Spain would veto any attempt by a newly-independent Scotland to join the European Union as it would encourage its own separatist movements, according to former senior EU official.
Ruairi Quinn, an Irish politician who was head of the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council and helped prepare for the introduction of the Euro currency, said: “In my opinion, it is highly probable that at least two member states, maybe more, will vote no [to Scotland joining the EU].”
“Spain will not want to create the precedent in another member state of a nation/region deciding to leave and join the EU in their own right.”
“Such a political development would really encourage Catalonia and the Basque Country to agitate for secession from Spain.”
Barcelona-based journalist Carme Colomina agreed with this analysis. Speaking to The Local, she said: “I don’t think Spain would want to see an independent Scotland within the EU as it would set a dangerous precedent for Catalonia.
“But I also believe that if Catalonia does become an independent state, the EU would take a pragmatic approach and decide at that stage if it was in the EU’s interest to accept Catalonia.
“The EU always acts in its own interests.”
Spain is currently dealing with secessionist movements in its Catalonia and Basque Country regions, with an independence referendum planned for November in the former.
Belgium would also likely veto Scottish membership as it could encourage the secessionist campaign in its own Flanders region.
Mr Quinn said: “All member states have to agree before a new state can become a member. In my opinion, it is highly probable that at least two member states, maybe more, will vote no.”
He also added that the newly independent Scotland would have to join the Euro currency: “If, however unlikely, Scotland was accepted as a full member it would have to agree that once its economy met the economic criteria of economic and monetary union, as politically agreed in Dublin in December 1996, it would be legally obliged to join the euro.
“All of the new member states which joined the EU after the Maastricht Treaty have no opt-out clause such as negotiated by Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.”