European Union States (Diplomatic Discussions)

Europe, External Affairs and Culture – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 21st June 2007.

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Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 2:15 pm, 21st June 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with embassy representatives and consulate officials of EU states on issues of mutual interest. (S3O-328)

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

Scottish ministers have already met informally a number of diplomatic and official representatives of European Union member states. Officials frequently discuss issues of mutual interest with consular and embassy officials from countries in the European Union.

Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour

I raise with the minister concerns that some of my constituents have expressed about the capacity of many communities to cope with substantial numbers of EU economic migrants in their area. Is the Scottish Executive willing to explore ways in which embassy representatives and consulate officials can take greater responsibility for working with agencies in Scotland on issues such as the substantial presence of Slovak economic migrants in the Govanhill area of my constituency, who are putting tremendous pressure on our education services, and on issues of community safety and integration?

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

People are aware of the issues to which the member refers, as they are raised fairly regularly. I would be glad to meet Mr McAveety to learn of the direct experience of the area that he represents.

Photo of Patricia Ferguson Patricia Ferguson Labour

In the course of the meetings that have taken place, have the minister or her officials had an opportunity to discuss with embassy representatives or consulate officials of other EU states the fact that the information and consultation directive, to which my colleague John Park referred, has already been agreed? What action will the Government take to ensure that Scottish companies that breach the directive, such as Simclar in my colleague Irene Oldfather's constituency, are brought to book under its terms?

Photo of Linda Fabiani Linda Fabiani Scottish National Party

I found it unfortunate that when ministers in a previous Administration answered questions to which they were not entirely sure of the answer they instantly resorted to political attacks. I will not do that. I do not know enough about the situation to which the member has referred to be able to give her a definitive answer. However, I assure her that she will have that answer from me very quickly in writing.

Photo of Alex Fergusson Alex Fergusson None

As we started late, I will allow one more question.