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Independent Scotland would find it ‘extremely difficult’ to join EU

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso says it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for an independent Scotland to join the European Union.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday, Barroso said if Scotland voted for independence in September the country would have to apply for EU membership and secure approval from all member states.

Barroso said: “Of course 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.

“We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance. So it is to some extent a similar case because it is a new country and so I believe it is going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of our countries getting the agreement of the others.”

Scotland finance minister John Swinney told the BBC the European Commission president’s comments were “pretty preposterous”,  and said there was no indication from Spain or any other member state that it would veto Scotland’s membership of the EU.

In Spain, Catalan separatists are pushing for independence.

Scotland first minister Alex Salmond is giving a speech to pro-independence business leaders in Aberdeen later today. He is expected to defend his ‘plan A’ for an independent Scotland to keep the pound in a currency union with the rest of the UK, despite mounting pressure for the Scottish National Party come up with an alternative ‘plan B’ for the currency.

Experts have warned the pensions and regulatory changes related to an independent Scotland would be a “nightmare” for advisers and results in hundreds of millions of pounds in duplicated costs.

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