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Scotland and Europe projection on EU building investigated by Belgian police

Opponents alleged SNP members were trying to make it look as though the European Commission was behind the message.

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The illumination was shared online by senior SNP figures including the First Minister (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The illumination was shared online by senior SNP figures including the First Minister (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The illumination was shared online by senior SNP figures including the First Minister (Jonathan Brady/PA)

An illumination projected on to an EU building in Brussels is being investigated by Belgian police.

Reports suggested the SNP was responsible for the January 31 light show at the Berlaymont – the main office building of the European Commission (EC), which said it was not behind the projection.

Now EC spokeswoman Dana Spinant has said the matter is in the hands of Belgian police.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is currently in Brussels to speak at the European Policy Centre, where she has met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator with the UK.

The illumination, which showed the words “Scotland” and “Europe” cross each other, with a love heart in the middle, was shared on social media by senior SNP politicians including the First Minister.

It is understood police were called in due to the projection coming from an area not owned by the commission.

Opponents alleged SNP members were trying to make it look as though the European Commission had projected the message.

A spokeswoman told a briefing of journalists on Monday that other “third parties” had also projected messages onto the building and had been reported to the police.

She said: “In relation to the message projected on to the Berlaymont on January 31 I can confirm, as you already know, it seems this has nothing to do with the commission – we were not in the knowledge of that.

“It’s not the first time where third parties, of all kinds, projected illumination messages on to the Berlaymont – this is something between those third parties and the Belgian police.

“We have nothing to do with that action or with the message that was projected.”

I can again confirm it had nothing to do with us and was a matter for the Belgian policeDana Spinant, European Commission spokeswoman

An EC source told the PA news agency that the illumination was not seen as a “security threat”, however it was not authorised with the Commission before it took place.

Asked to clarify if a member of the building’s security team had reported the incident to police, Ms Spinant said it was part of “an ongoing discussion with the Belgian police”.

She added: “I know that it was taken up by them … I can again confirm it had nothing to do with us and was a matter for the Belgian police.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden hit out at the First Minister, saying: “It’s no surprise Nicola Sturgeon’s pointless stunt has ended up on the desk of Belgian police.

“Quite why the SNP thought it would get away with this virtual graffiti is a mystery.

“Yet again, the Nationalists are causing Scotland significant embarrassment at home and abroad.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Instead of incurring the wrath of the European Commission and the local police, the First Minister should be focusing on getting the basics right back home.

“That means reversing the decline of Scottish education, cutting waiting times in the NHS and investing in the police service. This SNP Government is losing the plot.”

Ms Spinant also rejected the idea that Ms Sturgeon was holding “parallel talks” with the EU on Scotland’s future relationship with the bloc, saying: “We have just one interlocutor in relation to the future partnership with the UK and that is, of course, London.”

PA