MSPs hold ‘constructive’ discussions with EU’s chief Brexit negotiator

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MSPs on Holyrood’s European Committee have held “constructive” discussions with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator.

Members of the Scottish Parliament committee met with Michel Barnier in Brussels to raise concerns about the impact of leaving the EU on Scotland.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine MSP said the meeting of more than a hour was “wide ranging and constructive”.

She said: “The committee presented Mr Barnier with reports from their long-running inquiry into the consequences of Brexit for Scotland and raised their concerns about the consequences of leaving the single market and the impact on key Scottish sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, higher education and exporting industries.

“We also highlighted our concerns about the future of EU citizens living in Scotland.”

She added: “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.”

Deputy convener Lewis Macdonald MSP 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.”

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