Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, a leading figure in the European People’s Party, has said the size of an independent Scotland’s deficit is ‘very, very, very far’ from the EU requirements for member states.
Official SNP Government figures revealed last week that Scotland’s deficit of £12.6billion is 7 per cent of GDP.
Thanks to the pooling and sharing of resources, this does not lead to deeper austerity in Scotland because the UK-wide deficit is now just 1.1 per cent. But the EU requires member states to have a deficit of less than 3 per cent of GDP - meaning an independent Scotland would have to make dramatic public service cuts and significantly raise taxes.
Mr Gonzalez Pons told the Scottish Mail on Sunday: “It’s obvious that the Scottish figures are not those the European Union expects from countries that want to be members.
“The figures are far from the European figures – very, very, very far. It would be a problem.”
He added: “Spain is thinking about what is happening in Catalonia. We will always be against an independent Scotland as a member of the European Union.
“In this moment we will say no to an independent Scotland being a member of the EU.”
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“Whatever you think of Brexit, independence is not the answer.
“An independent Scotland could not join the EU without an incredibly painful process of cuts to schools and hospitals and crippling tax rises over many years.
“Even then, the political situation means there is no guarantee all countries will agree to an independent Scotland’s membership.
“It’s now beyond doubt that Scotland’s best economic future is as part of the UK, with the pooling and sharing of resources worth nearly £2,000 for every single person in Scotland.”
Mr Gonzalez Pons’ comments are in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, p10. See here via Press Reader