Independent Scotland would get 'enthusiastic' welcome from EU, says Donald Tusk

Donald Tusk says an independent Scotland would get "enthusiastic" response if it sought  to rejoin the EU.Donald Tusk says an independent Scotland would get "enthusiastic" response if it sought  to rejoin the EU.
Donald Tusk says an independent Scotland would get "enthusiastic" response if it sought to rejoin the EU.
An independent Scotland would receive an "enthusiastic" reception if it sought to rejoin the EU and could enjoy a bespoke re-entry process, former EU President Donald Tusk has said.

But the comments came under fire from Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab who hinted that it may encourage other "secessionist" movements in Europe.

Asked if the Scottish Government could expect encouragement from the EU, if it sought to rejoin, Mr Tusk told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "Emotionally I have no doubt that everybody would be enthusiastic here in Brussels and more widely, more generally in Europe."

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Mr Tusk added that he felt "empathy" for the position of Scotland.

Scotland would not be automatically accepted into the Brussels Bloc, with "formalities" and treaty agreements requiring to be adhered to.

But he added: "If something like, for example, the independence of Scotland happens then we need a regular new process.

"It's a new situation, a new country, then it means a new process."

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But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab hit out at Mr Tusk's comments.

"I think it was frankly un-European and irresponsible given the secessionist, separatist tendencies in Spain, France and Italy," he said.

"I'm not sure that European leaders, let alone here in the UK would actually welcome that kind of language."

Mr Raab insisted that Scotland will have a "great opportunity" to take advantage of the UK's "levelling up" agenda.

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He added; "At the same time, we ought to expect the SNP to live up to it's commitment to honour the outcome of the independence referendum, not to keep coming back and asking for a second one."

Mr Raab also dismissed the Scottish Government's call last week for a separate visa system for Scotland to ensure immigration levels hold up after Brexit.

He said: "Either it's unworkable or it's going to be so draconian you would have to require people in the United Kingdom to stay in one part of the United Kingdom. So I think the questions are all on the SNP side.

"But a lot of this is a distraction from the standards in schools, in the high levels of taxes that actually the job of the Scottish Government in discharging its responsibilities to the Scottish people ought to be focused on."

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SNP Foreign Affairs spokesman Alyn Smith welcomed Mr Tusk's intervention.“Donald Tusk’s comments underline the reality that Scotland would be welcomed back into the EU with open arms as an independent country. What senior Europeans are saying in public is what they have been saying in private for some time," he added.“Scotland has been taken out of the EU against our will by a Tory government with no mandate here - but Scotland remains a European country with European values, and we can protect our place at the heart of Europe with independence.