Independent Scotland 'would have to apply for EU membership'

A senior EU official has cast doubt over claims that an independent Scotland could automatically join the EU or inherit the UK’s membership after Brexit.

Jacqueline Minor, the European commission’s head of representation in the UK, said Scotland would need to formally apply after leaving the UK, although it could be fast-tracked because it already complies with EU rules and regulations.

Speaking immediately after Scotland’s voters backed remaining in the EU by 62% to 38% in last June’s referendum, the former first minister Alex Salmond said it would be a logical option for an independent Scotland to take over the UK’s membership of the EU post-Brexit.

The former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt, now the European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, implied he was sympathetic to giving Scotland automatic membership. “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of EU, when it voted to stay,” he tweeted after the referendum.

Scotland’s future membership of the EU as an independent state has reemerged with Nicola Sturgeon, the current first minister, making preparations for a fresh referendum on leaving the UK and publishing a draft referendum bill last year.

Despite opposition among Scottish voters to a fast second referendum before Brexit takes place, Sturgeon has indicated she wants to stage it before the UK formally leaves the EU in 2019 to increase Scotland’s chances of negotiating an unbroken transition into the EU.

She has yet to confirm…


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