Indyref2: Muldoon discusses Sturgeon's comments on NATO
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Sylvie Bermann was France’s top diplomat in Britain during the Brexit vote. She was ambassador to China before the UK and went from London to Moscow in the same leading role.
Ms Bermann was less than one month into the job of ambassador to the UK when Scotland held its independence referendum in August 2014.
On how the EU would react to an independent Scotland, she told The Herald: “We’ll welcome it.
“It was more difficult during the referendum on independence because of the reaction of Spain.
“So at that time maybe it wouldn’t have been so popular, but I think the situation has changed because there’s been Brexit.”
An independence referendum was held in October 2017 in Catalonia, but declared illegal by a Spanish court.
Ms Bermann continued: “Probably there would be some negotiation, but [Scotland joining the EU] would be good for Europe.
“There’s no reason why if there’s this referendum which is accepted that we shouldn’t want to have Scotland – we’ll be very happy.
“The problem – but it’s [Scotland’s] problem not the problem of the EU – is the pound versus the euro.
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“The euro isn’t an obligation, of course, but if you keep the pound, what’s your relationship with the UK?
“That may put pressure on Scotland. It’s the main problem.”
The currency issue could be a major stumbling block should Scotland gain independence.
Countries which want to adopt the euro have to demonstrate that they have a stable currency.
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However, Scotland would have no evidence of its own currency and economic stability as an independent country.
If Scotland were to adopt the euro, monetary policy would be decided by the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and not by Holyrood.
The SNP has suggested they would keep the pound in Scotland after independence, but that would mean they are still subject to the interest rates, exchange rates and other monetary policies set by the Bank of England.
Ms Bermann described Scottish independence as a Sword of Damacles for the British, adding: “It could happen. I don’t know. I understand it’s 50-50 now, so it’s impossible to organise a referendum in those circumstances, and you can’t lose a new referendum.”
The latest ComRes poll shows 45 percent would vote in favour of Scottish independence with 47 percent voting no and seven percent who do not know how they would vote.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in February that Scottish indpendence is “just not going to happen”.
The PM added that it would be “an economic disaster” to split up the UK.
However, the SNP included a pledge to hold an independence referendum in its 2021 manifesto.
That election saw the SNP win more than double the number of seats of the second placed Scottish Conservative party.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in an op-ed in The National published on Sunday, said: “Last year, the people of Scotland determined that they want a say on Scotland’s constitutional future.
“We are committed to offering that choice, and ensuring that it will be a fully informed one.”
She continued: “With the nation-building we have been undertaking in government, Scotland is more ready than ever to transition to independence and take its place among the family of independent nations.”
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