Salmond believes independent Scotland will be an EU member
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond has reassured members of the Scottish National Party (SNP) that an independent Scotland would inherit an automatic place in the European Union.
Salmond has come under fire from political rivals, who have accused him of failing to seek legal advice on the subject.
Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has been the First Minister's major critic. Lamont argued that Salmond has “failed to provide a single shred of evidence" that Scotland would receive automatic membership.
Lamont's challenge came after the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said that all new states would be required to apply for membership to the EU. Lamont pointed out that The United Kingdom is currently an existing EU member state, not Scotland.
President Barroso said, "A new state, if it wants to join the EU, has to apply to become a member of the EU, like any state."
Salmond has since countered Barroso's comments, adding that the possibility of continuing European membership for Scotland “will be examined in great detail". He has pledged that a white paper on independence will be published in a year’s time to gain more clarity on the issue.
The First Minister finished, "Everything in that white paper will be fully consistent and informed by the legal advice that we receive."