Scottish Government Contacts EC Over Independence

The Scottish government has contacted the European Commission to call for talks over the independence referendum.

The announcement follows EC president Jose Manuel Barroso's comments to the BBC that any newly-independent country would have to reapply to join the EU.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has sent a letter to the EC calling for discussions.

The question over an independent Scotland’s EU status has become a focal point in the debate. Scotland is holding an independence referendum in 2014.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has always claimed an independent Scotland would "quite clearly" remain part of the European Union and that negotiations would take place "from within that context".

But Mr Barroso told the BBC’s Hardtalk programme that, while he would not comment on any specific case, if any country gained independence from another, "it has to apply to the European membership according to the rules - that is obvious."

Prime Minister David Cameron described the EC president’s comments as "significant".

But Ms Sturgeon says the SNP government does not agree that an independent Scotland would have to reapply for European Union membership.

Now the SNP is seeking talks with the European Commission to discuss the issue of Scotland’s independence.

The EC has confirmed that the letter had been received.

Scotland's Finance Secretary John Swinney is due to appear before the Lords Economic Affairs Committee later, where he is expected to be asked about an independent Scotland's place in the EU as well as questions about defence jobs and how the national debt would be split if Scotland became independent.


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