Latvian Prime Minister opens door to recognition of indy Scotland and Catalonia


  By a Newsnet reporter

Speaking during an interview with the Catalan press agency ACN on Thursday, Latvian Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis opened the door to international recognition of Scottish and Catalan independence. 

Mr Dombrovskis said during the interview, which was broadcast on Catalan TV3, that the legitimacy of the Scottish process of independence, which is fully legal and is recognised by the Westminster Parliament, was ideal.

Following such a process there could be no grounds for objection from any other country, and no reason to withhold recognition of an independent Scotland.

The Latvian Prime Minister also admitted that despite the EU’s refusal to make a public statement about what would happen if part of a member state became independent, due to the ongoing Scottish process there are already negotiations taking place in Brussels.

Mr Dombrovskis said:

“There is still no final decision, and until now I have to admit that the topic has not been dealt with with any sense of urgency.”

However the Latvian PM said that “it would be good” if the Scots and Catalans were able to go to the ballot with “as a minimum some indication” about what would happen with regard to membership of the EU.  He added:

“It would be good to know in order that when the people vote, they may be aware of the consequences.  However it is still not clear whether the EU is capable of giving a clear answer before the referendum.”

Mr Dombrovskis added that Riga wanted to see “the opinion of the EU’s legal experts” with their interpretations of the treaties on what would happen in the case of independence. 

Asked if his country would also recognise an independent Catalonia, Mr Dombrovskis said:  “If there is legitimacy to the process, I would say – theoretically speaking – why not.”

Referring to Wednesday’s Via Catalana, which saw more than 1.6 million Catalans form a human chain the length of the country to demand independence, Mr Dombrovskis said:

“If there is a clear popular will and a clear demand for a referendum, it is absolutely worth the trouble of paying it close attention and looking at options in order to accommodate it.”  

Mr Dombrovskis’ comments have angered the Spanish government, which has demanded a meeting with the Latvian ambassador to Madrid in order to express its unhappiness. 

According to reports, the Spanish and UK governments are blocking any statement from the EU on the consequences of independence in order to continue to state that there is “uncertainty” about what might happen.  Mr Dombrovskis’ comments make it clear that the Latvian government does not support this position.

The Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has called the Latvian ambassador in Madrid to a meeting on Monday in order to present a formal protest from the Spanish government regarding the statement of the Latvian Prime Minister. 

The Spanish government has already made it clear that it would have no grounds to make a formal objection to the recognition of an independent Scotland. 

In 2012, Mr García-Margallo admitted that should Scotland attain its independence in a legally recognised manner, as foreseen by the Edinburgh Agreement between Westminster and Holyrood, Spain “would have nothing to say” and no grounds for objection.


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