EU would ‘wel­come back an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land’

The Herald - - POLITICS - ALIS­TAIR GRANT

AN in­de­pen­dent Scot­land would be wel­comed back into the Euro­pean Union within just two to three years, a Scot­tish Labour MEP said.

David Martin – the sec­ond longest­serv­ing MEP in Europe – said sym­pa­thy was grow­ing in Brus­sels over Scot­land be­ing “forced out” of the EU against its will.

He said ne­go­ti­a­tions would be “quick” given Scot­land would meet nearly all of the con­di­tions for mem­ber­ship, and ar­gued a “be­spoke deal” would en­able it to stay out of the eu­ro­zone.

Scot­tish Labour dis­missed his re­marks as “hy­po­thet­i­cal state­ments which do not re­flect Scot­tish Labour pol­icy in any way, shape, or form”.

Mr Martin said Scot­land’s fu­ture mem­ber­ship of the EU was not “high on peo­ple’s agenda” in Brus­sels, but added: “It is talked about, and there are peo­ple who would not pre­vi­ously have been sym­pa­thetic to the idea of an in­de­pen­dent Scot­land – col­leagues of mine, I’m talk­ing non-bri­tish col­leagues – who now talk about it openly and say to me, ‘Are you go­ing to be an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, are you likely to join as a sep­a­rate coun­try?’

“I think there is a dif­fer­ence be­tween now and the time of the Scot­tish ref­er­en­dum where we were seen to be leav­ing a mem­ber state and we were pulling our­selves out of the EU in some peo­ple’s eyes.

“This time around we (Scot­land) are be­ing forced out of the EU, which is how it is per­ceived here.

“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 a be­spoke deal on join­ing the euro would be of­fered “be­cause other coun­tries have it and it wouldn’t be a prob­lem that you didn’t sign up to the euro”.

A ma­jor SNP re­port this year sug­gested keep­ing the pound for 10 years af­ter in­de­pen­dence, be­fore mov­ing towards a new cur­rency.

It in­sisted Scot­land would not be obliged to join the euro if it be­came a mem­ber of the EU, point­ing to the ex­am­ple of other coun­tries such as Swe­den and Den­mark.

Mr Martin, a Labour MEP since 1984, said plans to keep the pound – as out­lined in the SNP’S Growth Com­mis­sion re­port – would prob­a­bly be ac­cepted by Brus­sels.

He said Scot­land would not have to queue be­hind oth­ers seek­ing to gain mem­ber­ship

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