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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-08410: Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 March 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the recent joint economic declaration signed with Bavaria, what lessons it can learn from the cooperation agreement signed with Bavaria in 2002, and what its position is on whether Scotland has followed up on the 2002 agreement.

Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 25 April 2017

On 30 June 2003 a cross-cutting cooperation agreement was signed by the then First Minister, Jack McConnell, and the Bavarian State Minister for Federal European Affairs, Reinhold Bocklet. This agreement covered a number of policy areas, such as: European policy; land use planning and design of development; justice; pupil exchange; tourism; and environment. The 2003 agreement helped lay the foundations for the constructive relationship with Bavaria which Scotland now enjoys - one which has been reinvigorated in recent, reciprocal trade missions between Scotland and Bavaria, culminating in the joint economic declaration signed by Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Deputy Minister President of Bavaria, Ilse Aigner.

The implications of Brexit now means it is more important than ever for Scotland to maintain and build productive relationships with our European partners. We enjoy a strong relationship with Germany and are committed to further enhancing our cultural, economic and political links at state and regional levels. In Bavaria alone, 17 towns and cities are twinned with Scottish towns and cities, including Edinburgh with Munich, and Glasgow with Nuremberg. We hope to use this strong platform to further develop economic links.

Our new agreement is a result of this, reinforcing the economic links between Scotland and Bavaria and our shared interests in key sectors such as renewable energy, financial services, life sciences, chemical services and data analytics. This agreement fits very well with Scotland CAN DO, our vision to become a world-leading entrepreneurial & innovative nation, and we have sought to share good practise, and learn from each other, in terms of enabling a supportive eco-system for innovation and enterprise to flourish.