Friday

26th Apr 2019

Joining EU 'difficult if not impossible' for Scotland, Barroso warns

  • (Photo: maria_navarro_sorolla)

The prospect of an independent Scotland being allowed to join the EU would be "difficult, if not impossible," European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said on Sunday (16 February).

During an interview on the BBC, the chief of the EU executive implied that countries such as Spain, which is currently anxious to prevent its own region of Catalonia becoming a breakaway state, would veto Scottish attempts to join the EU.

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

  • EU accession would be 'difficult if not impossible' for Scotland, the EU Commission boss warned in an interview Sunday. (Photo: The Laird of Oldham)

"I believe it's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of one of our countries getting the agreement of the other [existing member states]," said Barroso.

"We have seen that Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance, so it's to some extent a similar case because it's a new country," he added.

The Scottish government says that if voters choose independence in the September referendum then it would re-write and agree the country's revised membership terms in the eighteen months after the vote.

During this time Scotland would still be officially part of the UK before becoming independent in 2016.

It also believes that the country would be able to join the EU by using Article 48 of the EU treaty which would avoid the need for a formal accession process.

But Barroso appeared to dash these hopes as well.

"In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state it will have to apply," he said. "Accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all other member states of the European Union," he added.

Barroso's remarks were quickly dismissed as "preposterous" by Scotland's deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

"This is a preposterous assertion – as the ridiculous comparison with Kosovo illustrates. Scotland is already in the EU and has been for 40 years," she said.

"The fact of the matter is that no member state has said that it would veto Scotland's continuing membership."

However, Barroso's statements will still come as a blow to the Scottish nationalist government, which believes that it would face few problems in negotiating its terms as a new EU member state.

Scots will vote on 16 September to decide whether or not to become independent from the UK.

Two months later, voters in Catalonia could also have their say on whether to secede from Spain, although the Spanish government is planning to prevent a referendum which it claims would be illegal under the country's constitution.

News in Brief

  1. Talks to merge Germany's two largest banks collapse
  2. EU and Japan back Iran nuclear deal despite US
  3. China addresses EU concerns on belt and road plan
  4. EU: Russian citizenship plan 'attacks' Ukraine sovereignty
  5. Deutsche Bank hands over Trump loan documents
  6. UN: Europe is badly prepared for new refugee crisis
  7. Macron to set out 'Yellow vest' counter measures
  8. Italy requests EU action plan for new Libya migrant wave

Magazine

All about the European Parliament elections 2019

EUobserver's new magazine is meant to help readers prepare for the European Parliament elections, no matter their level of knowledge. You can download and read the entire magazine now.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Migration and climate are EU's top priorities, Macron says
  2. Greens commit to air quality 'super commissioner'
  3. Far-right Facebook networks removed before Spain election
  4. EU and Japan in delicate trade talks
  5. Closer EU-Caribbean ties mean greater prosperity for all
  6. Details of EU Brexit talks with Blair and Soros kept secret
  7. Weber vows to block Nord Stream 2 amid 'sue' threat
  8. 'Next Juncker' must fix EU's corporate power problem

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us