Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made her feelings about Brexit perfectly clear this week after she reportedly demanded the EU flag is flown from Scottish government buildings every day. This order came in updated official guidance over which flags should be flown from buildings run by the Scottish government and its agencies. Constitution spokesman for the Scottish Tories, Dean Lockhart, responded furiously to the move, saying it “makes no sense.”
He added: “The UK has left the EU, so Nicola Sturgeon’s personal decision to order the flying of the EU flag on Scottish government buildings makes no sense.
“It reconfirms the SNP’s refusal to accept referendum results and their ongoing focus on constitutional issues at the expense of more important priorities. But we should not be surprised. Like all nationalists, Sturgeon is obsessed with flags.”
A Scottish government spokesman said: “The EU flag is flown to reflect the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in Europe, and as a mark of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens who continue to call Scotland home despite Brexit.”
Ms Sturgeon has been clear that she wants to take an independent Scotland back into the EU, but experts believe this process could see the country encounter challenges.
Andreas Rahmatian, a professor of law at the University of Glasgow, warned that Scotland “cannot afford to be difficult” in talks with the EU, indicating Ms Sturgeon may have to accept much of Brussels’ demands.
He added that Scotland is “economically irrelevant” to the bloc as he suggested the country would also need a constitution to join.
Mr Rahmatian wrote for Euronews in January 2020: “The EU has recently turned down two countries which sought EU membership – and these had functioning constitutions.
“The EU would be foolish if it considered EU membership for Scotland without a modern constitutional system and with perhaps a raucous nationalism instead (as if the EU does not have enough of that), especially since the EU has now luckily got rid of the eternal troublemaker, Britain.
“Economically Scotland, with a population the size of less than two-thirds of Greater Paris, is entirely irrelevant for the EU, so politically it cannot afford to be difficult.”
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Dr Kirsty Hughes provided a similar analysis when discussing Scotland’s entry into the EU.
In March 2020, she wrote a report for the Scottish Centre on European Relations, in which she said Scotland could join the bloc after an application period of around four to five years.
She said: “Scotland’s negotiators and politicians would need to be aware or learn what the CEE (Central and Eastern European), and other candidates have had to learn, sometimes painfully – that these are not really two-sided negotiations.
“Accession talks are a process where the EU holds all the cards and is scrutinising each candidate, in great detail, as to whether it comes up to the mark or not.
“It is not a moment or process to ask for several or major exceptions or opt-outs, though there may be some specific issues where some transition or exception will be considered.”
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Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts told Express.co.uk in December that Scotland would “definitely” be welcome in the EU, and even tipped Ms Sturgeon as a future candidate for European Commission President.
However, he warned that any new member state must adopt the euro, perhaps a sign of things to come when Scotland and the EU negotiate.
Mr Lamberts said: “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.
“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.”