Spanish Foreign Minister confirms that Spain would accept Scottish independence

210
6861

By a Newsnet reporter

Speaking in London after the international conference on Somalia on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo confirmed that Spain would accept Scottish independence and would not attempt to block an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU.

By a Newsnet reporter

Speaking in London after the international conference on Somalia on Friday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo confirmed that Spain would accept Scottish independence and would not attempt to block an independent Scotland’s membership of the EU.

Mr García-Margallo said:  “If the two parts of the United Kingdom are in agreement that [Scottish independence] is in accord with their constitutional arrangement, written or unwritten, Spain would have nothing to say, we would simply maintain that it does not affect us.”

Mr García-Margallo reminded the press that “the [Spanish] Constitution is based upon the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.”  He added:  “The constitutional arrangements of the United Kingdom are one thing, those of Spain another, and it is their own business if they decide to separate from one another.”  

The Spanish Foreign Minister ruled out any parallels with Kosovo, whose independence from Serbia Spain refuses to recognise.  He explained that Kosovo achieved its independence from Serbia as a result of a unilateral declaration which has not been accepted by the Serbian government, he added that Spain’s position on Kosovo would have been different if Kosovan independence came after a negotiated agreement between Belgrade and Pristina.  

As recently as 3 weeks ago, Labour’s  shadow Welsh secretary Peter Hain repeated the claim that Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU, saying:  “Spain has real problems with the Basque country and Catalonia … And I think they would be really, really opposed to granting European Union membership and would veto it for a part of a country which had seceded.”  

Mr Hain’s remarks came after Mr García-Margallo had already denied reports in the UK media that Scottish membership of the EU would be blocked by a Spanish veto.  Mr García-Margallo’s recent comments underline his previous statement and reiterate the view that Spain sees no parallels between its domestic situation and Scotland, or between Scotland and Kosovo.

Speaking to the Express newspaper, Aileen McLeod MSP, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Europe and External Affairs Committee, said: “These comments are welcome and totally undermine the increasingly ridiculous scaremongering campaign by the Tories and the other anti-independence parties.

“The reality is, as legal, constitutional and European experts have confirmed, that Scotland is part of the territory of the European Union and the people of Scotland are citizens of the EU.

“There is no provision for either of these circumstances to change upon independence, and the rest of the UK will be in exactly the same position.

“We will both be successor states, with exactly the same status within the EU.”