Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy visit to Brussels – 04 June
To mark EU Sustainable Energy Week, Paul Wheelhouse MSP visited Brussels to host a series of round-tables attended by stakeholders from across Europe. These included member state representatives, NGOs, regional networks, regional representations, and the European institutions. The day was split into three round-tables, the first looking at decarbonising heating and moving towards more energy efficient buildings, the second discussed developing Scotland's approach to local energy systems – particularly looking at islands, and the final session considered Scotland's subsea and marine renewable energy offering. This was followed by a networking reception hosted by Mr Wheelhouse, in which he reaffirmed Scotland's commitment to working together with European partners.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland Visit to Brussels – 28 May
Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, visited Brussels on Monday 28 May. Her visit included a meeting with the European Union's Chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, to discuss the key issues of concern for Scotland as the Brexit negotiations continue.
Following the meeting with Michel Barnier, the First Minister held a series of media interviews, including a live streamed interview with Politico She said during the interview that Michel Barnier had shown an openness to hearing the Scottish Government's view on matters related to Brexit, including the strongly held position that Scotland and the UK as a whole should remain within the EU Customs Union and Single Market.
The First Minister also hosted a round table discussion with representatives from think tanks and the business community in Brussels and she officially opened the refurbished and expanded Scotland House Brussels – part of the Scottish Government's network of hubs across Europe with offices now in London, Dublin, Berlin and soon to open in Paris.
The refurbished Scotland House has brought all the Scotland House partners – Scottish Government, Scotland Europa and Scottish Development International – into one workspace. During the launch event, the First Minister also opened the new Scotland House exhibition.
In her speech to the launch attendees, the First Minister said that the refurbished Scotland House is indicative of the Scottish Government's desire to remain at the heart of Europe. The opening of the refreshed Scotland House included the launch of "FutureProof", a selection of photographic works by recent graduates of Scotland's art schools and universities. Anne Mie Bak Andersen, one of the exhibited photographers, was introduced by the First Minister and spoke about her work and experience of moving to and studying in Scotland.
Visit by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs – 22 May
On Tuesday 22 May, Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, visited Brussels to host a policy seminar in Scotland House Brussels entitled 'A sporting legacy – contributing to Europe's competitiveness in a global marketplace' The event discussed the impact of legacy following major sporting events, and focussed on the upcoming European Championships being co-hosted by Glasgow and Berlin in August. Ms Hyslop hosted the event alongside Aleksander Dzembritski, Berlin State Secretary for Sport, and following the policy seminar there was a collaborative cultural performance featuring operatic singers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Universitat der Kunste in Berlin.Ms Hyslop also met with a number of EU stakeholders during her visit, including MEPs Danuta Hubner, Chair of the AFCO Committee, Mairead McGuinness, and David McAllister.
Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science visit – 26 March
The Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Ms Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, visited the Scottish Government EU office on 26 March 2018. During the visit, the Minister set out Scotland's response to the Framework Programme 9 consultation and promoted the Scottish Government's analysis and key messages set out in Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment. The Minister met the Swiss Ambassador to the EU, Urs Bucher and a number of people from the Representation of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg to the EU. Ms Somerville also held a round-table discussion with the Principals from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and a number of stakeholders from the research and innovation community. The Minister hosted an evening event on 'Scotland's collaborative place in Europe' at Scotland House and delivered a key note speech, which set out Scotland's FP9 position.
Lord Advocate visit – 29 January
The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe, QC, visited Brussels on 29 January to give a presentation on "Tackling transnational crime: a Scottish perspective". Scotland Europa invited the Lord Advocate as part of a discussion series hosted at Scotland House. A full day programme was prepared for the Lord Advocate, who met the Swiss ambassador to the EU, Urs Bucher; and the Assistant Secretary General in EFTA, Georges Baur. The Lord Advocate also met one of Norway's counsellors for Justice and Home Affairs.
Cabinet Secretary visit – 22-23 January
The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, visited Brussels from 22 - 23 January 2018. During this visit the Cabinet Secretary promoted the Scottish Government's analysis and key messages set out in Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment. She met EU Ambassadors from Germany, Canada, Norway and the UK as well as David McAllister MEP, Roberto Gualtieri MEP, Alyn Smith MEP and David Martin MEP. The Cabinet Secretary also hosted the Scottish Government's annual Burns Supper and the Scotland House Burns Concert which featured performances by students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The visit programme also included media briefings and a speech at the Committee of the Regions regarding Scotland's Place in Europe.
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