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Independent Scotland re-joining the EU should be ‘simple and straightforward’, according EU Green leader

Ska Keller - Image credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

Independent Scotland re-joining the EU should be ‘simple and straightforward’, according EU Green leader

An independent Scotland should find the process of re-joining the EU after Brexit “simple and straightforward”, according to the co-president of the Green group in the European Parliament.

With new polling from YouGov showing a majority of Scots in favour of independence, the Scottish Greens today launched a new ‘Green Yes’ campaign.

Appearing at a rally in Glasgow, co-leader Patrick Harvie said the party would move from campaigning for remain to pushing to re-join the EU.

Speaking to Holyrood after the rally, German Green MEP and co-president of the Greens-European Free Alliance in the European Parliament Ska Keller said that since the Brexit vote EU member states had become “much more sympathetic” to the idea of an independent Scotland.

She said: “Before it was just another independence movement, but now a big majority voted to remain, they are being dragged out and there is a lot of sympathy for that cause, and for getting Scotland back.”

Describing the UK’s exit from the EU as an “extremely sad moment”, Keller told the rally: “It is up for the people in Scotland to decide on their future.

“It is not up to me, but if people in Scotland decide to become independent, then Greens across Europe will do all we can to welcome Scotland back home.”

She told Holyrood: “I can’t foresee the future, but I think it should be rather simple and straightforward because Scotland, being part of the EU now, fulfils all the criteria of a member country, so there shouldn’t be any problem at all. 

“Of course, depending on how long it takes there would be new laws that need to be transposed, but since Scotland has been following this whole thing for a long time, from our point of view, it should really happen swiftly.

“And we [the European Greens] also want to create political pressure for it to happen swiftly, because it is a symbol of how the EU deals with that, and our opinion is that the signal should be that we welcome you [Scotland] back swiftly without hurdles or complications.”

Keller also rejected suggestions states such as Spain, facing independence movements of their own, could block Scotland’s entry into the bloc.

“I really hope not, because I think that would be really quite stupid of any member state.

“Luckily there are signs that the Spanish government is going more for dialogue than a confrontative approach.

“But the situations are very different, and that is something the Spanish government needs to realise, they can’t just be against any other independence [movement], just because of their own problems, which are very different to what has happened in Scotland.”

But while the Scottish Government has outlined plans to keep legislation in areas such as the environment in line with European law, Keller warned that Brexit could threaten the future of both environmental protections and the fight against climate change, warning the vote was “a big step backward for the environment and a big step backwards for social rights”.

She told Holyrood: “On all sorts of environmental issues, the EU has really brought forward the UK’s legislation, be it on air pollution, clean air, clean beaches or clean water, the EU has been really fundamental to that.

“There has been environmental progress in so many countries because of the EU and there is a real danger that, because of Brexit, there is going to a draw back on that, and that also applies to climate. 

“The EU is going to make steps, going forward, to tackle the climate crisis and as Greens we will probably say it’s not enough, but at least there are steps moving forward.

“But I also think whoever is at the forefront of fighting the climate crisis will also see a lot of other benefits from that, because things like electric cars will need to be produced somewhere, the battery cells, the solar panels, they will need to be produced somewhere, and it will a place that has good climate laws and regulations.”

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