An independent Scotland would have to “join the queue” behind countries like Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina in its efforts to rejoin the EU, external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop has been warned as she addressed the European Parliament.
Ms Hyslop appealed for “solidarity” from European leaders as she appeared before the committee on constitutional affairs at the Parliament yesterday in Brussels.
But Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who leads Spain’s biggest MEPs group, dismissed the SNP’s position that Scotland would automatically remain in the EU if it leaves the rest of the UK through a referendum before Brexit.
Mr Gonzalez Pons repeated his previous warnings that Scotland would not be allowed to secure a stand-alone deal which allows it to stay in the EU’s lucrative single market after Brexit as part of the UK.
And he added: “If once the UK leaves, and Scotland decides to leave the UK, then you can join the queue after Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkey to join the EU.
“The rules are the rules – we can’t change the rules.”
Ms Hyslop said differentiated deals with some industry sectors in the UK are already on the cards and “flexibility” on border controls in Northern Ireland, there is “no good reason” for Scotland not to get a similar agreement.
She added: “In the turbulent and unpredictable months ahead, I ask you, respectfully, members of the European Parliament, as the elected body representing all EU citizens, please do not turn your back on Scotland.
“Now is the time to demonstrate your solidarity with a nation which voted overwhelmingly to remain within the European Union.”