 2014’s Scottish independence referendum, Shetland delivered a 64 per cent vote for No.
Without knowing much about the politics it’s difficult to know if this is a serious attempt at separation or if it’s a gambit designed to get Shetland more autonomy without losing any advantages associated with being part of a larger entity.
Nevertheless, all this ‘arctic action’ is intriguing especially in light of the current loss of arctic ice and the attempts by various jurisdictions (including Canada) to establish or re-establish territorial rights.