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The SNP has been determined in the last four years to secure a second referendum on independence as Nicola Sturgeon aims to take Scotland back into the EU. Over 60 percent of Scots voted to remain in the 2016 referendum on the UK’s EU membership, and Brexit has therefore sparked a fresh Scottish nationalist surge. Philippe Lamberts, a Belgian MEP and Co-President of the Greens in Brussels, tells Express.co.uk that Scotland would be welcomed into the bloc. He also praised Ms Sturgeon for her leadership in Scotland, branding the First Minister a potential candidate for President of the European Commission.
On whether an independent Scotland could join the EU, Mr Lamberts said: “Yes, the answer is a definite yes.
“There would be no obstacle for Scotland joining if the UK is no longer in the EU.
“And this time independence would be different, because in 2014 Scotland would have left the UK and the EU at once.
“Now Scotland is leaving a smaller union to join a bigger union.
“Nicola Sturgeon comes across as a genuine person, politically astute and someone whose word can be trusted, whereas Boris Johnson comes across very quickly as someone you can’t trust.
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“I can imagine Nicola Sturgeon being president of the European Commission, she seems to be much closer to the centre of gravity of European politics than Boris Johnson is.”
Mr Lamberts has long been critical of Mr Johnson and other Brexiteers during withdrawal and trade talks with the EU.
The Belgian politician argues that, if Scotland does leave the UK, the responsibility will lay largely with the Prime Minister after his “power grab”.
Mr Lamberts added: “It is as a result of Brexit and the power grab by Boris Johnson of devolved powers in Scotland during the Brexit process that the UK will lose Scotland.
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“Scotland will rejoin the EU sooner than many think, weakening the position of the UK.
“Brexiteers are not defenders of the union, they are English nationalists, they dropped Northern Ireland like a brick and Boris Johnson doesn’t care for Wales or Scotland either.”
Downing Street has used the Internal Market Bill in a bid to override the withdrawal agreement with the EU, but it also has implications for devolved powers.
The Scottish Government also branded it a Westminster “power grab”, because anything which is not specifically reserved should automatically come to Holyrood.
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But Number 10 insists what is happening represents “the biggest transfer of powers in the history of devolution”.
While Mr Lamberts says Scotland would be welcomed into the EU, a sticking point could arise over the adoption of the euro.
Asked last year if Scotland would change to the euro, Ms Sturgeon said: “No, I don’t think it would.”
She added: “No we wouldn’t and there are examples in the European Union today that prove that’s not the case. Sweden, for example, joined the EU after the so-called requirements to join the Euro were in place.”
However, Mr Lamberts warned all new member states have to take the currency on.
He did also argue that the SNP may change its tack if Scotland does apply for EU membership.
The MEP added: “Any new member state has to adopt the euro, I know that the SNP are revisiting their scenario depending on the outcome of a referendum.
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“So I don’t think past positions of Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP are reflective of the positions they will take if they apply to join the EU after a referendum.”
Public law expert Professor Aileen McHarg told Express.co.uk in July that there are no legal barriers stopping Scotland from joining the EU.
She said: “Any barriers for Scotland in joining the EU are political rather than legal, because any candidate to join the EU has to abide by the terms set.
“It would be fairly easy to meet those terms because Scottish law is currently fully compliant with EU law.
“As time goes on there are likely to become greater divergences, but that would simply mean at the time Scotland wanted to join the EU we’d have to change stuff then.”