POLITICS

Blocking Scotland's EU Membership Would Be An 'Affront To Democracy', Says Nicola Sturgeon

19/02/2014 13:29 GMT | Updated 19/02/2014 13:59 GMT
Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon speaks on Scottish independence at University College London, in central London.

It would be an "affront to democracy" for other European countries to prevent an independent Scotland becoming a member of the European Union, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

On Sunday European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for Scotland to join the EU if it voted for independence from the UK.

Barroso said some existing members, particularly Spain, would be reluctant to allow a breakaway state join the EU given their own internal separatist movements.

Speaking in the Scottish parliament on Wednesday morning, Sturgeon, Scotland's deputy first minister, said Barroso's comments were "utterly ridiculous" and that no EU country had said it would veto Scottish membership.

"The decisions on Scottish independence is for the Scottish people," she said. "These are not decisions for the European Commission."

"No member state has said it would seek to veto Scotland's continuing membership. It would be against the interests of not just Scotland but the entire EU for Scotland to be outside of that union. It would be contrary to the founding principles of the EU for Scotland to be excluded just because Scots had exercised their democrat right to self determination," she said.

Sturgeon it would be an "absolute affront to democracy and against the founding principles of the EU" for Scotland to be excluded from the EU.

"Scotland has been in the EU for 40 years, we have complied with EU law for 40 years, we have contributed to the EU for 40 years," she said.

The anti-independence campaign seized on Barroso's comments as evidence that the SNP and the 'yes' campaign had not thought though the consequences of breaking up the UK.

Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign, said the "wheels had begun to fall off the wagon" of the SNP's argument. "You now see that Alex Salmond is a man without a plan."

"Both the lack of clarity on the currency, as well as on Europe, means that Scotland would be taking a wholly unnecessary and undesirable risk if it were to vote to separate this autumn."