Monday, 24 Jan 2022

Sturgeon holds private meeting with top EU chief as SNP scrambles to align with bloc law

Angus Robertson labels state of the union 'unfit for purpose'

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EU Ambassador to the UK João Vale de Almeida met the Scottish First Minister on Thursday. The Daily Express understands the meeting was “constructive” and “warm” with Scotland’s contribution to the European agenda on the table.

Scotland’s Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson also met the Eurocrat and said it was good to “cooperate as a constructive European partner.”

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament prior to the meeting, he added: “The election in May once again underlined the people of Scotland’s strong support for our view that rejoining the EU at the earliest opportunity as an independent country represents the best future for Scotland. 

“Until that time, we will maintain alignment, where possible, with EU legislation, policy, and standards. 

“That will help to ensure that Scotland is able to protect and advance the high standards that we enjoyed as a part of the EU, promote ease of market access for our people and businesses, and smooth the process of Scotland’s re-accession.”

Ms Sturgeon also made clear today in a newspaper interview that the post-Brexit UK was riskier than independence

But Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said the Scottish First Minister’s and SNPs time was better spent than on “hypotheticals”. 

The Edinburgh Western MSP claimed the SNP leader was “asleep at the wheel on anything other than independence” and had left the Scottish Government “to rot”. 

Mr Vale de Almeida in July appeared to play down hopes of Scotland joining the EU if it was to become independent.

When asked about the prospect of Scotland joining the bloc and becoming independent, he said: “You know how we deal with countries that want to rejoin the European Union and I’m sure the same rules would apply if that hypothetical scenario is confirmed which is far from being the case.”

The Scottish First Minister has pledged that Scotland “wants to return” to the European Union following independence.

She urged Brussels to “leave a light on” for Scotland after 62 percent of Scots voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

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But concerns have been raised by Unionist politicians that Scotland would not be appropriately placed to be in the bloc.

A major problem would also be the prospect of whether a hard border would have to be erected between Scotland and England, potentially causing severe disruption to the flow of goods and the movement of people.

The Scottish Government said COP26 and supporting EU Citizens in Scotland were also discussed during the meeting.

Other Holyrood politicians including Douglas Ross met with the Eurocrat as well as part of a two-day tour to Scotland. 

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