Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

An independent Scotland could rejoin EU relatively quickly: Sturgeon

Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the European Union in 2016

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants another referendum on independence (Brian Lawless/PA)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants another referendum on independence (Brian Lawless/PA)

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland

Scotland would be able to rejoin the EU relatively quickly if it were independent, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Ms Sturgeon said that Scotland would be “seeking a way back in” to the EU if Brexit goes ahead.

Scotland voted by 62% to remain in the European Union in 2016, and the SNP is keen to halt Brexit.

Ms Sturgeon has already said she wants a fresh ballot on independence to take place in the second half of 2020.

In a BBC interview with Andrew Neil, Ms Sturgeon said that if Scotland becomes independent she believes the timescale for rejoining the EU would be quite fast.

She said: “I’m not going to give you a specific timescale for that.

“In all of my experience of discussions with different interests in the European Union I think that could be relatively quick but that will depend on the discussions we have.

“We understand the conditions we would require to meet and the discussions that would require to take place but if we’re in a position of Scotland being taken out of the European Union then we will be seeking a way back in.”

Asked whether Scotland could join the EU while using the currency of a non-member state, she told the BBC: “We would be setting up a central bank, we would be setting up the infrastructure that is required for that, that is part of the discussion we would have about the European Union, but it is not true to say we would have had to have established an independent currency before joining the European Union.”

She added: “We would have a discussion with the EU about the journey an independent Scotland was on in terms of currency, and the accession if Scotland was already out of the EU to the point where we rejoined the EU.

“Scotland faces right now the uncertainty of being ripped out of the EU against our own will. It’s not of our making.

“And we need to plot the best way forward for our country where we are in charge of the decision that we make.”

Ms Sturgeon also said that if there was a hung parliament after the General Election on December 12 any party wanting SNP support would need to allow a second independence referendum.

She told The Andrew Neil Interviews on BBC One: “Fundamental to this for me is that any party that is looking to the SNP for support has to be prepared to respect the right of the people of Scotland to choose their own future. And that means respecting the right of the Scottish Parliament to choose to have an independence referendum.”

Labour has been repeatedly forced to clarify its stance on permitting a second independence referendum, with leader Jeremy Corbyn initially saying such a ballot could not take place in the first five-year parliamentary term if he was prime minister, before saying this would not take place in the “early years” and “certainly not” in the first two years.

Ms Sturgeon said she did not think it “credible” that Mr Corbyn would quibble over the timing of an independence referendum.

She said: “It doesn’t appear to be the principle of a second independence referendum that Jeremy Corbyn is quibbling about now, it’s the timing. So for the sake of a year he’s going to turn his back on his chance to govern with a Labour government and do all of these other things he says he wants to do? I don’t find that credible.”

She also said that she would never do anything to support a Conservative government in office.

Paul Masterton, Scottish Conservative candidate for East Renfrewshire, said: “The reason the First Minister can’t give a timetable on what might happen to Scotland after independence is because the SNP doesn’t know what will happen. Yet still she insists we must have another referendum next year.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph