Saturday

21st Sep 2019

Scottish leader hits back at Spain on independence

Scottish leader Alex Salmond has played down Spain's claim that an independent Scotland would be kicked out of the EU.

The Scottish Nationalist government unveiled its plans for independence in the 670-page blueprint "Scotland's Future" earlier this week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Salmond says Scotland could negotiate its membership terms from within the EU

It believes Scotland would be able to renegotiate its status from within the EU.

The plan is to vote for secession from the UK in a September 2014 referendum, but to wait 18 months until the first day of independence in 2016, while using the interim to re-establish its EU membership.

The project suffered a blow on Wednesday (27 November) when Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy told press: "I know for sure that a region that would separate from a member state of the EU would remain outside the EU and that should be known by the Scots."

"I would like that the consequences of that secession be presented with realism to Scots," he noted.

He spoke alongside French President Francois Hollande, who did not contradict him.

He added, in thinly veiled criticism of Salmond, that "the times we live in demand strong countries, and unity is not contrary to autonomy, it is a guarantee of strength."

His remarks were also designed to put the frighteners on Catalonia.

The wealthy Spanish region is, like Scotland, planning to hold a referendum on independence next year.

But Rajoy's centre-right government and the opposition socialist party say the plan violates Spain's constitution.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso sent out a similar message a few months ago.

He said that any new country which split from an EU member state would "become a third country with respect to the EU" and would have to apply for membership.

Meanwhile, at a debate in the Scottish parliament on Thursday, the leader of the centre-left Labour party in Scotland, Johan Lamont, said Rajoy is being "straighter with Scots than the first minister [Salmond]."

Salmond hit back, saying the Union would welcome Scotland with open arms.

"Scotland is a European nation. Resource-rich Scotland would be welcome. Anybody with an ounce of sense knows that," he said.

He also cited a letter from the office of Catherine Day, the EU commission's secretary general, which, he said, made clear it will be "legally possible to renegotiate the situation of the UK and Scotland within the European Union."

Scottish secession would require a re-allocation of voting weights and parliamentary seats in the EU's two lawmaking bodies, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.

It would also be entitled to an EU commissioner.

Agenda

Europe goes to New York This WEEK

Iran and climate change likely to dominate as French president Emmanuel Macron speaks for Europe at the UN general assembly in New York this week.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland: right Brexit deal is 'not yet close'
  2. UK secrecy on Brexit holds back wider EU talks
  3. Feminist mass protest in Spain after 19 murders this summer
  4. Global climate strike starts ahead of UN summit
  5. UK Brexit minister to meet Barnier on Friday
  6. Russia-Ukraine gas deal talks show 'progress'
  7. Nobel economist: Ireland 'not good EU citizen' on taxes
  8. Germany takes carbon border tax on board

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Podcast

Trumpworld In Europe

Pastors and plutocrats are sponsoring an ultra-conservative agenda in Europe. Many of them have links to Donald Trump.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. Europe goes to New York This WEEK
  2. Nine EU 'commissioners' asked to clarify declarations
  3. Dismiss Italy's Salvini at your peril
  4. Malta PM accused of 'blackmail' over slain reporter
  5. Diplomats back Romania's Kovesi for EU top prosecutor
  6. Brexit raises questions for EU defence integration
  7. Low-carbon cities can unlock €21tn by 2050, report finds
  8. France, Italy want 'automatic' distribution of migrants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us