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Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Heavyweight backing for independent Scotland in EU

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has today welcomed the comments of a former president of the European Parliament endorsing the Scottish Government’s position on an independent Scotland’s continued membership of the European Union. Former president Pat Cox said the argument that Scotland would have to go to the back of “an enlargement queue” does not bear analysis. Mr Salmond said a Yes vote will be the biggest ever boost to Scotland’s European and international profile, bringing major economic and jobs benefits.

Commenting Mr Salmond said: "This is a significant intervention that reinforces the common-sense position that in the event of a Yes vote, Scotland’s continued membership of the EU is in the interests of both Scotland and the rest of the European Union. \The No campaign is in meltdown with nothing to offer now that its scare stories are being demolished one by one. More and more people are moving to Yes as they find out about the opportunities of an independent Scotland and scrutinise both the Yes and No case."

“Pat Cox makes it clear that it is no one’s interests to seek to remove Scotland from the European Union and that the route proposed by the Scottish Government for continued membership comes at no cost to the EU’s internal market, common policies or citizen’s rights. At a time when Scotland’s European future is being placed in jeopardy by a Westminster elite obsessed by UKIP it is becoming ever clearer that Scotland’s European policy is best decided by people in Scotland. An independent Scotland will be an enthusiastic member of the EU in line with our long-held international and outward-looking focus and values. We’ll be able to argue directly for Scotland’s interests and win a better deal for our farmers, fishermen and others."

"A Yes vote will also mean greater opportunities for people in Scotland from the much greater international presence that will come with a Yes vote. We can expect a much bigger diplomatic presence here in Scotland, with major benefits for jobs and the local economy as well as transforming Edinburgh into a full international capital. And an independent Scotland will have 70-90 overseas offices dedicated to boosting Scottish exports, trade and cultural links. A 50 per cent increase in exports could lead to an extra 100,000 jobs in Scotland over the long-term.

Concluding Mr Salmond said: "Independence is not a magic wand but it will give us the ability to tailor economic policy to Scotland’s needs, helped by the massive international profile boost of becoming an independent country."