David Miliband: Scotland can’t just “leave the UK on Friday, join the EU on Monday”

David Miliband yesterday warned an independent Scotland would have to "take its place in the queue" if it wanted to join the EU.


David Miliband yesterday warned an independent Scotland would have to “take its place in the queue” if it wanted to join the EU, and couldn’t just “leave the union on Friday, join the European Union on Monday”.

He told ScotsPolitics.com:

“This argument about Europe I’m quite interested in, because I’ve sat in European enlargement negotiations… and there are 35 chapters of EU legislation that you have to go through, and every line you have to ask ‘does the entry of this country change it?’

“And then you get down to voting, because in the Council of Ministers, every country has a certain amount of votes – so when you get a new member you have to change the voting weights; and critically, you change the amount of money that different countries pay when there’s a new member.

“So you can see, there’s 7 or 8 countries in the queue already – and Scotland would have to take its place in the queue of negotiating its entry.

“So one of the things that concerns me if you vote for independence, is that you leave the UK, but you’ll be in limbo in Europe – it’s not like ‘leave the union on Friday, join the European Union on Monday’.”

In the interview, Miliband – speaking after a meeting with students at the University of Stirling – also reiterated the challenges facing Labour, following the defeats in the 2010 general election and 2011 Scottish elections.

He said:

“Labour suffered a very bad defeat in 2010, and it’s too easy to forget that. We got 29% of the vote, and… that was the worst election we’d had in 80 years – and I think that puts it in very stark terms…

“I was in the advisory team that wrote the manifesto that committed us to devolution and then delivered devolution – and the way devolution was crafted is that no party was ever gonna get a majority on their own. And actually, the SNP got a majority in May 2011, and Labour got a very bad result.

But we shouldn’t be in the least bit sanguine or complacent about what that implies as quite a big mountain to climb.”

On Labour’s “mountain to climb” in Scotland, Miliband backed leader Johann Lamont’s controverial comments on universal benefits, in which she attacked the “cynical tricks” of Alex Salmond’s “dishonest government”, compared his fiscal indiscipline to Mitt Romney, and said Scotland “cannot be the only something-for-nothing country in the world”.

Said Miliband:

I think that Johann Lamont made a really important point, which is that you can only have free prescriptions if you’re willing to sack 3,000 nurses.

“Politics is about choices, and just saying something’s free is not enough. Nothing is free – everything has to be paid for somewhere, so I think she was making a really important point…

“Look – on ‘free prescriptions’, on the tuition fees, money is being spent – and it’s either leaving cuts elsewhere or leaving black holes elsewhere – and I think that’s a really important point that people have to understand.”

Salmond may find it harder to dismiss Miliband’s comments as he contemptuosly does Lamont’s.

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10 Responses to “David Miliband: Scotland can’t just “leave the UK on Friday, join the EU on Monday””

  1. Moi

    What this clown does not realise that it is the individual who is a member of the EU….NOT the country. More unionist propaganda, there’s a shock, eh?

  2. Newsbot9

    No, your deception is not shocking. There is no general EU citizenship separate from national citizenship, it depends on the country’s EU membership. This is yet another, separate, issue which would affect Scottish citizens. should you vote for independence.

    Your desperation to avoid the simple facts of the matter…

    (Now, a real issue is that David Miliband has proven he isn’t interested in the left either, with a spot of benefit scrounger bashing language, THAT is of import)

  3. Bill

    One wonders why these politicians keep repeating the lie that prescriptions are ‘free’ in Scotland?
    As in England, prescriptions are paid out of general taxation – the difference in Scotland is that there is no supplementary charge.

  4. Richard Gadsden

    2010 was the second-worst election since 1918, not the worst. 1983 was worse.

  5. Selohesra

    If Scotland could have such easy escape from EU why wouldn’t England have to reapply too? – is it because they like our cash too much to set us free? – Good luck Scotland a lot of us in England would be happy to see you independent – I’m sure we would both get along just fine

  6. matt_heath

    For one thing because there won’t be a state called “England” (unless Wales and Northern Ireland have suddenly vanished).

  7. marge

    if Scotland breaks the Union then the UK ceases to exist and Scotland along with the rest of us are out of the EU. I’m sure they will make allowances in order to keep our contributions however!

  8. Newsbot9

    No, countries names don’t change unless deliberately done…

  9. marge

    if the Union of 1707 is broken by Scottish independence, the UK fails to exist and the remaining countries would need to renegotiate a new country with or without each other and their relationship to the EU. the EU would attempt to allow ‘the rest of the UK’ to stay in but it would be illegal.

  10. Newsbot9

    Complete nonsense. Both domestic and international law are quite clear on this, your denial of the succession of states is pathetic.

    Your radical separatists can’t be honest about anything, it’s sad.

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