Monday, 10 December 2012

Barroso, Scotland and the EU - what he said

Argument and fall out later but this is what the President of the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso told BBC Hardtalk. Actually he had much more frightening things to say about the rise of the far right in Europe but this is the bit that will put the frighteners on John Swinney ahead of his appearance tomorrow in front of the Lords Committee investigating independence.

Q: The Commission has made it clear that any country, a country like Scotland, that would choose to be independent would need to re-apply for EU membership.
When you think about how that would work, would it just be nodded through do you think?

Barroso: I did not comment on specific situation in member states because I very much respect that it is their sovereign right to decide about their organisation.
What I said - and it is our doctrine clearly since 2004 in legal terms - if one part of a country, and I’m not referring to anything specific, wants to become an independent state of course as an independent state it has to apply for European Union membership according to the rules. That’s obvious.

Q: So It has to re negotiate its terms

Barroso: Yes

Q: Is it re-negotiating these terms from inside, as a member of the EU, or is it effectively re-applying from outside the EU?

Barroso: We are a union of states so if there is a new state, (laughs) of course that state has to apply for membership and negotiate the conditions...

Q: I appreciate you’re not talking about specifics, but say a country like Scotland, it choose independence, it is then like a new state applying for the EU?

Barroso: For the EU purposes from a legal point of view it is certainly an new state. if a country becomes independent it is new state and has to negotiate with the European Union...

Q: What about the rest of the UK that is effectively left behind?
Barroso: There is a princple of continuity of that state...

Q: Does it have to re-negotiate its terms?

Barroso: In principle, no.