Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 24 APR 2014
04:01 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
18 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
International
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Barroso ruffles Scottish feathers over EU membership
Reuters
Scottish independencecampaigners are seeking membership in the EU. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Scottish independencecampaigners are seeking membership in the EU. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
A+ A-

LONDON: European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said states breaking away from existing EU countries would struggle to gain EU membership, further complicating Scottish nationalists’ already uncertain plans for independence. Barroso said in an interview Sunday that it would be nearly impossible for the European Union to grant membership to such states – days after the British government said an independent Scotland would not be able to keep sterling as its currency.

Scotland is due to hold a referendum on independence in September. Polls show around 29 percent of voters in favor and 42 percent against, with 29 percent undecided.

Barroso, interviewed on BBC television, declined to comment directly on whether an independent Scotland would be welcome to join the EU.

But he said all EU states would need to back the membership of any new country that emerged from a current member state.

“It would be extremely difficult to get approval of all the other member states. ... I believe it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible,” he said.

The Scottish National Party, which is fronting the independence campaign, is banking on retaining both EU membership and the pound.

John Swinney, an SNP deputy in Scotland’s Parliament, told the BBC Barroso’s comments were “preposterous” and that no European Union state had indicated it would veto Scottish membership.

But secession is a sensitive subject for several countries that have regions seeking to form their own states.

Spain, which Barroso said in the interview had been “opposing even the recognition of [former Serbian province] Kosovo,” is for instance wary that a vote for Scottish independence might encourage separatists in its Catalonia region.

Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, also went on the offensive Sunday against critics of the independence campaign.

Writing in The Sunday Times newspaper, he accused the British government of bullying over the currency issue and said he had asked British Prime Minister David Cameron to rein in his campaign to keep Scotland’s 307-year union with the rest of Britain intact.

Cameron’s finance minister, George Osborne, Thursday warned Scotland that it would have to give up the pound if it voted to end the union, declaring the currency could not be divided up.

The leader of the campaign to keep Scotland in the U.K., former British Finance Minister Alistair Darling, said the independence campaign was beginning to unravel.

Alex Salmond is a man without a plan on currency and Europe. The wheels are falling off the independence wagon,” Darling said.

Barroso has previously said that any newly independent state would have to reapply to join the EU.

His comments are at odds with Scotland’s blueprint for independence, published last year, which says that it hoped to agree a “smooth transition” to membership of the EU as an independent state.

The Scottish government paper said they believed transition could be agreed without interrupting its EU membership in time for a potential independence declaration in March 2016.

Barroso and other officials on the commission are due to step down at the end of October, but there is no evidence to suggest a new commission would take a different view of Scotland’s membership rights.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 17, 2014, on page 11.
Home International
 
     
 
United Kingdom
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said states breaking away from existing EU countries would struggle to gain EU membership, further complicating Scottish nationalists' already uncertain plans for independence. Barroso said in an interview Sunday that it would be nearly impossible for the European Union to grant membership to such states – days after the British government said an independent Scotland would not be able to keep sterling as its currency.

Barroso, interviewed on BBC television, declined to comment directly on whether an independent Scotland would be welcome to join the EU.

Barroso has previously said that any newly independent state would have to reapply to join the EU.
Related Articles
 
 
French minister says Britain out of EU would no longer be
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Wednesday, April 23, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS