Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash in election debate
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In a heartfelt message to Brussels ahead of Scottish elections, Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland and the bloc had “learnt from each other and shared experiences”. Ms Sturgeon added: “Strong support for EU membership has been reaffirmed in elections that have taken place since the referendum.
“Despite those clear and repeated democratic votes, Scotland has not only been removed from the EU but from the Single Market and Customs Union.”
Economics expert Professor David Blake, claimed joining the EU would leave an independent Scotland weaker than being part of the UK.
The renowned City, University of London Economics Professor cited three policy areas including trade, currency and education which would drastically change if an independent Scotland re-joined the EU.
On trade, Professor Blake claimed Scotland would have to keep the same trading arrangements as the UK as the regulation of goods (including food products and medicines) would be incorporated into domestic Scottish law.
Professor Blake also claimed Scotland would have to agree to allow the UK to “retain its existing historic fishing rights in what would become Scotland’s fishing waters.”
On education, the academic claimed Scottish professional qualifications may not be recognised in the UK and Scottish professionals working in the UK could need to requalify.
On currency, the SNP have pledged to retain the pound sterling after independence.
But, the professor warned introducing a Scottish pound at par with the British sterling then it would be “conceivable” the currency could fall in value by around 15 percent.
He said: “The SNP are deluded if they think there will be a smooth transition from being part of the UK to being part of the EU.
“Precisely the same will happen between Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“There is no ‘best of both worlds’ solution as Nicola Sturgeon repeatedly suggests.
“Time for a very big reality check.”
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Douglas Ross, Scottish Conservative leader, told the Express: “This is a damning verdict from a respected academic on the severe problems Nicola Sturgeon would have of achieving her dream of an independent Scotland in the European Union.”
The Moray MP said the SNP should be focused on coronavirus recovery rather than “trying to divide us on constitutional matters again.”
It comes after a report by the Institute for Government (IfG) last week claimed Scotland faced a decade-long wait to join the European Union if it becomes independent.
The think-tank also suggested an independent Scotland would likely have to join the eurozone.
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The report also made clear Scotland could only formally apply to join the EU once it had secured its independence from the UK, suggesting the “whole process could take the best part of a decade.”
Akash Paun, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government (IfG), added to this publication: “It’s a legitimate position [for the SNP] to hold, there is a democratic case that Scotland should have the right to decide.
“There is a strong feeling among Scottish voters that Scotland’s democratic voice was ignored in the Brexit process.”
But he stressed EU membership was “quite a way off” for Scotland making clear Brussels would only welcome an EU membership application if Scotland had secured independence in agreement with the UK Parliament.
“If there was a unilateral declaration of independence, then it would be difficult,” he concluded.
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