Scotland would find itself behind Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia in the queue to join the EU if it breaks away from the UK, David Cameron claimed yesterday.
He was speaking as a business group warned an independent Scotland would have to wait until 2019 at the earliest to re-enter the EU because several member states would veto an accelerated process.
“They would have to queue up behind other countries – for instance those in the western Balkans that are already on the path towards membership,” the Prime Minister said.
Alex Salmond, the First Minister, has argued that EU membership could be fast-tracked to coincide with its official break from the UK in 2016. But the organisation Business for New Europe says, in a report published today, that the earliest date a separate Scotland could expect to be readmitted is 2019.
A spokesman for Yes Scotland insisted it would remain a “full and valued” part of the EU after a vote for independence. He cited Graham Avery, a senior EU negotiator, who has said the SNP’s timetable is “entirely realistic”.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives yesterday set out plans for Holyrood to be given full control over income tax powers if voters reject independence on 18 September.