Lessons from an independence trailblazer
Twenty years ago, on 1 January, 1993, Slovakia became an independent country. Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Miroslav Lajcak, has spoken to BBC Scotland about the journey Slovakia has taken since that momentous day.
"When my country was born, many people were sceptical about the chances for us to exist, let alone prosper. Right now, everybody understands and acknowledges that we have been a success story. So the general feeling is that there was a scepticism at the beginning. People were not convinced that the split of Czechoslovakia was the best idea but right now, we are doing very well, the Czech Republic is doing well and our friendship is better than ever."
Asked if Slovaks had any regrets given the specific challenges they faced in the early days as a post-Eastern bloc State and newly independent country, Mr Lajcak said: "Sure. It wasn't easy and that was one of the reasons why Czechoslovakia split, because of the structure of the economy in the Czech Republic and Slovakia was different." But he added: "Right now, Slovakia is doing really well."
The EU is the world’s wealthiest single market, comprising upwards of 500 million consumers. Membership of the EU, and access to the Single Market, provides Scottish firms more businesses to trade with, and more potential customers to sell to. It provides our people with the right to travel, work and study in other EU states.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is challenging the Coalition Government and Westminster opposition to accept the same "common-sense" position on EU membership as that of the Scottish Government.
The No campaign’s newly appointed adviser, Jim Gallagher has claimed that its “likely” that an independent Scotland will be an EU state after “accelerated negotiation”.
by Angus Millar
In a series of interviews published today, senior politicians and academics from Denmark have said that the country would ‘welcome’ an independent Scotland into the European Union, and that the transition process to independent membership of the EU would be a ‘mere formality’ which could ‘happen overnight’.