Warning message to Westminster negotiators ahead of Brexit talks kick-off
ATTEMPTS TO DIVIDE the European Union’s negotiating position on Brexit would lead to a backlash of the EU giving support to the constitutional claims in Scotland and Northern Ireland, according to the European Parliament’s most senior MEP.
Elmar Brok, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, issued the warning over reports of Tory strategy to hope to exploit differences of opinion on Brexit within the EU27 member states.
Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Brok, who is the outgoing chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, said: “The British government tries to divide and rule.
“They believe they can take members of parliament out of certain nations…to win support by dividing us. If they try to negotiate while trying to interfere in our side then we can do that too. We can make a big fuss over Scotland. Or Northern Ireland.”
Reports suggest that the Tories want to gain support from more pro-trade minded states in the hope that this influences the European Commission’s stance on giving Theresa May control over migration rules without any economic cost.
However, the EU Commission and European leaders have been determined to maintain a united front so as not to weaken their negotiating position.
SNP MP John Nicholson, who just returned from a diplomatic visit to Berlin, welcomed that: “Senior German politicians [are] now making it clear that Scotland wouid be fast tracked for EU re-entry following independence.”
He cited further comments from Gunther Krichbaum, EU Committee Chair in the German Parliament, that “Scotland will enjoy the sympathy of Germany in any EU application” as an example of growing support for the application of an independent Scotland.
Additionally. the front-runner in the French elections has made it clear that if he is elected he would hold a tough line with the UK negotiators.
He said: “We would have a tough line, a very hard line because you cannot leave the club and have all the benefits of the club. There can be no doubt and no messing about.”
The possibility that European leaders could take a supportive stance towards Scottish Government calls for a special deal with the EU or a smooth transition for an independent Scotland are backed up by similar statements made by a range of senior German politicians since Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have also help meetings with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, while lead EU Parliament negotiator Guy Verhofstadt supports Scotland’s right to remain in the EU.
Picture courtesy of European Parliament
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