EU membership could move independence date

THE SNP government should be prepared to delay its planned date of Scottish independence earmarked for March 2016 to avoid disruption to the nation’s formal EU membership, a leading pro-European body has said.
Picture: GettyPicture: Getty
Picture: Getty

A report from the European Movement in Scotland - the country’s oldest dedicated pro-European organisation - that it is “unlikely that any existing member would materially obstruct” an independent Scotland from remaining in the EU.

The group states that there is no “straightforward legal route” for an independent Scotland to join, but says that is “inconceivable” that European officials would want to strip Scots of the rights of EU citizens.

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However, the European Movement said that an SNP government would need to be more flexible about its planned date for independence in order to secure a better deal for Scotland.

The report said: “While technically sufficient, the 18 month timetable is vulnerable to delaying tactics and the political context in which negotiation would take place will be highly dynamic.

“If this period is extended, this could cause disruption – more so in the case of a new application. A potential counter measure to avoid hiatus and improve Scotland’s position while negotiating is to leave open the date of formal separation.”