AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would be accepted into the European Union (EU), according to anti-independence members of the European Parliament.
Veteran Scottish Labour MEP David Martin and Scots-born Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson have distanced themselves from Better Together claims that Scotland could find itself outside of the EU if it votes for independence.
Mr Martin, the second longest-serving MEP in Europe, said Scotland would “of course” get into the EU and keep the UK’s opt-outs of the euro and Schengen free travel area in an interview with the Sunday Herald.
Talks would begin before the SNP’s proposed independence day in March 2016, he added.
Sir Graham, president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party, said Europe “cannot throw outside the EU a territory that is already part of the EU” in an interview with Spanish radio published in the Sunday Post.
Mr Martin said: “My view is that Scotland, of course, would get into the EU eventually.
“It’s not automatic, and would take several rounds of negotiations, but they’re not going to force us to join Schengen. They’re not going to force us to join the euro.”
He added: “There would be negotiations and I think the commission would recommend Scotland qualifies for membership.
“Formally, the commission say they can only talk to the government, and until a government is elected we can’t negotiate.
“But they’re not going to wait till March 2016 (the proposed date of independence) to start negotiations, so informally there would be discussions - and I don’t think it matters whether it’s formal or informal.”
Sir Graham, who was born in Rothesay and now represents South West England, said: “Some say that Scotland will not become a member of the EU, some others say that Scotland will become a new member and some others say that Scotland will have to reapply for membership.
“You can debate about the legal aspects in many different ways but, politically, you cannot throw outside the EU a territory that is already part of the EU.”
Yes Scotland chief executive Blair Jenkins said: “What David Martin and Sir Graham Watson are saying demolishes core elements of the No campaign’s claims about Scotland’s EU membership and confirms what a host of experts and most sensible people have been saying since the independence campaign began.
“After a Yes vote, Scotland will be a welcomed, valuable and valued member of the EU and, crucially, will not be forced to adopt the euro or join Schengen.”
An independent Scotland’s place in Europe has returned to the fore this week with the European Parliament elections beginning on Thursday.
Tomorrow, retiring Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson will warn Spanish voters that Scottish independence “would trigger a wave of secessionist movements across the EU” in a speech in Barcelona.