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If EU dumps independent Scotland, 12 countries would be barred from its fishing waters

Friday, May 2nd 2014 - 08:42 UTC
Full article 133 comments
Prime Minister Alex Salmond during a speech to the College of Europe in Brussels Prime Minister Alex Salmond during a speech to the College of Europe in Brussels

Scottish First Minister warned that 12 countries could be barred from his country’s waters and would not even be allowed to pass through to reach Norwegian waters if an independent Scotland was refused European Union (EU) membership.

 This warning was made by Prime Minister Alex Salmond during a speech to the College of Europe in Brussels referring to the case in which the Scottish National Party (SNP) plans to retain EU membership after independence are rejected, The Telegraph informed.

Patricia Ferguson, Scottish Labor’s external affairs spokesperson considers his ‘threats’ about blockading the rest of Europe from Scottish and even Norwegian waters will not go down well with those ‘he seeks to persuade about Scotland’s membership.’

However, Salmond stressed the core message of his address was that an independent Scotland would be “an enthusiastic, engaged and committed contributor to European progress”.

“In many ways, in fact, Scottish independence is a cause which has been profoundly influenced and strengthened by the European Union,” Salmond pointed out, calling the institution proof that independence does not mean isolation.

The Prime Minister also stressed the status of 160,000 EU workers and students in Scotland would be “uncertain” if the country was not allowed to retain its EU membership.

For his part, David Mundell, the Scotland Office minister, said Salmond had made a significant legal and diplomatic error by threatening to block access to Norwegian waters. He said an independent Scotland would be legally obliged to allow safe passage to foreign ships with Norwegian fishing rights, The Guardian reported.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said he would be writing to the first minister asking him to explain what he meant.
“We need to ask the Scottish government for clarification of exactly what he means,” Armstrong said. “Is this a threat to the rest of Europe or is fishing being placed on the table as a bargaining counter?”

To Armstrong that rhetoric would involve problems with the Spanish and Irish governments, in particular, but also raised questions about Scotland's rights to fish in other UK waters post--independence – effectively closing off large areas of the North Sea and Irish Sea.

The first minister also revealed he would urge the European Commission to “rethink” laws that he said prevent the Scottish government from making the Living Wage a requirement of public sector contracts, BBC reported.

Ahead of the prime minister's speech, Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote to the first minister, arguing that “Scotland benefits from the UK's strong voice in Europe” and claimed that, if Scotland opted for independence, negotiations to join the EU “are likely to be complex and long”.

Voters in Scotland are to go to the polls on 18 September, when they will be asked if Scotland should be an independent country. (FIS)

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    Firstly he isn't a Prime Minister he's a First Minister.

    Secondly it wasn't that long ago he was telling the Scottish public that EU membership was absolutely assured and nothing to worry about.

    Thirdly he sounds like a petulant child, not like a statesman, and trying to blackmail people usually backfires.

    Fourthly any vessel can traverse international waters and if an independent Scotland tried to prevent it they could be taken to the International Convention on the Laws of the Sea and be fined or face sanctions.

    If I were Scottish I'd be embarrassed by Salmonds petulant attitude.

    May 02nd, 2014 - 09:14 am 0
  • zathras

    Damn beat me to it.

    But yes he is the 1st Minister.

    Also just recently they were guaranteeing that Scotland would automatically enter the EU with their own currency.

    Although the EU officials made it clear that this was most unlikely, particularly as an independent Scotland would be required to join the Euro.

    May 02nd, 2014 - 10:04 am 0
  • Mr Ed

    “Fourthly any vessel can traverse international waters and if an independent Scotland tried to prevent it they could be taken to the International Convention on the Laws of the Sea and be fined or face sanctions.”

    Or simply have its interfering vessel sunk by a transiting navy.

    Personally, I'd love to see the Scots leave, and if they leave the EU and Scots don't retain British citizenship, then Scots in the UK would be working illegally, barring the terms of separation permitting retention of British citizenship or a right to work in the remainder of the UK.

    May 02nd, 2014 - 11:22 am 0
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