2, February 2020
The former president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has energized the Scottish independence movement by claiming he feels “empathy” for an “independent” Scotland “joining” the European Union (EU).
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Tusks said he feels “very Scottish, especially after Brexit”.
His remarks have been interpreted as provocative by the British government, which is trying hard to suppress the Scottish independence movement.
Speaking to the same programme (Andrew Marr Show), British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, described Tusk’s comments as “rather un-European and rather irresponsible”.
Raab further claimed that the comments could touch off “separatist tendencies” in the EU.
“I’m not sure European leaders, let alone here in the UK, would actually welcome that [Tusk’s] comment”, Raab added.
Despite his clear enthusiasm for Scottish independence – and by extension Scottish membership of the EU – Tusk was careful to add that Scotland would not be automatically accepted into the European Union.
According to Tusk, “formalities” and “treaty agreements” had to be fully considered before an independent Scotland could gain EU membership.
Tusk’s intervention is a shot in the arm to the Scottish independence movement which in recent weeks has slightly lost momentum due to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s steadfast refusal to allow a Scottish independence referendum later this year.
In the June 2016 Brexit referendum, 62 percent of Scots opted to remain within the EU and only 38 percent voted to leave the block. By stark contrast, 53.4 percent of English voters opted to leave the EU.