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Two experts state the EU will not block admission of independent Scotland

“An independent Scotland would have a right to become a Member of the EU” as “territorially [it] is part of the EU […] and the Scots are European citizens”. Such were the words of Jim Currie, the former European Commission’s Director General for Environment, before a Scottish Parliament Committee on European and External Relations on Thursday. Currie also said that the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, had given “extremely unwise” and “inaccurate” comments last Sunday, by claiming that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for a hypothetical independent Scotland to join the EU. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre, Fabian Zuleeg, stated it was “very difficult” to see EU Member States vetoing the application of an independent Scotland to join the Union.

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21 February 2014 08:51 PM

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ACN

London (ACN).-“An independent Scotland would have a right to become a Member of the EU” as “territorially [it] is part of the EU […] and the Scots are European citizens”. Such were the words of Jim Currie, the former European Commission’s Director General for Environment, before a Scottish Parliament Committee on European and External Relations on Thursday. Currie also said that the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, had given “extremely unwise” comments last Sunday, by claiming that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for a hypothetical independent Scotland to join the EU. Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre, Fabian Zuleeg, stated it was “very difficult” to see EU Member States vetoing the application of an independent Scotland to join the Union.


The former senior EU civil servant Jim Currie described as “extremely unwise” and “inaccurate” the statements of the President of the European Commission José Manuel Durão Barroso, who claimed last Sunday that the admission of a possible independent Scotland in the EU was “extremely difficult, if not impossible”. Currie has also described as “unfortunate” Barroso’s comparison between Kosovo and Scotland. The President of the European Commission had indeed suggested that Spain would veto Scotland’s admission in the EU by recalling that the Spanish Government had never recognised the independence of Kosovo.

Jim Currie, who was also the former EU’s Ambassador in Washington DC, also stressed that negotiations for a hypothetical independent Scotland to join the European club would be “pretty tough” among EU partners “perhaps even lengthy”, but he believes the new state would not be excluded from the EU. “It would be very difficult for Member States, a number of Member States, a single Member State to go around the order defined to block that entry, that membership forever more”. Currie considers a veto is out of question. “I just don’t see that happening. I don’t think it is in anybody’s interest for that to happen”, he added.

“It is very difficult to see how Scotland would not be a Member, eventually”

The Chief Executive of the most prestigious Brussels-based think tanks in EU affairs, European Policy Centre, Fabian Zuleeg shared a similar opinion to Currie’s. “It is very difficult to see how Scotland would not be a Member, eventually, if it so desires to be”, he stated. Referring to the current tensions between Spain and Catalonia, the Chief Executive, who is an expert in European political economy, EU budget, European labour markets and the sustainability of its economic model, also said that the fear of separatist movements potentially occurring in other EU countries was not strong enough for them to block Scotland’s admission.

Such statements at Edinburgh’s Parliament demonstrate, according to Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party, that an independent Scotland would have all the rights to initiate the transition to EU membership right after the ‘yes’ campaign winning the referendum. In addition, one of the party’s Spokespersons pointed out that currently, none of the EU Members announced they would veto the admission of a hypothetical independent Scotland within the Union, not even Spain.

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  • The Scottish Parliament's building in Edinburgh (by Scottish Parliament)

  • The Scottish Parliament's building in Edinburgh (by Scottish Parliament)