Scotland Demands Early Talks over EU Membership
The Scottish government has called for urgent talks with the European Commission over the potential status of independent Scotland.
European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso reiterated that an independent Scotland would have to reapply to join the EU, prompting Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish deputy first minister, to call for early talks about Scotland's legal rights should it gain independence.
"For European Union purposes, from a legal point of view, it is certainly a new state. If a country becomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU," Barroso has told BBC News.
He clarified that the rest of the UK would, in principle, remain part of the EU without any need to rejoin or renegotiate the terms of its membership because of the "principle of continuity of the state".
However, Sturgeon has argued that there is no provision within EU law for any existing part of the EU to be removed from the union's treaties, or for its people to stop becoming EU citizens.
"The crucial point is that these negotiations will take place from within the EU, because in the period immediately following a 'yes' vote in the referendum, Scotland will still be part of the UK and the EU," she has stated, as cited by The Guardian.