A FORMER Scottish Parliament political adviser is set for a key role in incoming US president Joe Biden’s administration as National Security Council (NCS) senior director for European affairs.

Dr Amanda Sloat, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, was an adviser to the Parliament’s European Committee between 2000-2002.

She authored a report for the committee on Scotland’s implementation of EU policy initiatives.

She had similar roles in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the European Commission, and was an assistant secretary for Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean affairs at the State Department during Barack Obama’s administration. Her US government career also includes time as a senior adviser at the NSC and State Department and a senior staffer at the House of Representatives committee on foreign affairs.

Sloat has written widely on European politics in academic and foreign policy media and has published a book – Scotland in Europe: A Study of Multi-Level Governance.

Her PhD thesis at the University of Edinburgh was titled “Scotland’s role in the European Union: expectations of multi-level governance among political elites – an actor-centred approach.”

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In it, she examined the role of political elites in the Europeanisation of regional governance, and argued that domestic conceptions of governance shaped how elites “view their participation in European Union (EU) decision-making”.

She went on to compare the experiences of Scotland and Catalonia, two “regions” which had recently gained greater political autonomy.

Her paper considered how European integration had encouraged the decentralisation of power and gave contextual information on the process of devolution and the status of domestic constitutional arrangements in the UK and Spain.

It examined how political elites were seeking greater participatory rights in the EU, “evaluating the effectiveness of domestic and European channels of influence”.

Sloat argued that Catalan and Scottish elites had been successful in placing issues on the EU agenda and sustaining the debate on regional participation in decision-making. She added: “While the gradual formation of institutionalised channels of co-operation could lead to greater influence in the EU policy process over the long term, it would be more appropriate in the short-term to focus on the agenda-setting powers of regional elites.”

In another report – Divided Kingdom: how Brexit is remaking the UK’s constitutional order – Sloat suggested a constitutional route to indy might help an independent Scotland with any future bid to rejoin the EU.

She said: “If Scotland votes for independence in a post-Brexit referendum, the UK would be consumed with more messy separation negotiations and diminished as an international actor.

“The EU would be forced to consider Edinburgh’s application to (re)join the club, with member states more likely to be supportive if independence occurred within a constitutional process.”

With such a stellar background, her expertise in Brexit, UK politics and the EU should prove useful to Biden who has indicated any trade deal with the UK would be shelved until he had sorted out his domestic economy.

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Sloat had just arrived in Northern Ireland as terrorists wrought havoc upon the US in the Twin Tower attacks of 9/11, and recalled in an article for Brookings for last year’s anniversary: “My new boss insisted that I come to her house, where I watched news reports, called family and friends, and slept in a borrowed nightgown. It was the first of many kindnesses from people who knew first-hand the scourge of terrorism, as they had lived through decades of sectarian violence known as the Troubles, that resulted in over 3600 deaths.”

She said British and Irish leaders observed years later it had “created a moment of opportunity by changing the political context and perceptions of terrorism, which led the IRA to decommission”.

However she warned: “That hard-earned peace should not be squandered, by Britain or the United States.”