SPAIN has flat out rejected the Scottish government’s proposal to allow the nation to remain in the European single market through a bespoke Brexit deal differentiating it from England.
Jorge Toledo, Spanish Secretary of State for the EU has intervened to nip Nicola Sturgeon’s blueprint in the bud, declaring that Madrid would only acknowledge one Brexit deal for the UK as a whole.
“If the UK leaves the single market, the whole UK will leave the single market. There is only one negotiator, the UK government.” said Toledo when asked about Sturgeon’s plan.
Spain wields veto power over any future Brexit deal, as do all of other 27 EU member states, making Toledo’s statement a seemingly fatal blow to the First Minister’s plans, revealed at a press conference on December 20.
Sturgeon had argued that if Scotland joined the European Free Trade Association and European Economic Zone on its own, then it could later gain access to the single market, which would see businesses north of the border relatively unaffected by Brexit.
By the same token she called for greater control over Scottish borders and immigration to allow more EU workers into the country.
That Spain would reject the proposal out of hand is no surprise. Prime minister Rajoy has frequently expressed his opposition to treating Scotland as a separate entity in any form.
Spain’s Catalan question is fast becoming a poisonous national issue and Madrid fears that any overtures to Scotland, independent or not, would be held as an example and used as precedent by Catalonian separatists.