By a Newsnet reporter

The European Parliament has blocked a Scottish Labour MEP from preparing a report on “the consequences of the secession of the territory of a member state for its membership of the European Union”. 

It is understood that Labour MEP David Martin hoped that the report would provide ammunition for the anti-independence campaign in Scotland, however the report was blocked by other members of the European Parliament’s socialist group who feared that the report would be unlikely to give clear support to the anti-independence case.

Mr Martin believed that the report would suggest that an independent Scotland would have to apply for re-entry into the EU, and intended to use it in next year’s referendum campaign in order to attack pro-independence claims on EU membership.  

However the report was blocked after the president of the European Parliament, German Social Democratic MEP Martin Schulz, and the Austrian MEP Hannes Swoboda, President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the Parliament, ceded to pressures from other members of the Progressive Alliance and refused permission for the Labour MEP to carry out the study.

According to the Catalan newspaper El Punt Avui, the report met with resistance from the Spanish socialist party, the PSOE, which is opposed to Catalan independence.  El Punt Avui claims that leaders of the PSOE’s European group were concerned that going ahead with the report would backfire on the anti-independence campaign in Catalonia as it was unlikely to state unequivocally that Scotland or Catalonia would lose their EU membership. 

The PSOE also feared that the report risked providing the opposite answer to the one sought by Mr Martin and would provide an open door for pro-independence MEPs to seek support from MEPs from other member states.  The report would provoke a debate in the European Parliament which would reveal the extent of support for EU membership for an independent Scotland or Catalonia amongst other EU member states.   

Since the Luxembourgois EU commissioner Viviane Reding admitted last year that there was no EU law which said that Catalonia (or Scotland) would have to leave the EU on attaining independence, Spanish MEPs and diplomats have mounted a furious campaign to pressure European institutions into maintaining silence on the questions of Scottish or Catalan independence.  

The lack of clarity from EU sources on Scottish or Catalan independence has been seized on by the anti-independence campaigns which continue to maintain that there is “uncertainty” over whether an independent Scotland or Catalonia would retain their EU membership.  The Westminster coalition has refused to seek clarification from the European Commission on the membership of a newly independent Scotland.

EL Punt Avui reports that European Commission sources have admitted they have received complaints and “pressures” from the Spanish Partido Popular – the governing party in Madrid – in order to ensure that the EU does not “interfere” in what the PP considers an internal debate.  The PP and the Spanish government are insistent that the EU should not make any public statement about the possibility of Catalan or Scottish independence.   

The PSOE has also acknowledged the Spanish offensive.  However the Spanish European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, himself a PSOE member, has publicly acknowledged that “it is not honest to say bluntly” that an independent Catalonia would be outside the EU, because “the issue is not black or white.”

Speaking to El Punt Avui, Catalan Green MEP Raül Romeva said:

“The PSOE and the PP want independence to remain a taboo subject in Brussels …  They are not sure that the outcome of a report would be contrary to the interests of the Catalans and the Scots, but they certainly know that in any event it would generate a debate in the Chamber of the European Parliament, which would be most important, and they want to avoid that at all costs. “


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2013-08-25 23:14

looks like another great ‘scoop’ for Newsnet. Expect the rest of the Scottish media to pick this story up tomorrow, or maybe they’ll try to ignore another ‘Better Together’ own goal.

At what point do the actions of Labour politicians cross the line and become potentially damaging to their own Scottish constituents and country?
Jo Bloggs
2013-08-26 05:46

A long time ago, springster, a long time ago.

2013-08-25 23:16

So in other words David Martin didn’t get his anti-independence report because some of his “socialist” buddies were too scared that the report wouldn’t give them the anti-independence propaganda they wanted and would likely come back with the opposite view.

Which just goes to confirm that the Project Fear propaganda on the subject Scotland’s EU membership is all smoke and mirrors.
2013-08-26 00:28

you got it!
Will C
2013-08-26 00:34

It looks to me as if every single unionist scare story has been debunked with ease, the problem is the unionist media tell a different story. While I admire and am eternally grateful for the work NNS does, the truth is still failing to reach the vast majority of the population. We need a daily nationalist newspaper to provide an alternative to the unionist lies. If I had the money, I would employ the NNS team full time and produce a daily nationalist tabloid.
P.S. Thanks again to the NNS team, your work recently has been outstanding.
2013-08-26 00:47

Maybe I am reading to much into this but you get the feeling that EU commissioner and not doubt other EU country’s would accept an Independent Scotland to carry on being members of the EU and no doubt Catalonia would be welcomed.

I suspect the EU countries that where bailed out are not very popular in the EU Club and possibly some countries in EU don’t like Westminster and their plans to try and leave the EU plus Westminster’s lack of financial controls in London and the mess that caused.
2013-08-26 01:48

This is a very significant moment. No more brushing under the carpet. I was not aware the European parliament was so ‘au fait’ with Scottish independence and no matter how it is getting attention, this is a truly significant decision.
2013-08-26 06:38

At first glance I was heartened to see a piece which reported the EU actually protecting the independence campaign from slewed and bias attacks, should have read it first shouldn’t I, all they were really doing was saving that labour idiots face, these people really do have an air of entitlement about them, that allows them to use their (and our ) time to rubbish the independence movement while being paid (by us ) this has to stop
2013-08-26 07:16

It is simply unbelievable that the Scottish media continue to suppress/ignore such stories. Such total manipulation of information is an insult to all of us regardless of how you intend to vote. Anyone willing to surrender an open media for victory will consider it a right on other issues – where does this type of control end?
2013-08-26 09:17

Err, is this a ‘glass half full or half empty’ issue? If the report was indeed likely to undermine unionism, shouldn’t we be disappointed it’s been blocked?
I’m all for Unionists scoring as many own goals as they can, bless ’em. I’ve heard a rumour it might be a new sport introduced at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Marga B
2013-08-26 09:56

Congratulations to Newsnet, I see it seems to get some of its European independence information from the Catalan press, which covers the independence issue seriously.

It makes me think of Spain in the days of Franco, when people used to have to go to another country, in this case France, to get uncensored information.
2013-08-26 10:50

I fully agree with Marga B’s comment about having to access news sites other than our Scottish press or BBC in order to find out (uncensored) facts about Scotland, in particular any positive news about the pro-independence campaign. I personally now tune in regularly to the news programmes of Al Jazeera, France TV or Russian TV.

In that latter choice, as someone who grew up in the era of the Cold War, when the old Soviet state controlled all news via Tass, Pravda or Izvestia, what a travesty that I now trust Russian TV news more than our own BBC UK state propaganda outlet, for any information about Scotland’s independence campaign!
2013-08-26 12:07

O/T Purdah date set for Referendum campaign as 21st August 2014
2013-08-26 12:12


In that latter choice, as someone who grew up in the era of the Cold War, when the old Soviet state controlled all news via Tass, Pravda or Izvestia, what a travesty that I now trust Russian TV news more than our own BBC UK state propaganda outlet, for any information about Scotland’s independence campaign!

Like you I do the same it is a shame that we cannot trust our own Press & Media.
2013-08-26 13:24

I have been tuning in to Al Jazeera and for the past 6 months,sometime  s it’s the only way to to find uncensored news about Scotland.
2013-08-26 15:31


According to a poster over on Wings, its being reported that the 4 Unionists on the Referendum Bill Committee (Patricia Ferguson, James Kelly, Annabel Goldie and Tavish Scott) voted against calling on the UK government to follow the same ‘pudah’ rules as the Scottish government in the run up to the referendum next year.

Don’t you just love the Westminster mindset
2013-08-26 16:01

I don’t think they can actually get away with that tbh. I suspect that either Electoral Commission (or by that time possibly the UN) may object.…/CCPR.aspx

Article 1

1. All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. ”

I notice Herald and Scotsman are covering this.

2013-08-26 16:21

gopher3 you are right with that remark the news in scotland is all tainted by lies and misinformation from the home media thats the bbc stv all need a kickup the rear end by our government after the YES vote on 2014
2013-08-26 17:18

I rarely contribute to NNS mostly because it deals with mostly the usual stuff as in pro vs anti indy.I also get my news from RT and Al jazeera. On this occasion I would plead with the editor to include coverage on the mad situation in Syria and the equally mad foreign sec. who is hell bent in taking us into a war we can’t afford and will also affect the referendum. We could be in a very different world before sept. 18 2014. I am very afraid.I hope the YES group are as paranoid as me.

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