Legal and practical reasons as well as simple common sense dictate that an independent Scotland will remain part of the European Union, Yes Scotland Chief Executive Blair Jenkins said today.
"If the people of Scotland wish to remain in the EU, it is inconceivable that they would be forced to leave or that there would be any circumstances in which the EU would not want Scotland to be a member," he said.
Mr Jenkins said that a Yes vote in the referendum would lead to a period of negotiation with the UK and EU before Scotland became independent. Independence will not happen on the day after the referendum, but the Scottish Government has said that the next Scottish elections in 2016 will be the first to an independent parliament.
"Between the referendum and Independence Day, Scotland will still be part of the UK and part of the EU and will negotiate the terms of membership of the European Union from within the EU. As we have repeatedly said, at no point will Scotland cease to be part of the EU.
"This has been confirmed by a range of expert opinion. Graham Avery, who worked for 40 years as a senior official in Whitehall and Brussels, and took part in successive negotiations for EU enlargement, makes the crucial point that Scotland has been in the EU for some 40 years and the people of Scotland have acquired rights as European citizens."
Mr Jenkins said that the No campaign’s assertion that Scotland would be kicked out of the EU was senseless, and has not been supported by the latest comments from Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.
"Mr Barroso’s comments are carefully phrased, because he knows that suggestions Scotland would be kicked out of the EU don’t make sense. Think what this would mean, not for Scotland but for other countries across the EU. Nations such as Spain would lose access to Scottish fisheries waters – this would have a decimating effect on the Spanish fishing industry.
"It would mean that every EU student in Scotland would either have to leave their university course or start paying fees as international students – is anyone credibly suggesting that this would be allowed to happen, given the cost and disruption thousands of families across the EU would face?"
"The EU would lose a net contributor – resulting in budget cuts for key programmes in other Member States.
"Every existing EU programme from structural funds to the Common Agricultural Policy would have to be re-written; and tens of thousands of EU nationals living in Scotland would lose important rights.
"No EU nation is going to want this to happen or is going to let this happen. That is why an independent Scotland will remain within the EU."
The latest controversy follows reports that Prime Minister David Cameron is now ready to call a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU. He is said to personally favour a looser relationship with Brussels. However, it is reported he is willing to give voters the opportunity to say “no” to such a deal which would effectively be seen as move to quit the EU.
Mr Jenkins said it was clear that the biggest threat to Scotland’s continuing EU membership came from the Westminster government.