For immediate release: Wednesday 14th December 2016

Attn: News Desks / Political Correspondents

ALEX SALMOND RECEIVES INAUGURAL MAURITS COPPIETERS AWARD FOR SERVICES TO SCOTLAND IN EUROPE

SNP International Affairs Spokesperson, Alex Salmond MP will be recognised by The Centre Maurits Coppieters for his "dedication and advocacy for Scotland's right to redefine it's political future among a European family of nations" at an award ceremony in Brussels today (Wednesday).

The Centre Maurits Coppieters is a non-profit organisation which advocates national and cultural diversity throughout the European Union and its Member States.

The Centre announced the awards as it commemorates the tenth anniversary of the death of the foundation's namesake, Mr Maurits Coppieters, a prominent Flemish politician and member of the European Parliament.

As part of the agenda, Mr Salmond will attend a private meeting with President of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, before receiving the Maurits Coppieters award itself at a ceremony featuring speakers from across Europe.

In his speech Mr Salmond will say:

"In the very near future the First Minister of Scotland will be unveiling the Scottish strategy to retain our connections with Europe, in trade, in cultural and in politics. We have no intention of allowing our 1000 year history as a European nation severed by the failures of the Westminster political establishment. When that clarion call is issued then other Europeans should rally to Scotland's cause.

"We hear a great deal about how the established order is under siege from the forces of right wing populism - how liberal values, and progressive politics are on the retreat across Europe and indeed the planet.

"However in Scotland, it is progressive pro-European forces which are in the ascendant and the protest against the establishment is expressed from the left of centre. The European Union, for all its faults, is regarded as a positive thing.

"Scotland is not unique in this. In a number of European countries the forces of change have also emerged from the autonomist left, yet how have European institutions responded? The answer is not well, at least until recently. That is changing and it must. When the vandals of the right are at the very gates of the Treaty of Rome, then help from progressive Europeans should be treasured and valued.

"We want a Europe which prioritises growth and recovery, a Europe which remunerated the concept of a social contract and a Europe which responds with solidarity and humanity when faced with a refugee crisis.

"We need a Europe where dissent is channeled into fresh hope. We need to lift again the tattered flag of a social Europe. We need to fuel once again the idealist vision which propelled Maurits Coopieters himself. Where the self-determination of people's linguistic and cultural diversity, peace and democracy could find a home in a united Europe."

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The Coppieters Award are an initiative of the Centre Maurits Coppieters to honour individuals and organisations that stand out in defence of cultural and linguistic diversity, inter-cultural dialogue, self-determination, rights of minorities, peace, democracy, and a united Europe.

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