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Scottish independence: ‘Less EU money for farmers’

Several EU member states may attempt to block Scotland's application, David Lidington has warned. Picture: Getty

Several EU member states may attempt to block Scotland's application, David Lidington has warned. Picture: Getty

  • by ANDREW WHITAKER AND MARK MCLAUGHLIN
 

SCOTLAND’S farmers would be receive lower EU payments under independence, the UK’s Minister for Europe David Lidington warned the SNP government today.

• UK Europe Minister David Lidington says farmers in independent Scotland would receive lower EU payments under independence

• Spain, Romania, Poland and Croatia may all veto Scotland’s application, Lidington says

• Scotland would threaten current agricultural subsidies received by eastern European counties

The Conservative minister claimed that an independent Scotland applying to join the EU would have to accept the lower level subsidies for agriculture handed to other nations that had recently become member states.

Mr Lidington insisted that Scotland would be in the same position as nations from Eastern and Central Europe, who he said do not get “their full notional entitlement to agricultural support”.

Mr Lindington also suggested Scotland could face vetoes from Poland, Romania, Croatia and Spain for EU member status.

“It’s not just Spain where the debate about autonomy or even separation is a part of politics,” he said.

“Five EU member states still refuse to recognise Kosovo.

“For Scotland to become a member of the EU in its own right it has to have the unanimous consent of every other member state, not just to the principle of membership but to all the terms of that membership.

“Just one dissenting vote is enough to block accession, or to block any stage of accession, so if one country felt strongly that an independent Scotland should be required to accept the euro then they would have the power of veto.

Farmers

The minister made the claim at Holyrood after he spoke to the parliament’s European and external relations committee today.

Mr Lidington told journalists that an independent Scotland’s status as a new EU member would mean the country’s farmers received less generous European payments than they currently get as part of the UK.

He said: “On agricultural policy, the new member states of eastern and central Europe would have to accept a situation now where they don’t get their full notional entitlement to agricultural support.

“It’s only slowly being transferred to the big recipients in western Europe, so Scotland applying to join the EU would presumably either have to accept that lower level of agricultural support to be in line with all of the other member states, or all of the other eastern European countries would have to agree to Scotland leapfrogging them to get the full entitlement before they got it.

“Would Poland, Romania, Croatia be happy with that? I don’t know but this is another question which it seems to me has not been properly addressed.”

The SNP government insists that an independent Scotland would inherit EU membership from the UK and would be able to negotiate a cut-price membership, with opt-outs from the euro and passport-free travel zone.

However, Mr Lidington said that an independent Scotland would have to seek the unanimous approval of EU member states to rejoin.

The UK minister warned that Scotland could be blocked from joining the EU by nations with internal secessionist movements.

He said: “Just one dissenting vote is enough to block accession, or to block any stage of accession, so if one country felt strongly that an independent Scotland should be required to accept the euro then they

would have the power of veto. It’s not just Spain where the debate about autonomy or even separation is a part of politics.

“Five EU member states still refuse to recognise Kosovo.

“For Scotland to become a member of the EU in its own right it has to have the unanimous consent of every other member state, not just to the principle of membership but to all the terms of that membership.”

However, an SNP government spokesman dismissed Mr Lidington’s claims and suggested that other EU nations would be denied access to Scottish waters if Scotland was blocked from joining.

The spokesman said: “I don’t think Mr Lidington’s comments stack up.

The analogy doesn’t work as he was talking about countries that came into the EU from outside.

“Scotland is already part of the EU and already receives EU agricultural funding.”

“Do other countries want to be blocked from access to the North Sea. Do Spanish and Portuguese fishermen want to be blocked from Scotland’s waters. I don’t think so.”

SEE ALSO

Scottish independence: Scots would need EU allies

Croatia’s odyssey to become EU member nears end

 

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