EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier to meet MSPs

Europe's chief negotiator in the Brexit talks, Michel Barnier, is to meet with MSPs.

European Commission chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is set to visit MSPs.

Members of the Scottish Parliament’s European Committee will receive an update on how negotiations are progressing from Mr Barnier, who recently warned the UK must take the discussions “seriously”.

Committee convener Joan McAlpine pledged to raise concerns about the impact leaving the European Union could have on Scotland at the meeting on Monday September 11.

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The SNP MSP said: “We are delighted that Mr Barnier has agreed to meet the committee.

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“This gives us a chance to hear first-hand about the progress of the negotiations and the respective positions of the EU and the UK. This meeting is a testament to the openness and transparency with which the European Commission is approaching the withdrawal negotiations.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss the points that have been made to us in the evidence we have taken so far and to raise our concerns about the impact of Brexit in Scotland. We will also highlight the consequences for Scotland if an orderly withdrawal and transition cannot be agreed between the UK and the EU.”

She added: “As there have been no formal intergovernmental discussions within the UK on the withdrawal process since February this year, speaking to Mr Barnier will allow us to gain a greater understanding of the direction of the talks and the consequences of the negotiations for Scotland.”

Committee deputy convener, Lewis Macdonald, said the Brexit talks were “historic negotiations that will have a profound impact on Scotland” as he welcomed Mr Barnier’s “willingness to engage with the committee”.

The Labour MSP added: “The talks do not appear to be making as much progress as had been expected by this point of time.

“I am particularly concerned about whether any transitional arrangements can be agreed that allow us to maintain access to the single market in the short-term, and give us time to resolve difficult issues for the long-term.

“I will be seeking to establish whether there is scope for continuing membership of the customs union and the single market in a transitional period.”