11/12/2012

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.

(IT)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

01 June 2004
Beware 'extremists', Tories urge ahead of Euro poll
Tory leader Michael Howard has appealed to UK voters to reject "extremist" alternatives – such as the UK Independence Party – for June's European elections. Mr Howard is keen not to leak Eurosceptic votes to the UKIP and appealed for Conservatives to rally behind his party's vision of Europe - which he declared "puts Britain first".
05 February 2013
Transition To An Independent Scotland Outlined
Scotland's process of transition to an independent country following a 'Yes' vote in next year’s historic referendum has been outlined in a paper published today by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
26 November 2013
SNP Produce Independence Blueprint
The SNP have published their "mission statement" for Scotland's future. Promising a "revolution" in social policy, the 670-page independence blueprint lays out a number of changes in childcare policy the SNP would pursue if elected as the government of an independent Scotland.
19 November 2013
Scottish Corporation Tax Cut Could Boost Jobs - Govt Claim
Cutting corporation tax in an independent Scotland could lead to a "jobs boom", the Scottish government has claimed. The SNP-run government made the claim at the launch of a 200-page economic policy document, which lays out the possible choices available to voters should they say 'yes' in the upcoming independence vote.
10 December 2012
Independent Scotland Must Reapply For EU
President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has said any new independent country would have to make a fresh application to join the EU. The comments could generate problems for the Scottish government’s referendum on independence.