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Scotland will ‘not be abandoned by the EU’ if Sturgeon demands second independence vote

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Sturgeon’s calls to rejoin EU are ‘disingenuous’ says Scottish Tory

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According to an Irish political expert, if Nicola Sturgeon believes she has the mandate to hold a second independence referendum she could “appeal to Brussels or individual member states” for support. In January Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, “Scotland will be back soon, Europe keep the light on”, however, there are mixed feelings within the bloc over attitudes towards Scottish independence. Professor of Politics Donnacha Ó Beacháin at the School of Law and Government, Dublin City University (DCU), spoke to Express.co.uk and explained that within the EU “there are states which are wary of supporting secessionism because of their own domestic issues in this regard”.

He added: “Spain is the most obvious example but remember there are five EU states that don’t recognise Kosovo.

“Apart from Spain, these are Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus.

“Spain worries about Catalonia and the Basques, the Romanians and Slovaks have substantial Hungarian minorities and the Greeks and Cypriots oppose the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

“Each would have a veto on Scottish membership of the EU but they could probably be prevailed upon were enough inducements offered or pressure applied by EU institutions other member states.”

Professor Ó Beacháin suggested the EU will not explicitly side against the concept of an independent Scotland, as was the case in the first referendum held in 2014.

He said: “It is unlikely the EU will be saying openly, as it did in 2014, that they could not envisage Scotland joining the EU should a referendum on independence be passed.

“In 2014, before Brexit, the EU supported the British Government’s determination to keep Scotland within the UK.

“The then president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, maintained that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for an independent Scotland to join the EU.

“Attitudes towards Scotland have changed a lot because of Brexit.

“Scotland is now viewed as a country loyal to the EU that should not be abandoned if it can find a way of extricating itself from the UK.”

If the UK Government denies the Scottish Parliament a section 30 order the SNP could implement an “advisory referendum”, however, such a proposal would not be legally binding and have limited effect.

The politics professor from Dublin City University said: “The Scottish Government could hold an advisory referendum to determine the views of the Scottish electorate.

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“Such a vote might be on a more modest proposal.

“It could, for example, ask voters on whether or not the Scottish Government should try and reopen negotiations with the British Government for an independence referendum, and the result could be presented as a proxy for indyref2.

“An independence vote would be difficult if not impossible to implement without the approval of the British Government.

“Unionists might stay away from a poll if it didn’t have Boris Johnson’s imprimatur.”

Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party (SNP) want a second Scottish independence referendum when the pandemic subsides.

The SNP has promised to push for an independent Scotland and seek to rejoin the European Union.

However, on Wednesday Boris Johnson said the 2014 referendum where 55 percent of Scots voted “no” closed the independence debate for a generation.

Speaking on Wednesday in the midlands Mr Johnson added: “I think that most people in Scotland, most people around the whole of the UK, feel that as we’re coming forwards out of a pandemic together, this is not the time to have a reckless, and I think irresponsible second referendum.”

On the same day, speaking to Sky News Ms Sturgeon reiterated her ambition to push for a second independence referendum.

She said: “I’m saying if Boris Johnson wants to stop it, he would have to take legal action.

“If Boris Johnson didn’t do that, by definition it would be a legal referendum.

“If he did do that, the courts would decide.”

A YouGov poll for The Scottish Times revealed the SNP might secure 68 seats in the Scottish Parliament, this is three beyond the 65-seat threshold for a majority.

This majority would give the SNP a mandate to push for a second independence referendum.

The SNP manifesto has outlined that it hopes to hold an independence referendum by the end of 2023.

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