Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Scots EU block would be affront, says Sturgeon

Denying an independent Scotland EU membership would be an "absolute affront to democracy", Scotland's deputy first minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon also said Scotland could not be forced to join the euro, in the event of a "Yes" vote in the 18 September independence referendum.

She told MSPs that neither EU treaties nor "common sense" required it.

Rival parties have questioned the SNP government's plan for an independent Scotland to become an EU member.

Ms Sturgeon was responding in parliament to comments by the European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barosso, who has said it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to secure the agreement of all 28 member states to join the EU.

The deputy first minister said that to deny membership to an independent Scotland would be "an absolute affront to democracy and to the founding principles of the EU".

In the event of a referendum "Yes" vote, the Scottish government has said it would negotiate Scotland's EU membership from "within", given the UK was already a member.

Ms Sturgeon also said Scotland had been part of the EU for 40 years and there was "no basis" to assume it would need to adopt the euro if it became an independent EU member.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie described the idea of First Minister Alex Salmond "pulling strings in 28 capitals" around the EU as "Napoleonic".

Labour MSP Drew Smith said Scotland could only join the EU as a member state by negotiation with other member states.

The Conservatives' Annabel Goldie argued that "common sense" suggested other EU states could say "no", during negotiations.

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