Yousaf told EU entry off the table at Brussels event
Humza Yousaf’s independence strategy has hit a major stumbling block after Brussels officials said the EU would not negotiate with any politicians not authorised by the UK government.
The First Minister told SNP supporters on Saturday that he wants an envoy “prepare the ground for Scotland to become an independent member state of the EU”.
However, ahead of a visit to Brussels, to attend a dinner with members of the British Chambers of Commerce, he was told there will be no talks on deals about rejoining the EU.
Mr Yousaf’s meeting with Maros Sefcovic, the vice-president of the European Commission, will be attended by the UK’s most senior diplomat in Brussels, Lindsay Croisdale-Appleby, the UK ambassador to the EU, The Times reports.
This follows an order by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly that discussions between Scottish ministers and overseas officials should not include constitutional affairs which cut across UK foreign policy.
“The EU as such deals only with the official governments of third countries,” a source told The Times. “Of course we welcome the friendship of our Scottish friends and stand ready to engage with all parts of the UK within this new cycle of our relationship.”
The EU regards Scotland as a “region” within the UK state.
Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, recently told the Scottish Affairs Committee in the Commons that foreign officials have expressed “discomfort” when Scottish ministers discuss independence during international visits.