Nicola Sturgeon 'regurgitated SNP pledges' says Wells
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On January 1, the post-Brexit transition period expired, meaning EU rules no longer apply in Britain. It is a new chapter for the country’s national history – but not everyone in the UK is happy about the new arrangements. Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejecting her independence demands and the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is determined to hold a second referendum in 2021.
In a recent column for the Irish Times, Ms Sturgeon reiterated that independence is Scotland’s only route to rejoining the EU.
While Brexit might have made the case for Scottish independence stronger, though, it has also made it practically more difficult.
Scotland would need to apply to join again under Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union and new members can only be allowed into the bloc through a unanimous vote from existing member states.
Spain is struggling with secession demands from Catalonia, so is unlikely to support a newly independent state.
And according to unearthed reports, there is another surprising country that could block Scotland’s entry: Germany.
According to a 2014 The Telegraph report by Brussels correspondent Bruno Waterfield, during the first Scottish independence referendum campaign, Germany did not want a Yes Vote as it feared financial instability and the break up of the eurozone.
Mr Waterfield explained: “SNP threats to default on debt unless Scotland can stay in the pound have alarmed Berlin”.
Moreover, according to The Guardian, the German mood was nothing but welcoming at the time.
The report reads: “Die Welt newspaper has been sneering – describing separatism as a ‘virus’ spreading through Europe that has already infected half the population in ‘northern Great Britain,’ before adding, ‘All Europeans are thinking: we really have other problems’.
“More sober outlets such as Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung also warned of economic consequences, and voiced their fears that a Yes Vote would give the UK’s eurosceptic the ammunition they need to sever the country from Brussels.”
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With the eurozone facing one of its worst financial crises due to the coronavirus pandemic, Germany’s opposition to Scotland’s EU entry could arguably become even greater.
Since 2014, eurocrats have given different views on whether Scotland could join the bloc, though.
In 2016, Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said: “If Scotland decides to leave the UK, to be an independent state, and they decide to be part of the EU, I think there is no big obstacle to do that.”
He added it would be “suicide” for the EU to refuse entry to people who are “sympathetic” to the EU’s aims.
Moreover, after the Brexit referendum, Mr Verhofstadt wrote on Twitter: “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of the EU, when it voted to stay.
“Happy to discuss with Nicola Sturgeon.”
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In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Italian MEP Marco Campomenosi claimed the chances of an independent Scotland joining the EU are very low.
However, he revealed how, in order to disrupt internal politics in the UK, Brussels did court Ms Sturgeon at the beginning of the Brexit talks.
He said: “With Scottish independence, Brussels has shown the greatest possible hypocrisy.
“During the withdrawal agreement talks, the former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker was courting the Scottish nationalists, making them believe they were welcome in the EU.
“It was only done to destabilise the UK Government.
“Brussels could not have had the same attitude towards the Catalans because Spain strongly supports the European Commission.
“The hypocrisy would have been so evident that Brussels had to stop engaging with Sturgeon.”
Mr Campomenosi added: “Anyway, there is no way Spain is going to allow the Scots in if they do go independent.”
French MEP Philippe Olivier backed Mr Campomenosi’s claims.
He added in another interview with Express.co.uk: “I very much admire the British people for defending their national interests with such courage.
“When Brexit was voted in the UK, our position has always been to respect the will of the British people.
“We were appalled by the attitude of the EU who wanted to punish Britain for leaving.
“Their attempts to destabilise Britain with Scottish independence and then in Ireland were totally despicable.”
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