Among the multitude of fringe meetings which were staged during the SNP Annual Conference in Perth was a very well attended one hosted by the EFA.

The European Free Alliance is one of the EU's officially recognised European Political Parties. EFA member parties are from nations, stateless nations and territorial entities with a strong sense of identity that want a proper voice in Europe. EFA brings together 40 progressive parties who have elected representation at local, national or EU level in 17 Member States.

EFA has always advocated self-determination, and the right to speak and protect native and historic languages. Scotland, Wales, Catalunya, Flanders and the Basque Country are now at varying stages on their path to national self-determination and a full place at the EU top table.

At the fringe meeting Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans, who is also President of her Party, pointed out that the process of evolution to the Independent status which each of our nations aspires to, is in fact a process of normalisation. Jill said;

"Let us be clear from the outset that the situation in each of our nations is unique: unique constitutionally, unique historically and unique legally but what we share within the European Free Alliance political family is a firm and lasting commitment to the principle of self-determination.

"Fifteen years ago last month, Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of devolution, and the establishment, or should I say, re-establishment of a Scottish Parliament. Exactly one week later, Wales also voted for devolution, albeit by the narrowest of margins, to establish our own National Assembly.

"Two years after that, on the very same day in May 1999 the first elections were held for the Scottish Parliament and our own National Assembly in Wales. But whereas you in Scotland had legislative powers from the start over a range of matters that weren't reserved at Westminster, we in Wales had to wait another decade to gain real law making powers for our National Assembly. And that wouldn't have happened at all were it not for Plaid Cymru, then in coalition government with Labour, winning demands for a new referendum.

"Colleagues, next month is forty five years since the Hamilton by-election that swept Winnie Ewing to Westminster where she sat alongside my own party's Gwynfor Evans as one of just two nationalists in the House of Commons. Who would have thought then, that we would be where we are today. A Scottish parliament, a National Assembly in Wales, both our parties in government, and now a referendum on Scottish independence.

"In Catalonia, more than a million people marching through Barcelona demanding independence. I said before that the situation in each of these countries is unique, and we should be cautious of drawing parallels, but we have one demand in common, we want nothing more than to be normal nations in this world - with all of the powers and responsibilities that entails. In Scotland, in Wales, and beyond, the process of normalisation has already begun and whilst it moves at different speeds, it is now unstoppable."

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