Scotland calls for urgent talks over EU membership

The Scottish government is pressing for urgent talks with the European commission after José Manual Barroso said it was obvious that an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU.

The commission president’s robust warning about Scotland’s future status alarmed the devolved government in Edinburgh, forcing Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish deputy first minister, to call for early talks about Scotland’s legal rights should it gain independence.

In an interview with BBC News, Barroso said it was clear under commission rulings dating back to 2004 that a newly independent state which had emerged from an existing member state would be treated as a new applicant. That country would need to reach agreement on membership with all other 27 member states in order to join, he said, going into far greater detail than in his first, more cautious remarks on the issue in September.

“For European Union purposes, from a legal point of view, it is certainly a new state. If a country becomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU,” Barroso said.

“Now what I said, and it’s our doctrine and it’s clearly since 2004 in legal terms, if one part of a country – I’m not referring now to any specific one – wants to become an independent state, of course as an independent state it has to apply to the European Union for membership according to the rules. That’s obvious.”

Crucially for the UK government, Barroso said that the rest of the UK would, in principle, remain part of the EU without any need to rejoin or renegotiate the terms of its membership because of the “principle of continuity of the state”.

Read  @ The Guardian