BEMIS Scotland are the national intermediary umbrella body for the diverse ethnic minority voluntary sector in Scotland. While acknowledging that a majority of citizens in the UK—who had the democratic franchise in this referendum—have voted to leave the European Union we must similarly acknowledge that the majority of people in Scotland voted to remain.
BEMIS, as an organisation, highly values our pro-active relationship with partners across the European Union. These continual, sustained, vigorous and beneficial partnerships have enabled us to develop policy, share good practice and increase cooperation among the diverse cultural and ethnic minority communities, governments, agencies, institutions and councils across the continent.
The unique collaboration structures that have been advanced in Scotland, involving the voluntary sector, NGOs, cross party, and government cooperation regarding our shared Equality and Human rights objectives, have been utilised continuously to enhance and promote Scotland’s role and status as an example of good practice and advancing participative democracy at various levels within Scotland, the UK and Europe.
The European citizenship of the diverse people of Scotland has been endorsed overwhelmingly by the electorate in Scotland. We strongly endorse that any future UK negotiations in relation to our constitutional arrangements with the EU must acknowledge the unique demographics and democratic wishes of the people of Scotland.
BEMIS will continue its pro-active role in progressing and supporting the will of the Scottish community in relation to enhancing their voice and democratic participation settings within the European community: Our diverse communities reflected in our Scottish-based European citizens provide an immeasurable benefit to Scotland’s social, economic and cultural life and we are committed to ensuring that this positive, engaging and highly beneficial relationship is maintained, valued and celebrated.
We fully acknowledge the commitment from First Minister Ms Nicola Sturgeon, to ensuring that Scotland’s place in the European Union and fundamental value of European citizens who now call Scotland home forms the cornerstone of their response to forthcoming discussion on Scotland’s relationship with Europe and the UK.
In addition, BEMIS Scotland will sustain a pro-active role not only in progressing our European collaboration with various partners but also in engaging and supporting the diverse citizens living in Scotland to be part of ongoing discussions and debates regarding Scotland remaining home for EU’s citizens’ and to supporting the Scottish Government’s continuous efforts to protecting Scotland’s relationship with the EU.
On behalf of BEMIS Board and staff,
Chief Executive Officer