Nicola Sturgeon's coronavirus strategy 'backfired' says McCrae
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Brussels could allow Scotland’s accession to the trading bloc within just two years of Scots voting for independence from Brexit Britain, according to former MEP David Martin. Ms Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, has said she will pursue a second public vote on Scottish independence after the COVID-19 crisis. She was handed a mandate to deliver on her promise of another independence referendum after her Scottish National Party (SNP) won at the Scottish Parliament election in May.
Following the victory, Ms Sturgeon told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that holding the so-called ‘Indyref2’ is “a matter of when, not if.”
In the 2014 referendum, Scots rejected independence from the UK by a majority of 55 percent to 45 percent.
The UK Government has resisted SNP attempts to break up the Union and has said another public vote is unlikely to take place before the next general election in 2024.
However, Ms Sturgeon’s hopes of Scottish independence will be buoyed by the EU, which according to Mr Martin is “very sympathetic” to the cause.
The Scottish Labour politician was Britain’s longest-serving MEP, serving in the European Parliament from 1984 until he was ousted in the 2019 election.
He argued Brussels would welcome Scotland back to the 27-nation bloc with open arms.
Scotland voted heavily against Brexit and if it was independent from the UK, its accession bid would be viewed differently by the EU than it would have been in 2014, according to the former MEP.
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“This time around we (Scotland) are being forced out of the EU, which is how it is perceived here,” he told a news briefing in Brussels in 2018.
“They know that Scotland voted to Remain and I think they would be very sympathetic if Scotland came back and said, ‘Scotland became independent and it wants to join the EU’. It would be welcome.”
Mr Martin believes Scotland would be able to re-join the EU within two years of Scots voting for independence.
However, he believed the EU would not offer Scotland “preferential treatment” and that it would have to sign back up to the bloc’s Common Fisheries Policy.
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The Policy is a set of EU regulations hated by many Scottish fishermen, who claim it reduces the size of quotas they have access to.
The renewed talk of Scottish independence comes as the Spanish government has tried to quell any hopes of the region of Catalonia seceding from Spain.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has vowed that his ruling Socialist PSOE Party would “never” back a Catalan independence bid.
In 2017 the ruling separatists in Catalonia’s parliament declared independence following a referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court.
Nine of the leaders behind the failed independence attempt were jailed after being found guilty of sedition in 2019.
Last month they were officially pardoned of their crimes, with Mr Sanchez saying he wanted to open a “new era of dialogue.”
But despite his conciliatory tone, the Prime Minister also said there will not be another referendum on Catalan independence unless it is backed by three-fifths of lawmakers.
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