Scot­land could be back in EU two years af­ter in­de­pen­dence, says Labour MEP

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - NEWS - GARETH MCPHER­SON

Scot­land could be back in the EU two years af­ter be­com­ing in­de­pen­dent, ac­cord­ing to Bri­tain’s long­est-serv­ing MEP.

David Martin, who has sat in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment since 1984, said his Brus­sels col­leagues from the Con­ti­nent are “very sym­pa­thetic” to his home coun­try re­join­ing the EU.

The Labour politi­cian said Scot­land would not have to sign up to the euro as a con­di­tion of mem­ber­ship.

But he warned it would not get “pref­er­en­tial treat­ment” and as a mem­ber state would have to fol­low the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy, which is de­spised by Scot­tish fish­er­men.

Mr Martin, who was on Ni­cola Stur­geon’s Stand­ing Coun­cil on Europe, said an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would be wel­comed into the EU and its ap­pli­ca­tion would be viewed dif­fer­ently than 2014.

“This time around we (Scot­land) are be­ing forced out of the EU, which is how it is per­ceived here,” he told a press brief­ing in Brus­sels.

“They know that Scot­land voted to Re­main and I think they would be very sym­pa­thetic if Scot­land came back and said ‘Scot­land be­came in­de­pen­dent and it wants to join the EU’. It would be wel­come.”

He said the Scot­tish Govern­ment would get a “be­spoke deal on the euro be­cause other coun­tries have”, adding: “It wouldn’t be a prob­lem that you (Scot­land) didn’t sign up to the euro.”

On the CFP, he said he gets the ar­gu­ment that Scot­land would try to change the con­tro­ver­sial pol­icy once it is back in the bloc, but pointed out “some of us have been try­ing to change that for a long time”.

It would take about 18 months to com­plete the ac­ces­sion ne­go­ti­a­tions and a fur­ther six to nine months to rat­ify it, as­sum­ing Scot­land had not di­verged from EU rules sig­nif­i­cantly while out­side the bloc, Mr Martin said.

“You are talk­ing a min­i­mum of two years (to re­join) but it would prob­a­bly re­al­is­ti­cally be three,” Mr Martin said.

A com­pli­cat­ing fac­tor is how soon af­ter a Yes vote the EU would be pre­pared to open ne­go­ti­a­tions with Scots min­is­ters, given the re­quire­ment for a time de­lay be­tween vot­ing for in­de­pen­dence and the point of se­ces­sion.

An SNP spokes­woman said Scot­land has been a mem­ber of the EU for 45 years so would be “very well pre­pared” to re­join.

Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive con­sti­tu­tion spokesman Adam Tomkins said: “The EU have made it clear that an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would not re­ceive a quick ac­ces­sion. By tak­ing the same side as the SNP, Scot­tish Labour are show­ing they are to­tally un­will­ing and un­able to stand up to them.”

Pic­ture: PA.

David Martin: Brus­sels col­leagues are ‘very sym­pa­thetic’ to Scot­land re­join­ing the EU.

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