Here I am, Scottish but a UK citizen nonetheless, in the German capital of Berlin attending Stallwächterparty, a political summer party, celebrating Europe and the partnership between the countries that make up the European Union. So how did it feel being part of this prestigious event, representing Scotland, when the country you live in is tangled up in the whole Brexit disaster?
When I received my invitation to attend this years Stallwächterparty from the office of Winfried Kretschmann, the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, I admit I was shocked. Why me? The nerves kicked in. What could I possibly have to offer? Would it be awkward? But most importantly, could I bring anything I’ve learned back to Scotland with me?
Before the start of the parliamentary summer holiday, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg has been organising a summer party, Stallwächterparty (Stable Guard Party), for guests since 1964 within the state parliament building in the diplomatic quarter of Berlin. Over the years, it has developed into one of the most prestigious events in politics. The event allows guests an opportunity to interact with esteemed politicians, business leaders and diplomats as well as journalists and renowned personalities from culture, sport, film and television, all under one roof.
Each year, a theme is chosen as part of the celebrations and in 2019, it is not surprising that the theme was Europe and its inhabitants. Baden-Württemberg does not only see the European Union as an economic community, but rather a community of shared values and successes that are to be celebrated by people who want to shape a future Europe from within.
As the only invited representative from Scotland, I made my way to Berlin eager to find out more about this region of Germany, how Scotland is viewed and of course, to experience an event, unlike anything I had ever been to before.