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Peter and the other committee members are pictured with European Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier.

Peter Grant, SNP Europe Spokesperson and MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife, has just returned from a fact-finding trip to Brussels and Paris as part of his role on the Exiting the European Union Committee. The trip took place during the short November parliamentary recess and included visits to the European Commission and European Parliament.

Commenting, Peter said:

“The aim of the trip was to establish how the Brexit negotiations are viewed from a European perspective. It was insightful for those of us on the Brexit Committee to meet with key members of the EU negotiating team and Members of the European Parliament to discuss how they see the progress of the negotiations going.

“As well as private meetings with the UK Ambassadors to the EU and to France, in Brussels we met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, and Guy Verhoefstadt who is leading on Brexit for the European Parliament. We also had very useful meetings with senior MEPs, some of whom are recognised as firm friends of the UK, who expressed their concerns at the UK government’s handling of the negotiations so far.

“In Paris we were able to meet with members of both houses of the French Parliament and with senior business and academic leaders.

“I found the visit extremely constructive and I look forward to using what we have learned to help inform the Committee’s ongoing work. For me the single biggest message was that despite what some pro Brexit MPs will claim, none of the people we spoke to had any interest in punishing the UK for exercising its right to leave. But the UK government doesn’t seem to understand that the EU and its 27 remaining member states have a duty to look after their own national interests and that’s always going to make for difficult negotiations.”

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