The Scottish government wants to rejoin the EU as soon as possible after gaining independence
London (AFP) - An independent Scotland would move quickly to rejoin the European Union, the Scottish government said on Friday as it laid out its plans for getting back into the bloc.
The administration led by the Scottish National Party (SNP) said that Scotland would “apply to re-join the EU as soon as possible” after independence, although that is not currently on the horizon.
The pro-independence government of the devolved parliament in Edinburgh made the comments in a paper that sought to lay out the benefits of EU membership.
“Given the position of the main parties at Westminster (the UK parliament in London), the only route back to the EU for Scotland is by becoming an independent country,” it said.
None of Britain’s other main parties – the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats – currently argues that the United Kingdom should rejoin the EU.
Scotland left the EU with the rest of the UK after the Brexit referendum of 2016.
Although the UK as a whole narrowly voted to leave, Scotland overwhelmingly voted to remain part of the bloc.
The Scottish government said an independent Scotland would pursue the normal accession process, known as Article 49, which typically takes several years.
“This government believes that membership of the EU is fundamental to Scotland’s economic, social and political future and that we should seek to re-join the EU as soon as possible after independence,” the paper said.
It did not commit Scotland to joining the euro currency, instead saying that an independent Scotland would, “as soon as practicable move from sterling to having its own currency, a new Scottish pound”.
“We’re clear that Scotland’s best future is as an independent state in the EU and this document is a solid piece of work that shows who we are and where we want to be,” Alyn Smith, the SNP’s Europe spokesperson at Westminster, told AFP.
Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum that the UK government insists has settled the question.
But the SNP has said it will claim it has “a mandate for independence negotiations” with London if it wins a majority of Scottish seats at the next UK election, expected in 2024.