Sturgeon left red faced as EU figures dismiss dream of joining bloc ‘difficult hurdles’

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Ms Sturgeon sent a message of unity to Brussels and pledged “Scotland wants to return” during the final day of SNP conference on Monday. The Scottish First Minister’s message came as the UK edges closer to freeing itself from the last of the EU’s shackles with the Brexit transition period ending on December 31.

But doubts have been expressed by Brussels figures over how a future independent Scotland could work within the EU and the prospect of a second Scottish vote.

A senior EU policy source told there were many “difficult hurdles to overcome” before the concept could even be discussed formally.

They added the “important and challenging task of independence” needed to be achieved first especially since Boris Johnson had been “clear on a second vote”.

German MEP Gunnar Beck also told this website it was not “immediately obvious” if an independent Scotland would be an economic asset to the EU.

The EU lawyer added: “Nicola Sturgeon would find it very very difficult to get an assurance, a promise out of Brussels that should she win a referendum in Scotland, it would be assured speedy accession to the EU while remaining free to retain its own currency.”

However, he stressed: “On the other hand, the EU has never been unduly troubled by the accession of economically weaker new numbers because it has an imperial momentum to it, it wants to grow.”

Mr Beck argued the 2014 Scottish independence vote was “once in a generation” and another vote should not be held for at least another 25 years.

He said: “It’s very unusual for independence referendums to be put to a constituent part of a United country in such regular intervals every 10 years and in such quick secession.

“I think the consensus would be to do it a referendum once in a generation at the utmost.

“I don’t think they are very parallel to holding an independence referendum in the same country in such quick succession.

“25 years is the minimum I should think, today’s western world, the average age at which people have children is about 25 years.”

In her conference address to SNP members, the First Minister told the EU: “You are – and always will be – part of who we are. You are not distant to us.

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“To those of you who have come from other countries to live here in ours, thank you – please stay.

“To the other countries of the EU, Scotland wants to return. And we hope to do so soon, as an independent member state.”

Scotland Constitution Secretary Mike Russell also said he would not like a “halfway house” of European Economic Area (EEA) membership.

Mr Russell said: “I’ve been on record as wishing to see Scotland rejoin the EU and to that extent a halfway house is not what I’m looking for.”

The EEA consists of members of the EU along with Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway, through the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) which grants the free movement of goods, people, services and capital within member states.

Officials at the Nordic Council also hinted it may be beneficial for Scotland to consider joining the Bloc, the official body for formal inter-parliamentary co-operation among the Nordic countries. 


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