As a cross-section of Nicola Sturgeon’s supporters predictably prepares to boycott Spain and all Spanish goods, because of prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s unequivocal announcement that he will veto an “independent” Scotland’s EU membership application, Scotland must now anticipate a furious spin on Ms Sturgeon’s recent Brussells visit.
Mr Rajoy said he wanted to be very clear “that Scotland (the Scottish Government) does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union. Spain opposes any negotiation by anyone other than the government of the United Kingdom... if the UK leaves, Scotland leaves.”
After a snub by Donald Tusk and having had a sympathetic ear given by both Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, it became quite transparent that Mr Juncker’s “...we don’t have the intention, neither Donald Tusk nor myself, to interfere in the British process. That is not my job” is the view of the EU.
Ms Sturgeon then claimed no surprise at the Spanish position, but was likely unprepared for France’s president, Francoise Hollande making the insistent statement that the EU would make no advance deal with Scotland. These “initial talks” will flounder, as it only takes one dissenter among the current EU members to effectively destroy any future deal with any prospective applicant.
Of course, the SNP supposition that only an “independent” Scotland can join the EU completely dismisses all the rudimentary mandates of application, such as bringing down Scotland’s £14.9 billion deficit to under 3 per cent GDP (or little under £5bn), the establishment of a central bank with three years trading behind it (at the cost of tens of billions, which Mr Swinney found completely unaffordable in 2014) and our own currency, with a view to commit to both the euro and Schengen, none of which the present Scottish Government could possibly satisfy, some by their own admission.
Dalmellington Road, Glasgow
In view of Nicola Sturgeon’s rebuff in her attempt to obtain seamless continuity for Scotland within the EU, excluding the rest of the UK, what future would Scotland have outside the UK?
What if we are burdened with a second independence referendum resulting, on this occasion, in a Yes vote only for a then independent Scotland to apply for EU membership and to be rebuffed again, this time by a Spanish veto to discourage Catalonia from seeking independence? Scotland, totally isolated, would face a bleak future.
Most of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and the recent collapse in the oil price, which would have created a catastrophic black hole in the finances of an independent Scotland outside the EU, has been much less painfully absorbed by the UK.
Surely, it makes sense for the countries of the UK to stay together.
Stephen J Edwards
Inveresk Village, Musselburgh, East Lothian
Nicola Sturgeon has returned from Brussels stating she received a sympathetic response. Listening and reading to the comments from various European leaders, I suggest that that is diplomatic speak for a “pat on the head” and the diplomatic equivalent of a “brush off”.
Braid Farm Road, Edinburgh