Nicola Sturgeon’s blueprint for keeping Scotland in the single market even will be used by the EU to “punch” the UK during the Brexit negotiations and weaken Theresa May’s chances of getting a good deal, a Danish MEP has predicted.
Anders Vistisen said the report’s complex plan was unworkable and would achieve little if anything for Scotland because member states like Spain with their own separatist movements have more “political will” to block a special deal than those who are neutral or supportive.
However, in an interview with the Telegraph, he said those in Brussels who want to punish the UK for the Brexit vote will seize on Ms Sturgeon’s report as a chance to “weaken the British position” and “annoy London”.
He said Denmark had only managed to negotiate its array of opt-outs with Brussels on policy areas including home affairs, justice and the euro because its politicians had presented a united front.
Mr Vistisen also rejected a claim made by Ms Sturgeon’s paper that Scotland could join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as a means of gaining full access to the single market if the UK sponsored it.
The blueprint argued that there was a precedent because the Faroe Islands have asked the Danish government to support its application but the MEP said there was a “distinct difference” with his country’s situation.
Mr Vistisen pointed out that the Faroes have a population of less than 50,000 and are treated like an “overseas territory” by the EU, whereas Scotland’s population of more than five million makes it larger than some existing member states. He also noted that Denmark is a member of the single market, whereas the UK would not be.
In a direct warning to Ms Sturgeon over her threats of a second independence referendum, he said a separate Scotland in the EU would have to accept “the German economic system”, a hard border with England and the euro because there was no mood in Brussels following Brexit to give new members any opt-outs.