MSPs lobby for soft Brexit with Barnier
Members of the Scottish Parliament’s European Committee travelled to Brussels for talks with Michel Barnier to press concerns over the potential impact of Brexit on Scottish agriculture, fisheries and universities.
In a meeting that lasted for over an hour, MSPs also raised the future status of EU citizens in the UK, and were briefed on the EU’s position on a post-Brexit transition period.
The committee’s SNP convener, Joan McAlpine said Mr Barnier had been “interested in Scotland” and “well-informed” about the Scottish Government’s desire for the UK to stay in the single market.
“We discussed the importance of reaching a deal and the concerns about the pace of the negotiations,” Ms McAlpine said. “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.”
The Labour deputy convener, Lewis Macdonald added that there was “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.”
A European Commission spokesman said Mr Barnier told MSPs: “I have always made it clear that we want to listen to the different points of view in the British debate. Of course, I will only negotiate with the UK government.”