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Spain says won’t veto if Scotland tries to join EU

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis attends before the 4th EU-League of Arab States Ministerial meeting between Arab and European foreign ministers, to discuss the Syrian and Iraqi crises, at the Arab League Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

London [U.K.]: Spain has said it would not veto an attempt by an independent Scotland to join the European Union apparently signalling that Brexit has softened Madrid’s longstanding opposition.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis made it clear that the government would not block an independent Scotland’s EU hopes, although he stressed that Madrid would not welcome the disintegration of the U.K., reports The Guardian.

He added that Scotland would have to apply for membership, a process fraught with uncertainty that is likely to take several years. But asked whether Spain would veto an independent Scotland joining the EU, Dastis said, “No, we wouldn’t.”

The European commission spelled out earlier this month that an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the bloc.

This comes as First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon last week won a key vote for a second independence referendum, triggering accusations from British ministers that her demands are premature.

Sturgeon won by a 10-vote majority after the Scottish Greens backed her proposals to formally request from the United Kingdom the powers to stage a fresh independence vote at around the time Britain leaves the European Union (EU), in spring 2019.

Meanwhile, Britain has formally announced its divorce with the EU.

Spain and Britain have already clashed since article 50 was triggered earlier this week over the future of the disputed Gibraltar. The U.K. has said it would stand up for the island’s interests after the territory accused Spain of using Brexit to forward its territorial aims.

U.K. Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, insisted on Friday that Britain remained “implacable and rock-like” in its support. (ANI)