Scottish independence: Second referendum on EU needed

Scots should get a vote on whether independent Scotland should
join EU, say SNP grandees

Scottish independence: Second referendum on EU needed

by Róisín O'Brien

Two former SNP leading figures have advised that Scotland consider joining the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) if Scotland votes ‘yes’ in the 2014 independence referendum.

Jim Sillars, an ex-deputy leader and SNP legend, stated that Scottish EU membership would simply be a “transfer of sovereignty’ from London to Brussels.”

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Being a part of the EFTA would mean free trade could continue without Scotland being an EU member state. This would also be a viable plan B should Spain or anyone else move to block automatic membership of the EU post-independence.

The pair, Mr Sillars and Gordon Wilson, the latter a former party leader, stated: "As the EU's major oil producer and important contributor to the Common Fisheries Policy, Scotland is not in the position of a beggar at the Brussels gate."

They also stated that another referendum on EU membership, after the independence referendum, is the only way to resolve the issue.

In a joint statement yesterday, they said: “It will be damaging to the prospects of a Yes majority in the referendum if a serious question mark is allowed to remain over an independent Scotland’s access to the European Economic Area.”

They have suggested the second referendum come in the 18-24 month period between Scotland voting yes in 2014 and gaining independence in 2016.

Salmond’s EU advice

The pair also commented on the issues surrounding the legal advice that Salmond is only now seeking about EU membership.

The statement released by the two former party members stated: ''Mere assertions by the Scottish Government that there will be a seamless transition from part of the British state to full member state status need validation.”

“It also serves the interests of the London Government and No to Scotland to spread confusion: hence London's refusal to seek a defining legal opinion.”

Labour’s Patricia Ferguson has commented that: “For two SNP grandees to call his arguments ‘mere assertions’ show just how flimsy his arguments are. Jim Sillars and Gordon Wilson clearly have as little trust in Alex Salmond as the Scottish people.”

The SNP remain ardent in their stance about EU membership, a spokesperson stating: “Scotland has been part of the European Union for 40 years and an independent Scotland will continue in EU membership as a range of eminent experts have testified.”



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published this page in News 2012-11-08 12:38:28 +0000