Scotland’s first minister had conceded her country could not easily rejoin the European Union (EU) after independence but claimed it could pressure a “phased” approach to joining the bloc without adopting the euro.
Nicola Sturgeon has already called for a second independence vote since the EU referendum, despite the majority of Scots opposing it before Brexit, insisting Scotland has been taken out of the EU “against its will”.
Now, however, she had recognised Scotland could not immediate rejoin the EU after independence, confirming speculation she could instead propose Scotland takes the “Norway option” by joining the EFTA free trade area along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Interviewed on The Andrew Marr Show, she said: “My position is I want Scotland to be in the EU. Now we have to set out if we’re in an independence referendum, and we’re not in that right now, the process for regaining or retaining, depending where we are in the Brexit process, EU membership.
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) May 14, 2017
“Now it may be that we have a phased approach to that by necessity,” she said. Asked whether that could mean EFTA membership first and EU membership later, she added:
“It may be by necessity, even if we didn’t want that. We have to set that out at the time because there are still some uncertainties, many uncertainties, around the Brexit process.”
Mrs. Sturgon also said she did not want Scotland to adopt the euro when it joined the EU. “We don’t want to go into the euro. No member of the EU can be forced into the euro,” she claimed.
Critics have pointed out, however, that new members who joined in 2004 (including Poland and Hungary), in 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania), and Croatia in 2013, are all under the clear obligation to join the euro, according to their accession treaties.
Furthermore, the UK Government has not confirmed it will allow Scotland to continue to use the pound if it leaves the United Kingdom, making it unclear what currency an independent Scotland would use.