SNP strengthens Scottish independence after Spanish minister insists “Spain has nothing to say” | Politics | New


Nicola Sturgeon slammed by Neil Oliver for calls to Indyref2

There has long been talk of Spain vetoing independent Scotland’s accession to the EU for fear that this might prompt Catalonia to attempt the same. The SNP is expected to step up plans for a second independence referendum, with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set to release her legislative program for the coming year at the end of the month. A cooperation agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens is imminent, according to Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie.

In an interview this weekend, he said: “Everyone is very excited to see the outcome, I don’t think you have to wait very long.

“If we agree on something with the SNP, it will not be put into practice until our party members vote… we are trying to finish these last items of discussion.

“I hope that very soon we can publish something.

“If we can do this in a more coherent way over the long term of this five-year parliament, we should definitely consider how we can maximize this opportunity.”

Read more: Domino effect of Brexit as EU ‘fear’ of future referendums exposed

SNP set to step up plans for second independence referendum (Image: Getty)

José Manuel García-Margallo

Mr Garcia-Margallo insisted that independent admission of Scotland to the EU “may be considered” (Image: getty)

Ms Sturgeon and the Greens said the deal would see cooperation between the two parties on specific issues, including Scottish independence, without concluding a formal coalition agreement.

The Greens will insist, however, that climate change policy is high on the agenda ahead of the COP26 meeting in Glasgow in November.

Indeed, Scottish independence received another boost after accounts showed Spain would not block Scotland’s EU membership if independence was achieved.

It had previously been speculated that Spain would exercise its veto if an independent Scotland attempted to join the EU, as the Spaniards did not want to encourage Catalan and Basque independence activists.

Douglas Alexander

Former shadow foreign minister Douglas Alexander announced Spain would veto Scotland’s entry into the EU (Image: Getty)

Yet in February 2012 Spain’s Foreign Minister José Manuel Garcia-Margallo said: “If the two sides of the UK agree according to their constitutional arrangement, written or not, Spain will not would have nothing to say.

“We will just maintain that it does not affect us.

“The UK’s constitutional arrangements are one thing, Spain’s another, and it is their own business if they decide to go their separate ways.”

Two years later, in February 2014, the Spanish minister reiterated that an independent admission of Scotland to the EU “may be considered” as long as the decision is “in accordance with legal and institutional procedures”.

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Catalan independence

Spain, which fears Catalan and Basque independence, would still not exercise its right of veto (Image: Getty)

This may be a sharp reference to the referendum in Catalonia to secede from Spain, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Spain.

In Scotland’s first independence referendum, Better Together Scottish activists such as Ruairi Quinn and then Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander suggested that Spain would veto the entry of Scotland into the EU.

However, a letter published in The National by Miguel Angel Vecino Quintana, then Spanish Consul General in Edinburgh, suggested otherwise.

Mr. Quintana was writing in response to a report which contained comments from a Spanish MP.

Green Party

SNP-Scottish Greens cooperation deal imminent (Image: Getty)

The Partido Popular member, who is the opposition of Mr Quintana, said Scotland should “line up, behind Turkey and behind Serbia, to become an EU state”.

In response, the diplomat said: “Spain’s Foreign Minister, Mr Joseph Borrell, recently declared that Spain will not block Scotland’s entry into the European Union if independence is legally gained and this has always been the intention of the Spanish government.

“The Spanish government has not intervened and will never intervene in the internal affairs of the UK or any other state and expects the same reciprocal attitude.

“I want to make it very clear that Mr. Gonzalez Pons’ statement is his sole responsibility and that of his party and not at all of the Spanish government.”

The news will be a boost for Ms Sturgeon who is expected to move forward with independent plans as Scotland emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

The impending deal with the Greens will be the first time the SNP has officially worked with another party in its 12 years in power.

Ms Sturgeon announced that talks had been launched on establishing cooperation after the May elections in Holyrood, where the SNP ran out of a seat in the overall majority.

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