An independent Scotland could be '˜fast-tracked into the EU'

Leading experts say a Yes vote to leave the UK could result in Scotland having the fastest ever entry to the European Union.

AScottish Saltire and a European Union flag flying in front of the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh. Picture: AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Tobias Lock of Edinburgh University and Kirsty Hughes of Friends of Europe, who have both extensively researched accession agreements, have published a landmark report which charts what they say is straightforward path for a new Scottish state to join the EU by 2023.

In their report, the academics cast doubt on perceived roadblocks to EU membership, including the threat of a Spanish veto.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Ms Hughes and Mr Lock write: “There is considerable political goodwill to Scotland in EU capitals since it is facing Brexit despite having voted to remain.

“The political goodwill, on current trends, is likely to feed into an effort to fast-track Scotland’s EU membership in the event of an independence vote.”

The pair say Spain is “unlikely” to veto Scottish membership and that the country would easily be able to meet all entry requirements.

They write: “In the end, whether normal, fast-track or with a special transition deal, Scotland would face a fairly straightforward path to the EU.

“It might even have the fastest accession process of any EU state so far.”

The report says an independent Scotland should use membership of EFTA, with Switzerland and Norway, while it waits to join the EU.

Both experts have covered accession agreements to the EU for many years and are dismissive of reports that Scotland would have to take on the Euro as its currency.

Speaking to the Herald newspaper, which published the report, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, said: “This serious and credible report underlines that all doors in the EU are open to Scotland. Obviously an independence process will have technical issues to overcome, but it is housekeeping, not principle.”

But Labour’s MEP David Martin said: “The best way to keep Scotland in Europe would be for Theresa May to end her mad, bad and dangerous obsession with Brexit at all costs.”