Humza Yousaf discusses his hopes for Scottish independence
Scotland could face waiting almost a decade to rejoin the EU after independence, according to the SNP government’s own officials.
Internal analysis by civil servants states that it may take up to eight years for an independent Scotland to become part of the Brussels club.
Under a best-case scenario, the process would take between three and four years.
It also highlighted external warnings that Scotland would be forced to join the Euro and the Schengen area, which would mean passport checks to travel across the border to England.
And it found over 30 new public bodies would have to be set up to meet membership requirements.
The undated analysis, written before the UK left the EU, said: “The best case scenario for Scotland would involve a total timeline of three to four years and the upper limit could be up to eight years, based on Scotland acceding to the EU from third country status.”
The devolved administration was forced to release the documents by Scottish Information Commissioner Daren Fitzhenry after initially attempting to keep them secret.
The SNP government said the information “does not reflect current government thinking” and that it would be “inaccurate to suggest that any of the details within reflect past or present government policy”.
But Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray said it was a blow to the case for independence.
The Labour frontbencher told The Telegraph: “It’s no wonder the SNP wanted to keep this damning analysis from the public.
“This makes abundantly clear that the SNP’s independence plans would be Brexit on steroids – years of political upheaval and economic harm justified by a vague promise of jam tomorrow.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said some of the advice “pre-dates the pandemic and other significant developments” such as the post-Brexit trade deal.
He added: “To give people the information they need to make an informed choice about Scotland’s constitutional future, ministers will shortly publish a paper setting out how an independent Scotland would re-join the EU, in order to escape the damage of Brexit and enjoy the benefits of being back in the EU as a full, equal member.”
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