Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Wednesday, 21 March 2012

EU priorities 2012 debate

SNP MSP Christina McKelvie led the European and External Relations Committee debate on its report into the Scottish Parliament's EU priorities for 2012 .

The committee has collated the EU priorities of the committees of the Parliament as envisaged by the Scottish Parliament's EU Strategy.

Ms McKelvie said: "It is only the beginning of the serious work that must be undertaken to ensure Scotland's voice is heard in Brussels".

The committee convener noted that 70 issues were presented in December 2011 as likely to have an impact on Scotland.

Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said it was vital to "ensure Scotland's interests are represented" and echoed "the importance of influencing early".

Ms Hyslop highlighted four priority areas in the action plan for Scotland in the EU: energy and climate change, research and creativity, the marine environment and justice.

The cabinet secretary for culture and external affairs said Scotland should act for the UK as a whole where it has a lead, for example, in fisheries: "there is collaboration but there is no substitute for being able to speak with our own voice".

Patricia Ferguson MSP said told the committee it was right Brussels leads on overarching issues of structural funds, Horizon 2020 and the Euro zone.

Jamie McGrigor MSP referred to the report as: "the offspring of the previous committee's report" - into the Lisbon treaty.

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