‘Back of the queue!’ Nicola Sturgeon’s EU dream brutally shunned by Spanish MEP

Nicola Sturgeon grilled by host on supporting EU 'when it works'

The SNP have pushed for a second independence vote in Holyrood ever since the UK voted to leave the EU, and have seen a growth in support as a result. Polling for much of 2020 showed consistently that over 50 percent of Scots would back Scottish secession, with some surveys putting a Yes vote as high as 58 percent. But Ms Sturgeon’s plans to join the EU are now under the microscope, as some fear Scotland may have to wait years before joining. Conservative MEP from Spain, Esteban Gonzalez Pons, said his party would block Scotland’s application to join the bloc.

He even defied the view of others in the EU, saying that Scotland would be behind Serbia and Turkey in the queue.

Mr González said in 2019: “Holding another referendum on independence at the same time as we are negotiating Brexit would even further complicate the UK’s internal politics.

“Whatever happens – and I hope that its independence never happens – Scotland will have to get in line, behind Turkey and behind Serbia, to end up as an EU state.

“There is nothing automatic about Scotland getting into the EU, however independent it may be.”

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His comments are at odds with those of prominent politicians in Spain, who have said the country wouldn’t veto Scotland’s entry.

Senior figures in Brussels have also made encouraging comments for the SNP.

In an interview with former SNP MEP Alyn Smith, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen admitted she is a “fan” of the Scottish First Minister.

She said in 2019: “I’m a fan of hers. And as I have a child studying in the UK, I know first-hand how the debates are. So, respect and good luck.”

In the same year, former President of the European Council Donald Tusk said there is “enthusiasm” for Scotland rejoining.

One of the potential stumbling block for Ms Sturgeon appears to be how long the country would have to wait to join.

A report published last February claimed that Scotland would have to wait up to five years to join the EU.

The report, entitled The EU Blueprint Pathway for Scotland’s Accession to the European Union under Independence, was published by political scientist Anthony Salamone in Edinburgh.

It said: “Scotland will reasonably take four to five years to join the EU. The Government should adopt a target to EU accession of four years.”

The most recent addition to the EU was Croatia – the country took ten years to join, starting its application in 2003, and gaining entry in 2013.

Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, having started their application processes in 1995.

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Senior MEP Philippe Lamberts told Express.co.uk in December that Scotland could “definitely” join the EU.

He said: “Yes, the answer is a definite yes.

“There would be no obstacle for Scotland joining if the UK is no longer in the EU.

“And this time independence would be different, because in 2014 Scotland would have left the UK and the EU at once.

“Now Scotland is leaving a smaller union to join a bigger union.”

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