By a Newsnet reporter
Jim Mather, the former SNP minster for business, energy and tourism, will visit the Basque province of Gipuzkoa on Thursday and Friday at the invitation of the regional government in order to talk about the economic benefits which independence would bring to Scotland. The provincial government of Gipuzkoa is headed by the pro-independence Bildu party.
Larraitz Ugarte, spokesperson for the Gipuzkoa administration, said yesterday that the visit comes at a “very important moment” as the Scottish government launches its public consultation on the independence referendum.
The Scottish referendum has generated great public interest in Spain, especially in the Basque Country and Catalunya where there are powerful nationalist movements.
Ms Ugarte highlighted the importance of studies carried out by Mr Mather because he establishes “a relation between the economy and independence in countries without a state”.
Before becoming a minister in the previous SNP government, Mr Mather published an important and influential study on the economic case for Scottish independence. He is now a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde.
During his visit Mr Mather will meet with the head of the provinicial government, Martín Garitano, and Jon Urigen who heads the provincial government’s Innovation and business brief. Mr Mather will also meet with representatives of important local businesses and with Xavier Solano, formerly the representative of the Catalan government in the United Kingdom.
On Thursday evening Mr Mather will give a speech entitled “The advantages of independence from the socioeconomic point of view: the case of Scotland” at the Kursaal exhibition centre in Donostia-San Sebastian.