First Minister To Visit Paris And Officially Open Scottish Government Hub

18 February 2019, 06:24

Nicola Sturgeon Downing Street

Nicola Sturgeon will showcase Scotland as an "open and outward-looking country" during a visit to France.

The First Minister is heading to Paris to address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assemblee Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament.

She will also officially open the Scottish Government's hub office in Paris.

France is the third largest market for Scottish exports, with Ms Sturgeon saying the relationship between the two nations is "one of the oldest in the world".

But she has come under fire for embarking on another overseas trip so soon after a visit to the US and Canada.

The SNP leader visited Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, Ottawa and Toronto earlier in February.

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said: "Another week and another jaunt abroad for the First Minister.

"Meanwhile, back home, we have a health service on its knees, our schools are struggling, and councils are toiling to balance their budgets due to SNP cuts."

The Tory MSP added: "The SNP's only aim is to drive a wedge between Scotland and our largest trading partner - which is the rest of the UK.

"Nicola Sturgeon should focus on growing Scotland's economy instead of attempting to grandstand on the world stage."

Speaking ahead of the trip, the First Minister stressed: "France is our third largest export market and French-based firms play a key part in our economy, with investments in financial services and our food and drink industry.

"By promoting trade and investment, and officially launching our new hub in Paris, the Scottish Government is working to show Scotland is open for business and an attractive place to invest, visit, work and live.

"Despite the challenges we face as a result of Brexit, the Scottish Government will continue to do all we can to show the world that we are an open and outward looking country."