Scottish independence: Jean-Claude Juncker EU comments 'distorted' by pro-UK campaigners

Pro-UK campaigners have been accused of 'distorting' his comments to suggest an independent Scotland would mean leaving the EU

Pro-UK campaigners have been accused of "distorting" the words of the newly-elected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, after he said the EU needs to "take a break" from expansion and there would be no new members of the EU in the next five years.

In his political guidelines, Mr Juncker said the EU should consolidate what has already been achieved by the existing 28 member states, but did not refer specifically to Scotland.

He told MEPs ahead of a vote making him the new President of the European Commission: "Over the next five years, there won't be any new member states acceding to the European Union.

"It's hard to imagine that one of the candidate states with whom we are negotiating will have, in time, met all the accession criteria."

Opponents of Scottish Independence seized these comments and suggested his remarks signal a ‘Yes’ vote in Scotland's forthcoming independence referendum would also be a vote to leave the EU.

They claimed an independent Scotland would be forced to get back in the queue for EU membership and would not be back in before 2019.

Following Mr Juncker's comments, Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said earlier: "It is now clear that if we leave the UK, we would be leaving the EU. This would put thousands of Scottish jobs at risk and would be massively damaging to our country."

But Mr Juncker's office has since confirmed he was not referring to Scotland in his comments and he was actually referring to countries already in an accession process with the EU, BBC Scotland has reported.

A spokesperson said: "At no point is Scotland mentioned, as this is an entirely separate issue.

"Mr Juncker has made his position on this clear on many an occasion: this is an internal matter of the UK and he will respect the result of the Scottish referendum."

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the No camp had "wilfully twisted" Mr Juncker's words and demanded an apology.

"This blatant act of dishonesty is a major blow to the credibility of the No campaign," she said.

Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon "The No campaign are guilty of distorting remarks by the newly-elected president of the European Commission, which is an extremely serious matter. They must withdraw their bogus assertions as a matter of urgency and issue a public apology."

The Scottish Government maintains the terms of Scotland's EU membership as an independent state would be agreed during the 18-month transition period following the September ballot.

Video: Jean-Claude Juncker lays out European investment plan

It says Scotland is already part of the EU, and therefore meets all the requirements for membership.

Read more: 'Conciliator' Lord Hill named for EC role
Cameron returns to Brussels hoping for better luck

A spokesperson for pro-Union campaigners Better Together said: "These comments lay bare the full extent of the problems we would face if we left the UK.

"The countries who have already started the application process to join the EU face a five year wait. As President Juncker has made perfectly clear, if we leave the UK, we would then have to start the application process to join.

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said the No campaign had "distorted" Mr Juncker's position because "Scotland is already in the European Union and will negotiate our member state status from within".

"Jean-Claude Juncker is obviously talking about countries not currently in the EU, such as Kosovo and Turkey - unlike them, Scotland complies in full with every single European rule and regulation," he said.

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
voices
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick