The European Commission (EC) have knocked back Nicola Sturgeon’s ambitions for Scotland to stay in the European Union (EU) in the wake of ‘Brexit’.
In what will be a blow to the First Minister of Scotland, the Commission also confirmed that an independent Scotland would have to reapply to the bloc for membership.
When the results came in Friday that British voters opted to leave the EU, the The Scottish National Party (SNP) leader pledged to “protect Scotland’s place” in the union. Ms Sturgeon announced she will set up a panel of experts to advise her on the country’s options to remain in the EU and seek a meeting with its president, Jean-Claude Juncker.
A Commission source told the Scottish Mail on Sunday that, “Article 50 is the only legal mechanism to withdraw from the union — and this article refers to “member states”. A briefing note sent to MEPs by the European Parliamentary Research Service revealed that a “partial withdrawal” from the EU would be impossible.
The document confirmed that due to the fact Scotland has not been an EU member as a sovereign state, it could not remain in the bloc if the UK withdraws. Applying to join, as an independent Scotland, would likely take years and come with certain conditions like implementing border controls and adopting the Euro currency.
Despite these revelations, speaking on the Andrew Marr Show this morning Ms. Sturgeon insisted there were no rules preventing Scotland remaining in the EU as the rest of Britain leaves. “There are no rules and there are no precedents”, the SNP leader said, before admitting she was yet to start talks in Brussels.
Ms Sturgeon’s determination to keep Scotland in the ever-expanding bloc, which some critics and fans alike say is undemocratic and on the road to becoming a federal superstate, is shared across party lines.
Despite the fact 38 per cent of Scots voted to leave the EU, Ms Sturgeon’s opposition party leaders from the Scottish Tories, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats all confirmed they will back her in her quest to keep Scotland in the bloc.
During the 2014 Scottish independence campaign, senior EU figures warned SNP politicians that Scotland would have to reapply for membership if they gained independence from Britain. Bookmakers have now slashed the odds of a second referendum on Scottish independence. While a new poll for the Scotsman puts support for Scottish independence at nearly 60 per cent, YouGov found that far more Scots fear the economic fallout from leaving the UK than Brits fear the economics of leaving the EU.