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Ministerial Visits 2017

Ministerial Visits: 2016, 2015



Minister / Senior Official


July 2017


Ms Nicola Sturgeon

First Minister of Scotland

First Minister meeting with Michel Barnier

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, was in Brussels on 13 July 2017 to meet Michel Barnier, the European Commission’s appointed Chief Negotiator for the Article 50 Negotiations. The First Minister issued the following statement after this meeting:

“This was a useful and constructive meeting and I welcomed the opportunity to discuss Scotland’s priorities with Mr Barnier - in particular our view that the UK should seek to remain in the single market. 

I outlined to Mr Barnier that our priority is to protect Scotland’s vital economic interests, and that the Scottish Government will do all it can to build a consensus against an extreme Brexit outside the single market, which would have potentially catastrophic consequences for jobs, investment and our living standards.

We have always been clear that this is not about holding separate Scottish negotiations – it is for the UK as the member state to negotiate with the EU – and as such we will continue to work hard to influence the UK position. However, meetings like this are helpful in developing a mutual understanding between the Scottish Government and the EU as these vital negotiations gather pace."

June 2017


Mr Michael Russell

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe

Brexit and Citizens’ Rights Event

Minster for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Mr Michael Russell, was in Brussels on 20 June to participate in a conference organised by the European Citizens’ Action Service, “Brexit and Citizens’ Rights: Where do we go from here?”. Mr Russell also hosted a panel discussion and evening reception with the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) in Scotland House and met with the European Parliament’s Brexit Negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt MEP, and with the EPP Brexit Advisory Group.

June 2017


Ms Jeane Freeman

Minister for Social Security

Visit to Strasbourg

Minister for Social Security, Ms Jeane Freeman, visited Strasbourg on 12 and 13 June, accompanied by Sally Witchers, CEO of Inclusion Scotland. Ms Freeman met with Marja Ruotanen, Director at the Human Dignity & Equality Directorate at the Council of Europe. On 13 June, she met with key members of the European Parliament Intergroup on Disabilities and held meetings with MEPs Helga Stevens, Marian Harkin, Guillaume Balas, Ian Duncan, David Martin and Catherine Stihler.

May 2017


Mr James Wolffe

The Lord Advocate

European Parliament JURI Committee

The Lord Advocate, Mr James Wolffe QC, was in Brussels on 30 May to give evidence at a hearing on the “Legal consequences of Brexit” at the JURI Committee in the European Parliament. Mr Wolffe also met with the UK’s European Commissioner, Sir Julian King.

April 2017


Ms Shona Robison

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport


Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, was in Brussels on 27 April to host an event at Scotland House on Active and Healthy Ageing – Addressing the Challenges of Multi-Medication in Europe’s Elderly Population. Ms Robison also met with the Deputy Director-General for Health and Food Safety, Martin Seychell, and with Nina Renshaw, Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).

April 2017


Mr Michael Russell

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe

Visit to Brussels & Seafood Expo

The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, Michael Russell, was in Brussels on 26 April to give the keynote speech at a high level roundtable lunch on ‘Perspectives on Brexit’ which was hosted by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Policy Centre and ex-President of the European Council. In addition, Mr Russell met a group of MEPs from the Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament and met with Scottish seafood producers at the European Seafood Exposition, announcing that Seafood Scotland had been awarded £0.9 million of EU funding to promote and showcase Scottish produce at key trade shows over the next 12 months.

March 2017


Mr Michael Russell

Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe

Young Scot Event  

The Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Michael Russell, was in Brussels on 13 March to host a roundtable event for young Scots and young Europeans that reflected on the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome and the future of Europe. While in Brussels, Mr Russell also met with the UK’s European Commissioner, Sir Julian King.

March 2017


Mr Fergus Ewing

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

On 06 March, Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, attended the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels. The Future of the Common Agriculture Policy post 2020 was the most prominent item on the agenda to the Scottish Government.  In addition, there were a number of AOBs concerning voluntary coupled support and animal health and welfare issues.

February 2017


Ms Roseanna Cunningham

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Environment Council

On 28 February, Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, attended the Environment Council in Brussels. The Cabinet Secretary had a bilateral meeting with the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment and Rural Life Opportunities, Therese Coffey, and participated in the EU Council meeting, which had review of the Emission Trading Scheme as the principal agenda item, alongside other items such as discussions on the sustainable development goals and their interaction with environment policy. 

January 2017


Ms Fiona Hyslop

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

AFCO Committee, European Parliament

On 30 January, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, appeared before the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee. She set out the Scottish Government's position following the EU Referendum and the proposals in Scotland's Place in Europe and responded to a Q&A session. The meeting was live streamed on the European Parliament's website.

January 2017


Mr Jamie Hepburn

Minister for Employability and Training

Employability Discussions & Annual Burns Supper

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training, was in Brussels on 23 January where he held a series of discussions with key partners in relation to employability. Mr Hepburn visited a training facility in Anderlecht that provides vocational training and support to job seekers to move into employment. That evening, he also hosted the Scottish Government EU Office's annual Burns Supper at the Residence of the UK Permanent Representative to the EU. The Supper provided an opportunity to welcome the new Presidencies of the Council of the EU for 2017, Malta and Estonia.

January 2017


Ms Fiona Hyslop

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs

Scotland's Place in Europe

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, hosted an event in Brussels on 15 January to discuss the document Scotland's Place in Europe, a set of proposals designed to mitigate the risks for Scotland of being taken out of the EU. The document was published by the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, on 20 December. While in Brussels, Ms Hyslop also met with Belgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Didier Reynders.