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The Scottish National Party has today said that No campaign MEPs have been ‘caught speaking common sense’ after they contradicted their own scaremongering on Scotland and the EU.
Comments from EU President Jose Manuel Barroso who said it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for Scotland to join the EU - which are regularly cited by the No campaign- were dismissed by David Martin MEP on BBC Sunday Politics Scotland as “possible loose talk”.
The comments follow an interview with Mr Martin in today’s Sunday Herald where he said he believes the European Commission would recommend that Scotland qualifies for EU membership. Labour’s senior figure in Brussels said that following a Yes vote he expects the European Commission to be much more flexible than what has been suggested by the No campaign. He also said he did not believe Scotland would have to join the euro or the Schengen common travel area and that negotiations were likely to start immediately following a Yes vote.
Senior Lib Dem MEP Sir Graham Watson has also claimed it would be politically unacceptable for Scotland, as a territory which is already part of the EU, to have to join the EU from scratch. Speaking in a Spanish radio interview, Sir Watson — who is president of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party — said: “You can debate about the legal aspects in many different ways but politically, you cannot throw outside the EU a territory that is already part of the EU.”
Meanwhile a senior Tory minister has said the party would be willing to campaign for UK withdrawal from the EU if they are unable to secure membership reforms. Energy minister Michael Fallon is the first senior Conservative to explicitly indicate which way the party would vote should its proposals be rejected.
Commenting, SNP Member of the European Parliament Ian Hudghton said:
"These comments will cause major embarrassment to the No campaign and are the latest in a long line of backfiring scare stories.
“It’s significant that Labour’s senior MEP has conceded that an independent Scotland would be able to join the EU, and then to dismiss Mr Barroso’s comments – this only adds to the confusion of the No campaign’s position.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that the only way to ensure Scotland’s voice is heard in Europe is with a Yes vote in September. Not only is David Cameron threatening to take us out of the EU if his party wins the next General Election, but a senior Tory minister has now said the party would be willing to campaign for UK withdrawal from the EU if they are unable to secure membership reforms.
“It speaks volumes that top Labour and Lib Dem figures in Brussels are distancing themselves from the No campaign, and have been caught speaking common sense.”
Sunday Herald: Senior Labour MEP: ‘Independence no barrier to EU membership’
Tory EU exit campaign if no reform, says Minister
Graham Watson comments as reported in The Sunday