Sturgeon insists Scots pound remains live option
Nicola Sturgeon has rejected claims from Brussels that an independent Scotland would be forced to join the euro in order to enter the EU.
The Scottish government last week published a paper stating that Scotland aimed to continue using the British pound before introducing a Scottish pound and rejoining the EU.
This is despite a long belief among some economists that accepting the euro would be the price of admission to the bloc, a view reinforced this week by sources close to the EU.
But the First Minister yesterday said a number of EU member states continued to use their own currency and even former UK Prime Minister David Cameron did not see the euro as mandatory.
She was responding during a parliamentary debate to Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, who asked: “Who’s lying to the Scottish people, the European Union or Nicola Sturgeon?”
Ms Sturgeon said: “Many countries in the European Union still use their own currency.
“Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden — a member state since 1995 still uses its own currency.”
All of those countries have signed up to adopt the euro at some point, although there is no timetable to do so. EU rules state: “All EU member states, except Denmark, are required to adopt the euro and join the euro area.”
In comments after the debate, Mr Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon has been pretending that her plan to break up the United Kingdom would mean that Scotland rejoins the EU. But that’s not true.
“Her plan is actually to break Scotland away from by far our biggest trading partner, the United Kingdom, with nothing to show for it, in the middle of a global inflation and cost-of-living crisis.
“The SNP leader wants to bring in a hard border, risk 500,000 Scottish jobs that depend on UK trade and abandon the pound.
“She wants to do all that next year, without having any plan to pay for pensions, tackle the deficit or secure people’s mortgages.”
Sarah Boyack, Scottish Labour’s constitution spokeswoman, said that Sturgeon’s economic plans “were in tatters” following the EU intervention.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s farcical economic plans are in tatters and these damning comments create fresh doubts – but she has her fingers in her ears,” she said.
“The SNP seem to think they know more about economics than the economists and more about EU members than the EU.
“They are asking Scots to gamble their livelihoods without any real plans beyond dishonest promises, wishful thinking and fantasy economics.
“It’s rank hypocrisy for the Tories to lecture anyone on economic stability, but the truth is the SNP are offering more of the same.
“Instead of inviting more turmoil and division, we can deliver the change we need with a Labour government.”