People in Northern Ireland should reflect on the positive impact the EU has made in the region rather than the “extraordinary negativity” peddled by both sides of the referendum debate, Alex Salmond has urged.
The SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman was in Londonderry to address business leaders at an event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Salmond said he wanted to make a positive economic and social case for the UK’s continued membership of the EU and he criticised the “negativity and scare stories” he said were emanating from both Remain and Leave camps.
“Northern Ireland has taught us that the fundamental principle of the European Union – that when independent nations work together for a shared cause, for a common good - it works,” he said.
Mr Salmond said he had not travelled to NI to issue “apocalyptic warnings of impending doom”.
“I leave that to others on both sides of this referendum campaign,” he added. “As it happens I think that this extraordinary negativity is exactly the wrong way to conduct this debate. The heart of this case is a positive account of the substantial argument that Europe has been and is a good thing for Northern Ireland. Here in Derry, we only have to glance at the beautiful Peace Bridge, symbolising not only the peace in this region but the commitment of the European Union to supporting the continued peace process.
“If the peace process here has taught us anything, it is the intrinsic value and indeed the power of collaboration and co-operation. l want us to remain in the EU so that we can continue to work together, progressing the interests of our people, embracing solidarity and its social responsibilities, in a Europe that supports its citizens, businesses and governments.”
Mr Salmond is the fourth high-profile Remain campaigner to visit Northern Ireland this week, following George Osborne, John Major and Tony Blair to the region.