A senior Spanish politician has once again raised the prospect of vetoing Scottish membership of the European Union.

Conservative Esteban González Pons on Monday said his centre-right Partido Popular (PP) would block any application from an independent Scotland if the UK was still negotiating its own exit from the bloc.

And - countering widely held views elsewhere in Europe - he said that even if Scotland waited till after Brexit, it would have to wait in a queue behind Turkey and Serbia.

His remarks, made ahead of a general election later this month, mark the latest twist in the PP’s vacillating attitude to Scotland the EU.

They come after a series of far more welcoming statements by other EU politicians, including Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt.

BACKGROUND FROM 2017: Spain boosts Sturgeon's second independence referendum bid

They also follow assurances from Spanish politicians, including PP when in office, that they would not veto an independent Scotland joining the EU provided sovereignty had been re-established by constitutional means. Visiting Spain’s North African exclave of Melilla, Mr González Pons said the PP “would veto an independent Scotland from directly entering EU before Brexit.”

BACKGROUND FROM 2012: Spain: we wouldn't block Scotland's bid to join EU

The MEP appeared to be reacting to a widely shared but three-year-old video of Belgian Liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt suggesting a seamless re-entry in to the EU for an independent Scotland.

Mr González said: “Holding another referendum on independence at the same time as we are negotiating Brexit would even further complicate the UK’s internal politics.”

“Whatever happens - and I hope that its independence never happens - Scotland will have to get in line, behind Turkey and behind Serbia, to end up as an EU state.

“There is nothing automatic about Scotland getting in to the EU, however independent it may be.”


Guy Verhofstadt

The PP is the biggest party in the current parliament but has lost power to the socialists. It is on track to lose seats but could return to power with the backing of ultra-unionist Ciudadanos and the newly popular far-right Vox, both of which share the PP’s hostility to Catalan independence.

EU leaders have sounded less hostile to Scottish independence since the Brexit vote in 2016. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously signalled she would make a call on a second referendum as soon as clarity emerged on Brexit.