European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso today reiterated the position that an independent Scotland would have to reaplly for membership of the European Union – delivering another hammer blow to SNP leader Alex Salmond’s claims Scotland would remain in the EU if it seceded from the United Kingdom.
Here is a transcript of his interview this afternoon with the BBC’s Hard Talk:
Interviewer: The Commission has made it clear that any country, a country like Scotland, that would choose to be independent, would need to reapply for EU membership. When you think about how that would work, would it just be nodded through, do you think?
Jose Manuel Barroso: “Look, I did not comment on specific situations of member states because I very much respect that it is their right, their sovereign right to decide about their organisation. Now, what I said, and it is our doctrine and it is clear since 2004 in legal terms, if one part of a country – I am not referring now to any specific one – wants to become an independent state, of course as an independent state it has to apply to the European membership according to the rules – that is obvious.”
BBC: “So, it has to renegotiate its terms?”
BBC: “And is it renegotiating those terms from inside, as a member of the EU, or is it effectively reapplying from outside the EU?”
JMB: “We are a union of states, so if there is a new state, of course, that state has to apply for membership and negotiate the conditions with other member states.”
BBC: “So if, and I am using the example of Scotland, and I appreciate you are not talking about specifics, but say a country like Scotland, it, say, chooses independence, it is then like a new state applying to the EU?”
JMB: “For European Union purposes, from a legal point of view, it is certainly a new state. If a country becomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU.”
BBC: “What about the rest of the UK that is effectively left behind by Scotland’s independence?”
JMB: “That is the principle of the continuity of the state, in that case if a…”
BBC: “Would it have to renegotiate its terms?”
JMB: “No, no in principle no.”
Another day, another slap down for the SNP… how many more interventions will it take for Salmond to come clean and admit he’s wrong?