Nicola Sturgeon ‘doesn’t want independence’ says Nigel Farage
The First Minister is confident that Scotland could join the European Union should it gain independence, a referendum she is pushing to hold in the near future. Yet Brussels would resolutely reject Ms Sturgeon and her Scottish National Party’s hopes, as the country proves “too much trouble” for the 27-member state bloc. The revelation comes just weeks after she wrote on the SNP’s website: “As an independent member of the EU, Scotland would be a partner and a bridge-builder.
“We hope to see you again soon.”
Scotland voted to stay a part of the EU with 62 percent of the electorate crossing the “Remain” box.
However, Robert Tombs, the renowned British historian of France and Professor Emeritus at the University of Cambridge, told Express.co.uk that the EU would not readily accept a newly independent Scotland into the bloc as it would be “too much trouble”.
He said: “It would cost the EU money, the Scots would expect to be subsidised by the EU, and the bloc is getting more and more reluctant to do that.
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“Countries like Spain would oppose the idea too, because it would be an encouragement to the Catalans again.
“I would also guess that the EU would hesitate to do something which would seem really to be a seriously unfriendly act towards a major state like Britain, to actually encourage the breakup of another state.
“Countries in other parts of the world go to war over things like that.
“We wouldn’t, of course, but you would be risking a real crisis of relations if the EU was seen to be trying to encourage the breakup of the UK.”
Scotland’s Holyrood elections are fast approaching, set to take place alongside Welsh, mayoral and local elections around Britain this May.
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Ms Sturgeon has said she will look to hold a “legal referendum” on independence if the SNP wins a landslide.
Last week, she set out an 11-point roadmap for such a vote, just six years after former First Minister Alex Salmond promised Scots that the 2014 independence referendum was a “once in a generation” ballot.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out Westminster’s own roadmap: A five-step plan to stop Scotland breaking-up the Union.
The Labour Party’s Sir Keir Starmer has also joined the race to stop “Indyref2”, announcing his plans to open a “constitutional commission” that would spread devolution to all corners of the UK, including more decentralised powers to Holyrood.
Steven Fielding, Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, told Express.co.uk that Sir Keir arguably has more to lose in Scotland becoming independent, as the party could see a significant chunk of seats it hopes to pick up at the next election slashed.
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He said: “It’s an issue he takes seriously, and it’s an issue he needs to try to bring to the fore.
“If he doesn’t win in terms of persuading the Scots that this is a viable alternative to independence, Scotland’s going to be independent within a few years.
“That hurts the Labour Party.”
Some of the main arguments the SNP have made for independence are democratic control, national self-determination and identity, and full political decision making transferred to Holyrood.
Yet, as Paul Embery, a trade unionist and Labour member told Express.co.uk, Ms Sturgeon would transfer all these things to the EU should the bloc accept Scotland’s membership application.
He said: “The SNP say they want to be independent from Britain because they think they’ll be better off outside.
“But the first thing they’d do is hop back into bed with the Europeans and trade their newfound sovereignty for membership of the EU club.
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“That policy has always struck me as completely bizarre and I don’t think they’re ever probed enough on it.”
If Scotland did join the EU it would likely have to swap its currency for the euro.
Ian Blackford, leader of the SNP in the Commons, in 2019 assured voters that Scotland wouldn’t “necessarily” have to adopt the euro, a point which has since been disproven.
The EU has consistently said that joining the Exchange Rate Mechanism isn’t voluntary.
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Then European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in 2017: “The euro is meant to be the single currency of the European Union as a whole.
“All but two of our member states are required and entitled to join the euro once they fulfil the conditions.”
If an independent Scotland seeking to join the EU refused to sign up to the euro, it would find itself “not fully compatible” with the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – a key piece of EU law.
Meanwhile, most current polls suggest that if an independence referendum was held tomorrow, Scots would vote to leave the UK.
Currently, the balance sits somewhere slightly above 50 percent of the Scottish electorate in favour of independence.
‘This Sovereign Isle’ by Robert Tombs, published by Allen Lane, is out now.