Salmond in appeal to UK over Scots EU membership

Alex Salmond called on Westminster to clear up Scotland's fate post-independence
Alex Salmond called on Westminster to clear up Scotland's fate post-independence
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ALEX Salmond today called on the UK Coalition Government to approach Euro leaders to clear up the fate of Scotland’s membership after independence.

• EU President Barroso refused to hold talks with Nicola Sturgeon this week

• Barroso claimed a new state would find itself outwith EU but Brussels is yet to issue a Scotland-specific response

• No enthusiasm in Westminster to clarify Scotland’s position in EU post-independence, claims Salmond

EU President Jose Manuel Barroso this week refused to hold talks with Nicola Sturgeon on the issue. The EU member state, in this case the UK, could ask for a specific view on Scotland’s position after independence, but there has so far been a reluctance to do this.

President Barroso has already made it clear, even when asked specifically about Scotland, that a new state would find itself outside the EU and forced to apply for membership. But Brussels has yet to issue a specific ruling on Scotland itself.

Mr Salmond told MSPs at Holyrood today he would “like to hear” a clear view from the EU on Scotland’s position and wants the UK to seek this out.

“I think it would useful for the European Commission’s position to be heard, I want to achieve an opinion,” he said.

“That’s why the Deputy First Minister has indicated that we’ll go jointly with the UK Government, if they agree, to find out what the European Commission think.”

But Mr Salmond said there was “no enthusiasm” to do this inside the Coalition Government at Westminster.

“Is it because of the proposition that comes forward from the unionist parties that somehow energy rich, fishing rich, renewable rich Scotland would not be welcome with open arms into the European Union which is absolutely incredible.

“In contrast to the anti-European attitudes prevailing in the House of Commons, there are many, many people across the continent that would welcome a pro-European Scotland into the community of nations.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement this week that he plans to hold an “in-out” referendum on the UK’s European membership have also shifted the debate, Mr Salmond said.

“The uncertainty from Scotland’s position in Europe comes from the Conservative party lead by the Eurosceptics and the compromises that David Cameron has had to make to save his job.”