Home U.K Sturgeon rumbled as legal expert warns Scotland's EU membership bid 'could last...

Sturgeon rumbled as legal expert warns Scotland's EU membership bid 'could last years'


Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has insisted that her plan for Scotland to leave the UK and join the EU has not been damaged by the bloc’s vaccine debacle and the European Commission’s threats to withhold Britain’s supplies. Last week, the SNP leader said that most Scots were only worried about getting their jabs and were not concerned about the shambles on the continent, that has seen the EU threaten an export ban to countries like Britain with much higher vaccination rates. Although she acknowledged when pressed that the UK had “played a blinder” on its procurement programme, she denied that the stark contrast with the EU had made her “independence in Europe” policy less attractive.

In a recent column she claimed Scotland’s future is in the EU and explained how “Brexit took the Scots out of the bloc” against their will.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, though, Mar Aguilera Vaqués, professor of constitutional law at the University of Barcelona, cast a doubt over Ms Sturgeon’s vision.

Ms Aguilera Vaqués recognised it would be easier for Scotland to get into the bloc than for Catalonia, as Spain is still in the EU and can therefore put pressure as an EU member state.

However, the legal expert argued the journey there would still be long and painful.

She explained: “Spain doesn’t recognise Kosovo, for example.

“I guess it would be the same if Scotland went independent for sure…

“They don’t want to replicate what is happening here with Catalonia.”

Ms Aguilera Vaqués added: “It would also take a while. It could take years.

“The EU puts countries on the entry track.

“Some countries in the end decide they don’t want to enter anymore, like Turkey.

“They are growing so much so they are not interested anymore.”

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It was indeed Spain who, ahead of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, crushed former First Minister Alex Salmond’s hopes for a smooth EU transition.

The ex-Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy told his government in 2013 that he believed an independent Scotland could only apply to join the EU from outside the organisation as a new state, as he warned against regions of Europe embarking on “solo adventures in an uncertain future”.

While Mr Rajoy’s government was facing an election in late 2013, before Scotland formally sought to become independent, the Spanish politician’s words were seen as an effective veto on immediate Scottish entry to the EU.

Speaking at a joint press conference with then-French President François Hollande, Mr Rajoy said: “It’s very clear to me, as it is for everybody else in the world, that a country that would obtain independence from the EU would remain out of the EU, and that is good for Scottish citizens to know and for all EU citizens to know.”

Mr Rajoy said EU treaties “apply only to member states that have agreed and ratified them, and if a part of one member state cleaves from the member state, it converts itself into a third party with relation to the EU”.

In another interview with Express.co.uk, Lord David Owen echoed Ms Aguilera Vaqués claims, adding that there might be another country that would almost definitely block Scotland’s entry: Belgium.

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The former Foreign Secretary and SDP co-leader said: “I think we should start moving towards a different attitude to Scotland.

“If they really want to leave, eventually, they must be allowed to leave.

“But they must face up to reality and have a proper and honest debate.

“Are they going to be allowed in the EU?

“Will Spain? With all the problems they face in Barcelona…

“You know, there are five European countries that still do not allow Kosovo to become independent. They are afraid of legitimising the separation from countries.”

The peer added: “And let’s not forget Belgium.

“They sit on a very uneasy arrangement between two parts of Belgium, and they are not going to legitimise the splitting of a country.

“Once you allow it, you open up a can of worms.”


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