No Way, Says Jose; Euro Bigwig Claims Independent Scotland's Chances of Joining EU Are Doomed

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Byline: DAVID CLEGG d.clegg@dailyrecord.co.uk

ALEX Salmond suffered another crushing blow yesterday when the EU's most senior official dismissed the idea of a separate Scotland joining the European Union. Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, said it would be "very difficult, if not impossible" for Scotland to get the agreement of all EU states to join.

The latest hammer blow to the Yes campaign came at the end of a week in which Chancellor George Osborne ruled out a go-it-alone Scotland joining a sterling currency union if there is a Yes vote on September 18.

EU membership is another central plank in Salmond's blueprint independence outlined in the SNP's White Paper last year. And the developments leave the First Minister fighting a war on two fronts - and voters in the dark over what currency an independent Scotland would use and whether it would be a member of the EU.

EU membership is seen as vital as it allows lucrative trade links with ral for e e o t s h er nt Europe and provides support for the agriculture industry. Better Together campaign boss Alistair Darling claimed yesterday: "The wheels are falling off the independence wagon."

The White Paper - dubbed the independence bible - claims Scotland would negotiate a "smooth transition" so we would be a full EU member on the first day of independence on March 24, 2016. Experts have questioned whether complex question negotiations could be concluded in the 18-month timetable.

And yesterday, Barroso - whose job includes being the "guardian" of EU treaties- went further and predicted some of the 28 member states would veto Scotland's membership.

Spain is known to be worried about because it is fighting its own separation movement in Catalonia.

Barroso pointed out Spain had previously blocked Kosovo becoming an EU member, adding: "In case there is a new country, a new state coming out of a current member state, it will have to apply and - this is very important - the application and the accession to the European Union would have to be approved by all the other member states.

"It will be extremely difficult to get the approval of all the other member states to have a new member coming from one member state. …