EU negotiator Michel Barnier ‘interested in Scotland’ and ‘well informed’ on visit to the Scottish Parliament
The European Committee has reported that EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier was well informed about Scotland
Scottish Parliament European Committee with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier - Image credit: Scottish Parliament
Michel Barnier was “interested in Scotland” and “well informed about Scotland’s concerns” during his visit to the Scottish Parliament today, according to the chair of the European Committee.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator met with the Scottish Parliament European Committee so members could hear first-hand about progress in the Brexit negotiations and the respective EU and UK positions from a European Commission point of view.
This follows an appearance by Mike Russell, Scotland's Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, in front of the committee on Thursday.
Committee chair SNP MSP Joan McAlpine added that Barnier was “charming and open” on a personal level.
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McAlpine said: "Mr Barnier was interested in Scotland and was well-informed about our concerns around Brexit.
“We discussed the importance of reaching a deal and the concerns about the pace of the negotiations.
“He has a very clear mandate to negotiate for the EU27 as one.
“We discussed what needs to happen before negotiations can move on to any future relationship between the UK and the EU as well as models for transitional arrangements.
“I made it clear that a majority of the committee favoured remaining in the single market.
“On a personal level, Mr Barnier was charming and open.
“The meeting ran over its scheduled time of an hour and Mr Barnier said he would be happy to speak to us in the future."
Deputy convener Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald added: "We had a very constructive discussion with M. Barnier covering the withdrawal agreement, long-term relationships and the transitional period.
“It is clear that there is plenty of scope for discussions of any proposals the UK government might make about remaining in the single market and customs union for a transitional period after March 2019.”
In a keynote speech in Florence, the Prime Minister said neither the UK or the EU would be ready to implement Brexit by March 2019
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The EU’s chief negotiator said that without an agreement there would be no chance of the transition period