Newly accepted EU state Croatia has been welcomed by the SNP
Scottish news: Croatia EU membership welcomed by SNP
by Joseph Blythe
The Scottish National Party has welcomed the acceptance of new European Union (EU) nation Croatia after a decade-long struggle to gain membership. Croatia has finally confirmed it will receive full EU membership in 2013.
The enlargement of the European Union to include Croatia, a country with a population smaller than that of Scotland, sets an example for an independent Scotland’s own membership in the future.
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The Balkan nation will apparently have twice as many European Parliament members as Scotland, as well as the right to nominate a Commissioner, and will - unlike Scotland - have a permanent seat at the top table in the Council of Ministers.
Speaking after a House of Commons debate on the matter, Westminster SNP leader and Foreign Affairs spokesman Angus Robertson outlined his hope that Croatia’s ascension to EU membership could set the benchmark if an independent Scotland applied after 2014.
“The European Union is welcoming Croatia as an independent member state with open arms. This nation with a population smaller than Scotland will take its seat at the top table during 2013.
“Progress has been made to ensure all appropriate standards are upheld and safeguards are in place. No European nation has stood in the way of Croatian EU membership and I look forward to Scotland having full membership rights when we become an independent country following a successful Yes vote in the referendum.”
Mr Robertson addressed the intervention of David Miliband last week who claimed that an independent Scotland would find itself “in limbo in Europe” and suggested that acceptance into the EU would be a lengthy process; drawing comparisons to the 10 year road to membership that Croatia had to take.
He said: “Unlike Croatia, Scotland will assume its membership from within the European Union as outlined recently by the Honorary Director General of the European Commission Graham Avery.
“In parliamentary evidence he said that ‘Scotland’s 5 million people, having been members of the EU for 40 years; have acquired rights as European citizens and for practical and political reasons Scotland could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission’. He went on to advise that “Negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence’, and that ‘The EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries’.”
A separate commons debate on Scotland’s future in the EU had to be cancelled when Labour MP Pamela Nash failed to show up on time. This has raised questions about the party’s priorities, with SNP Westminster MP Pete Wishart saying:
“Pamela Nash’s failure to attend her own debate, which was cancelled as a result, speaks volumes about the low priority Labour places on Scotland’s interests.”
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