• Reuters


An independent Scotland would be a more constructive member of the European Union than a reluctant Britain, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Monday.

He believed EU members would welcome an “enthusiastic” Scotland into the bloc should it vote to end the 307-year-old union with England in a referendum on Sept. 18, he said.

Remaining part of the EU is fundamental to the nationalists’ vision of an economically viable independent Scotland. However, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said Scotland would have to reapply to the EU as a new state.

Salmond said that while Scotland wants to stay part of the EU, British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to renegotiate ties with the EU and hold a referendum on its membership if his Conservatives win a general election next year.

“The difference in Westminster is that there is lots and lots of people who see the abolition of Europe, drifting off into the mid-Atlantic, as a viable option,” Salmond said in an interview. “The real threat to Scotland in Europe is not from an independent Scotland. It’s from the in-out referendum that Westminster are proposing.”

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