Scottish independence: Salmond's claim of rapid entry to EU contradicted by Spanish PM

Salmond has previously said Scotland's fisheries, oil reserves and population mean the nation will be fast-tracked into the European Union

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The Independent Online

Alex Salmond’s claims that an independent Scotland would be rapidly admitted to the European Union were flatly contradicted today by the Spanish Prime Minister.

Mariano Rajoy claimed it could take up to eight years for Scotland to go through the process of applying for membership of the EU.

Speaking in the Spanish Parliament, he claimed a breakaway Scotland would represent a “torpedo in the waterline of the European Union”.

Mr Rajoy’s comments reflect the pressure the Spanish government faces over separatist ambitions in the region of Catalonia.

He said Scotland have to re-apply to join the EU like any other new candidate country, with all existing members having to ratify the decision.

Mr Rajoy warned that the 28 EU nations would give “very few facilities” to areas which break away from existing states but then ask to join the EU.

He added that the EU was not created to “fragment states but for integration and not for separation”.

Mr Salmond has argued that Scotland would be treated as an existing state EU because of the UK’s membership and would continue as a member after independence.

Mr Salmond insisted today that an independent Scotland would be welcomed into the EU. He told the BBC: “Anybody who believes a country with one per cent of the [EU] population, but 20 per cent of the fish, 25 per cent of the renewable energy and 60 per cent of the oil reserves is not going to be welcome in the wider Europe ... doesn't understand the process by which Europe ... accepts democratic results and secondly that Scotland has a huge amount of attractiveness to the rest of the European continent.”

He said: “Spanish government's position is unchanged. They have said so many times that if there is a consenting democratic process then Spain, as they put it, would have nothing to say about it.”

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