The First Minister's welcome to SNP members at the party's conference.

WELCOME to Conference, and welcome to the capital city of a proud European nation.

It is a fitting start to our latest campaign. The elections on May 23 are Scotland’s chance to shine.

We’re being dragged out of the European Union against our will. All efforts to be heard on Brexit have been met with a brick wall.

The people of Scotland have been ignored, and the Scottish Parliament has been ignored.

READ MORE: Indyref2: First Minister sets out plans for vote before 2021

And, when the Scottish Government offered compromise, we were ignored too.

So the European elections are Scotland’s opportunity to get heard.

To send a message that we will not accept a Brexit process that silences Scotland, treats our Parliament and Government with contempt and fails to represent the interests of people in Scotland.

The National:

The SNP is Scotland’s voice for Europe. We will work with others across the UK to stop Brexit. We’ll support a People’s Vote to give the option to Remain. And we’ll back revoking Article 50 if a no-deal Brexit is the only alternative.

These elections are also an opportunity to show to ourselves and the wider world that Scotland wants something different. We want to be a decision maker, with a seat at the top table – working constructively and on an equal basis with our European partners.

We gather this weekend as Scotland’s journey to independence is moving forward once more.

READ MORE: Nicola's Sturgeon's speech was very canny ... it had something for everyone

And we start as I want us to continue, with a conference debate that offers an honest assessment of how we overcome challenges, alongside vision, ambition and a clear prospectus for the future.

Independence is, after all, based on this simple truth. It is fundamentally better for all of us if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – that is by the people who live here.

Together, we’ll do the best job of making our nation a fairer and more successful place.

My pledge – and our responsibility as a party – is to give the people of Scotland the information they need to make an informed decision on independence. That job starts now.

I pledge too that the SNP will remain focused on delivering good and effective government – our priority remains jobs, economic growth and supporting families.

A few days from now, we will mark an incredible 12 years of SNP Government. This weekend we look back on 12 years of looking forward.

I am incredibly proud of our record, and prouder still that our list of achievements continues to grow.

There’s much more to do. As a nation – and as a party – this is a time like no other. It’s time to find our voice, play our part and help shape Scotland’s future.