Scotland ‘should join the euro’

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A LEADING SNP MEP has backed an independent Scotland joining the euro, saying the embattled currency will bounce back.

Alyn Smith claimed that the euro “will emerge stronger” from the current crisis, and that claims that sterling would forever provide a safe haven were overblown.

His call prompted fresh attacks from the SNP’s opponents yesterday, who said it proved that an independent Scotland would be heading for the single currency.

But Mr Smith and First Minister Alex Salmond said they stood by the party’s policy, which is to retain sterling after independence, and then hold a referendum on euro membership if and when the conditions are deemed suitable.

Asked whether he backed an independent Scotland joining the euro, Mr Smith said yesterday: “I do. And the euro will emerge stronger from this. He said the SNP was in favour of euro membership but only “at the right time, subject to a referendum and at the right rate”.

The row dominated First Minister’s Questions yesterday, as First Minister Alex Salmond repeated his plans to stick with the pound prior to a referendum.

Scots Tory leader Annabel Goldie said Mr Salmond’s “personal preference” was to adopt the single currency.

Labour MEP Catherin Stihler added: “It doesn’t matter what the SNP thinks because if Scotland separated, we would have no choice but to adopt the Euro and that compulsion would be disaster for the economy and a disaster for Scottish exports.”