NICOLA Sturgeon has used her speech in Paris to say that “independence is not about the isolationism that characterises Brexit”.

The First Minister was addressing the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris.

Sturgeon addressed independence to say that she would say more about it “at a future date”, before adding: “One thing I do want to stress, however, is that for the Scottish Government, independence is not about the isolationism that characterises Brexit – instead independence would see us recognizing and embracing our interdependence with other nations.”

She also said that the Scottish Government remains “committed” to the European Union and standing up for its citizens living in Scotland.

After a short introduction, Sturgeon began by addressing Brexit – what she called “the dominant issue in the UK at present”.

“The first point I want to stress is that the Scottish Government is committed to the European Union,” she said.

“We believe that Scotland benefits hugely from access to a single market of more than 500 million people.

“We benefit from the rights EU membership offers to workers, and from the protections it has provided for our environment.

“We benefit from our freedom

to travel, study and live in Europe, also from the contribution that our fellow EU citizens have made to Scotland.”

“Those EU citizens of course include 7000 French people, who are our colleagues, friends, neighbours and in many cases our family.”

The First Minister added that the Scottish Government will stand up for the rights of EU citizens and referred to their successful lobbying in ensuring that they would not have to pay a fee to obtain settled status in the UK.

She added: “In addition to all of the practical benefits we gain from the EU, we also cherish its fundamental values – freedom, democracy, the rule of law, equality, and respect for human dignity and human rights – and we will always encourage the EU to live up to these values.”

Sturgeon repeatedly returned to the historic ties between the two nations, pointing to the fact that France was the very first country to establish a consulate in Scotland – opened by General Charles de Gaulle (pictured left) in 1942.

“That of course reflects the fact that our countries enjoy ties of trade, commerce and friendship which go back for more than seven hundred years,” she said.

She added: “Scotland treasures our friendship with France. We believe that it brings significant benefits to both of our countries. We want it to flourish further in the years ahead. And we are working with France to ensure that that happens.”

Sturgeon was also in the French capital to officially open the Scottish Government’s hub office in city.

She said she hoped the office could help, “in a small but significant way”, help Scotland participate more in international institutions.