Salmond: Scotland would be a better EU member than the UK

  

An independent Scotland would be a more constructive member of the European Union than a reluctant Britain, Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said Monday (28 April).

He believed EU members would welcome an "enthusiastic" Scotland into the bloc should it vote to end the 307-year-old union with England in a referendum on 18 September, he said.

Remaining part of the EU is fundamental to the nationalists' vision of an economically viable independent Scotland. However, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso has said Scotland would have to reapply to the EU as a new state.

Spain, which faces Basque and Catalan separatist movements, also opposes automatic membership to the 28-nation bloc.

Salmond took his campaign to Bruges in Belgium on Monday, seeking to persuade Europeans that keeping Scotland within the EU fold was very much in their own interest.

In a speech, he said Scotland's energy reserves and fishing grounds would make it a crucial EU member.

Speaking later to Reuters, he pointed out that while Scotland wanted to stay part of the EU, British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate ties with the EU and hold a referendum on Britain's membership if his Conservatives win a general election next year.

"The difference in Westminster, is that there is lots and lots of people who see the abolition of Europe, drifting off into the mid Atlantic, as a viable option," Salmond said in an interview.

"The real threat to Scotland in Europe is not from an independent Scotland. It's from the in-out referendum that Westminster are proposing."

Speaking of his concern that Scotland "could be dragged out of the European Union against our will", he said his country's stance was more constructive.

"People welcome the attitude that we have...we are not talking about taking our toys and stomping off."

Salmond, who heads the ruling Scottish National Party, said that should Scots choose to break away from the United Kingdom, he expected it would be possible to negotiate EU membership before a formal declaration of independence in March 2016.

But he said Scotland would not join the euro currency zone.

All new EU member states are required to sign up to joining the common currency at some future date.

"You cannot be forced compulsorily to be in the euro," Salmond said. "It's a voluntary thing. Because England is our biggest market, we should stick with sterling."

The British government and the three main UK political parties have insisted that an independent Scotland could not retain the pound or use the Bank of England as its central bank.

Common sense

His speech, at the same venue where former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher criticised the centralisation of power in Brussels in 1988, was made as opinion polls show the gap between the two sides narrowing to a few percentage points.

The polls suggest Scotland, home to 5.3 million of the United Kingdom's 63 million people, will vote narrowly in favour of the status quo. But the independence campaign is gaining ground.

Salmond argued in his speech that Scotland is vital for energy security in Europe, with 25% of its offshore wind and tidal potential and 60% of the EU's oil reserves.

"We have one of the largest national shares of Europe's total fishing grounds and 12 national fleets fish in our waters. The EU's fisheries policy would unravel without Scotland," he said.

He also said that 160,000 people from other EU states live in Scotland.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told Salmond that Scotland would face lengthy and difficult negotiations to stay in the EU and would end up worse off than at present.

"The terms of EU membership which your government has said it will seek to secure for an independent Scotland are at odds with the EU's own rules of membership," he wrote in a letter.

"The people of Scotland would be swapping the guaranteed negotiating power of one of the EU's most powerful states for the hope of goodwill from 28 others - and with a much higher price tag - a poor substitute indeed," Hague said.

Timeline: 
  • 18 Sept. 2014 : Scottish independence referendum
  • 9 Nov. 2014 : Catalan independence referendum
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Comments

an european's picture

If Scotland wants they are always welcome whenever they want to be part of the Unit!
Which in contrary to England in which it's a lot people promotes racists temptations .

an european's picture

"You cannot be forced compulsorily to be in the euro," Salmond said. "It's a voluntary thing. Because England is our biggest market, we should stick with sterling."
Bank of England seems to be a huge Problem for Scots !
WHAT now Mr Salmond??

Either the Euro or Steerling but not: independent, Steerling ,European Union !!

Charles_m's picture

An european - are they welcome or not? you have 2 posts in total contradiction. Total nonsense as usual. And I bet the UK is less racist than your home country. A few high profile racists don't define a whole nation

an european's picture

Charles_m – Posted on : Tue, 29/04/2014 - 15:14
No Mr Charles , you're wrong ! We have my E.U. country a lot more E.U. foreign citizens (50%) and the highest net contributor than many other member-states in the European Union ! Guess that I've to say you the truth but unfortunately despite (with respect) to British pro-Europeans is in fact Britain is a proudly racists Union!
Ukip is lying it's own people and is trustworthy a racists by definition !
Whatever i! I don't care about thus anymore !
Those .. could continue to vote Ukip the faster the better to them to stay outside of the E.U. !

El Pluribus Unum

an european's picture

@Mr. Charles
Why I didn't tell you? simple ...
Because of passive aggressive behavior answers !
It's sad .

Peter Hurrell's picture

This article is about Scotland breaking away from the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and then purporting to be a member of the European Union.

Here is a time line of events from now until the General Election (for the UK (United kingdom) in 2015.

EU [European Union] Parliamentary Elections in May 2014.
The UK as a whole is allowed to vote for its representatives for MEPs [Members of the European
Parliament.]
The Universal Voting Age in the UK is 17.

Scotland - Independence Referendum and Vote in September 2014.
Only Scotland's Residents are allowed to vote here
The Voting age has been reduced to 16.

UK General Election May 2015
The UK as a whole is allowed to vote for its representatives MPs [Members Parliament.]
The Universal Voting Age is 17.

1] EU Parliamentary Elections May 2014

When finalised the outcome of the EU Parliamentary elections for the MEPs in the UK (May 2014) the results will apply to England Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland. Everyone will agree with that.

2] Scotland Independence Referendum September 2014

If the outcome of the Scotland Independence elections (September 2014) are for an Independent Scotland then the vote will be recorded as being legitimately applied. Everyone will agree with that.

However the right for Scotland to have elected MEPs representing them in the EU Parliament will as a result of the Independence Election result favouring an Independent Scotland will be non existent, Thus at this point the elected MEPs that would have been elected in May 2014 will be declared legally as null and void. The reason for this is that Scotland will not be a member of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland any more. Therefore the votes cast for the EU Parliamentary elections for MEPs in May 2014 will be declared as Null and Void in Scotland.

Scotland cannot have and then will not be entitled to have any representation in the EU Parliament.

It can only have such representation when it has joined the European Union as an Independent State. It cannot be represented under the terms of being part of the UK (United Kingdom) since the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will then no longer exist.

Furthermore, should the Scotland MEPs decide to vote on EU Legislation that takes place after the EU Parliamentary elections in the time frame between those elections – when the EU Parliament is recalled – and the Scotland Independence Referendum, assuming that the Scotland Independence Referendum declares a mandate for an Independent Scotland – then the votes cast by the MEPs from Scotland would have to be set aside and if such votes had made a decision to the outcome of the EP Parliamentary voting system then those votes would have to be declared void and the articles resubmitted.

Scotland cannot have their actions accepted hereto.

3] UK General Election May 2015

For the General Election a similar scenario also exists.
If as a consequence of the Scotland Independence Elections (September 2014) the result is for an Independent Scotland then the analogy of the right of Scotland's MPs to hold sway over the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) Parliament in Westminster cannot have any legal base or acceptance. Thus as with the EU Parliament analogy Scotland cannot have and then will not be entitled to any representation in the UK Parliament.

It can only have such representation if it is part of the UK (United Kingdom) since the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will no longer exist.

Furthermore, should the Scotland MPs decide to vote on UK Legislation that takes place after the Scotland Independence Elections (September 2014) and in the time frame between then and the revised and alternative Country which will only comprise England Wales and Northern Ireland Elections (May 2015) then Scotland can have no say in any legislation and any vote taken in the UK Parliament during that time will have to be set aside and would have to be declared void and the articles resubmitted.