Tuesday 4 April 2017

Spanish Foreign Minister: Spain Would Not Veto An Independent Scotland’s Attempts To Join EU


Politicians have rallied around the announcement after Spain and the UK clashed this week over the future of Gibraltar.

The Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has revealed that Spain wouldn’t stop Scotland from applying to join the EU.

Mr Dastis told the Guardian: “We don’t want it (Scottish independence) to happen.”

“But if it happens legally and constitutionally, we would not block it. We don’t encourage the breakup of any member states, because we think the future goes in a different direction.”

The Spanish stance could boost support for Indyref2 after 62% of Scots voted to remain in the EU.

The comments come after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday vowed to ignore Theresa May’s Indyref2 snub after 69 to 59 MSPs voted in favour of seeking permission for IndyRef2.

Michael Russell, the Scottish Government minister for UK negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, added that the comments will help to end “misinformation” about Spain’s position regarding Scotland and the EU.

Spain had previously been against an independent Scotland joining the EU due to the growing pressure for Spain’s Catalonia to become independent as well.

But their change in stance could be attributed to the triggering of Article 50 this week, bringing Britain’s exit from the EU as early as 2019.

Mr Russell told the BBC: “That has been the position of the Spanish Government for some considerable time.

“All the speculation about what the Spanish Government would or wouldn’t do has been wrong.”

He added: “What this does is it de-escalates the situation, it produces some reality in the situation, so then we can have an argument about the merits of the case, not misinformation which has been coming from a range of sources.”

Earlier this month the European Union declared an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU – which could mean having to sign up to the Euro.

But SNP MP Stephen Gethis stated that numerous EU countries would back an independent Scotland joining the Union.

He said: “This is just the latest indication from a senior European diplomat that an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the EU after Lord Kerr this week said that we’d be in ‘very fast’.

“EU countries want to be constructive with Scotland and will respect the democratic will of the Scottish people if we choose to be independent.”

Nicola Sturgeon

Experts have said negotiations for Scotland to return to the EU could take years.

Scottish Conservative MEP Ian Duncan has added that the negotiations could impact badly on the country.

He said: “The issue about an independent Scotland’s EU membership has never been about an individual country’s veto.

“The truth is the decision would rest in the hands of all 27 member states, each of which would undoubtedly ask for something from Scotland in return.

“This is likely to lead to sweeping concessions, especially for our fishermen.

“This would result in a hugely unfavourable deal, something considerably worse than the UK’s membership of the EU prior to Brexit.”

This comes after the European Council hinted at handing Spain an effective veto over what aspects of Brexit would affect Gibraltar.

But Foreign Minister Boris Johnson reaffirmed Britain’s support for Gibraltar and stated that ongoing negotiations would continue to include the British territory.



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