Exclusive: ‘Scottish EU Membership Straightforward and in Denmark’s Interest’

An independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union would be straight-forward and in Denmark’s national interest, according to Danish academics and politicians. In a series of exclusive interviews with National Collective, members of the government, opposition and academics from the University of Copenhagen made it clear that Scotland would be welcome in international organisations. This follows supportive comments from the new Prime Minister of Iceland, who said Iceland would “welcome Scotland with a new thriving relationship” in the event of independence.

Growing interest in Scotland within the Nordic nations is a boost to the campaign for independence, which looks to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as examples of successful independent countries.

Rasmus Helveg Petersen MP, the foreign affairs spokesperson for the Social Liberals – who are part of the Danish government – stated that in the event of independence

Scottish membership of the EU would be a mere formality.”

Jakob Ellemann-Jensen MP, the Venstre Spokesperson on European Affairs and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said

Should Scotland vote for independence it would only be natural for Denmark to acknowledge this independence and to welcome Scotland in both the EU in accordance with the Copenhagen Criteria and also in NATO.”

Venstre are Denmark’s largest parliamentary party.

A source within the Danish government – when questioned on Scottish independence – stated that “we are following this with great interest”, yet did not wish to be drawn on further statements at this time.

Professor Lars Bo Kaspersen, Head Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, said that

Scottish EU membership would be in the Danish interest. I think it could be a fairly quick transition. I’m sure that the European Union in general would strongly support Scottish membership and the same goes for NATO. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t think it was a good idea.”

This view was backed up by Professor Mikel Rasmussen.

Scottish legislation is suitable for membership equal to that of the United Kingdom. When it comes to NATO and the EU, if Scotland wants it, it would not be in anyone’s interest to not let them in. If Croatia can be part of the EU of course Scotland can be. I find questions over membership to be a non-issue.”

These views contrast sharply with the doom-laden pronouncements of Westminster politicians who claim that an independent Scotland would be isolated and frustrated by barriers to EU and NATO membership.

The Copenhagen Criteria set down the requirements for EU membership. Rasmus Petersen MP, when asked whether this process would be prolonged or clear for Scotland, replied

It would be very clear. In the case that Norway wanted to become a member of the EU, for instance, it could happen overnight.”

When asked whether Scotland could become a member “overnight” Petersen stated

If Scotland wants it, yes. It would be a mere formality.”

There was also great interest in Denmark in developing closer cooperation with Scotland within the Nordic Council and the Arctic region. Søren Espersen, the deputy leader of the DPP, said that

There’s lots of opportunities. We are so close to each other in so many ways. There will immediately be a close connection. I know that the Danish government will accept straight away that Scotland could be a member of the Nordic Council.”

The Arctic region is of growing significance to environmental policy makers. It was highlighted as a weak-point within the UK Strategic Defence Review.

The Scottish government are following Nordic development with great interest, as they consider how an independent Scotland’s can strengthen relationships with its neighbours. A number of projects – such as Nordic Horizons and Common Weal – also seek to translate the success of Nordic models to Scotland. They argue that Scotland can be a more prosperous and equal country, while providing a just contribution to global affairs.

For further details contact [email protected]

Michael Gray
National Collective


About Michael Gray

Michael studies politics at the University of Glasgow. He admires creativity, optimism and education. He desires peace, social justice and good parties.

There are 17 comments

  1. DougDaniel

    This is quite a scoop, Mr Gray! I see the Herald have even picked up your article.

    The academics saying it would not be in anyone’s interests to stop Scotland being in the EU and NATO etc hit the nail on the head, and it’s exactly what most of us in the pro-indy camp have been saying – it’s not a question of processes etc, it’s a question of: is there a will for Scotland to be in these organisations? That’s all that really matters.

    The comment about Norway being able to join “overnight” is especially interesting, and highlights the fallacy of getting obsessed with whether we’d be continuing members or new members. The Copenhagen Criteria is the important thing, and we already meet it fully. Any delay in membership would be entirely artificial.

  2. Tony Little

    Nice article. I am in pre-mod on the Herald which makes any sort of discussion there [email protected]@dy irritating, but never mind. The ONLY issue for the EU and/or NATO is the POLITICS of the situation. There is no practical or conceivable reason for either organisation wanting to keep Scotland out (should the Scots want to remain in, that is) so it will happen. There will be ‘discussions’ of course, particularly over the opt-out and contribution etc. but it will happen relatively easily.

    Greta work – please keep it up 😉

  3. Wayne Brown

    Well done Michael. This is the antidote to the BBC touring Europe looking for NO material.

    I find it interesting as well that a story like this, which has been quoted in the Herald today, has only two comments – whereas across on Wings Over Scotland, there are numerous comments on, sometimes, fairly trivial articles.

    I hope this isn’t an indication that very few people read National Collective articles – maybe we could have some numbers.

    1. National Collective

      Hey Wayne, thanks for your comments.

      We had over 80,000 visitors last month and this article has been shared on social media over 1,000 times. That’s equal, if not more, than amount of sharing you would find on an independence article on a mainstream media website.

      In the last week we reached over 200,000 people on Facebook alone.

    2. jdmank

      ” whereas across on Wings Over Scotland, there are numerous comments on, sometimes, fairly trivial articles.”

      I feel that comment although I sure not meant, is a bit demeaning to the crowd (of which I am one) on wingsover,

      we have somewhere over a year to go before the most important vote any have had or will have in our lives, we cant live on an unremitting diet of claim and counter claim , we NEED light relief and the banter on rev stu’s site is a great antidote for the drivel we have to plough through and rebut on a daily basis, the other day I spent an hour laughing my self silly at the comments and some of my own responses ( I’m my biggest fan),

      now how many better together websites do you know that they can have a real belly laugh?

      but when it comes to rev stu’s enlightened and laser like ability to get to the very heart of an issue there is serious and (at times) heated debate, I love National Collective for some wonderful articles that are almost spiritual in their intensity,
      but the very essence of the (so far) success of the yes campaign is it’s diversity and and inclusivity of all of the sites be they wings over Scotland, Bella Caledonia, National collective and all the others,

      nowhere does one feel unable to voice his/her opinion, no matter how difficult some of us find it to do,
      so rather than belittle other sites who do not meet your expectations but celebrate the fact that all people have a site that reflects their outlook whether it be laughter, in depth analysis, incisive comment, or just a place to bitch at each other,
      in that diversity is the key to the result next year.

      1. Wayne Brown

        Hi JD

        You will note from my last sentence above that my concern was that quality articles of opinion/investigation on NC may not be as widely read as they deserve to be. This concern has been suitably allayed by the info supplied by NC.

        A pity about the Wings bit – my point would have been made and answered without it. I don’t go in for belittling or insulting people and, as far as I can see, it was simply a true statement – there are far more comments on Wings than here, including on articles that are (in my opinion) fairly trivial. But, as you observe, some of the Rev’s better contributions to the debate fairly stir things up.

        For what it’s worth I have observed on other comment boards that if you can’t have a laugh with your politics, you might as well give up.

        Unfortunately I can’t think of any good lines right now – so I’ll have to make do with a smily face 🙂

        1. jdmank

          I was completely sure your comment wasn’t meant in a disparaging way Wayne and thanks for the response, you however have a point, the editorials and blogs on national collective are of a quality that DOES deserve a higher profile, so I for one intend to visit more often and leave replied but of course the silent majority who visit but make no comments are still measured and as was stated they do (happily) indeed have a healthy readership. again Wayne thanks for such a nice response.

  4. nick jardine

    Nice article Mr Gray. When a degree of moderation, calmness and common sense is applied to the argument we see that there really are no barriers to an independent Scotland being welcomed into various international organisations.

    What I find most disappointing is the argument has become so polarised, mainly due to the horrendous media scare stories, that it’s a battle between Yes and No regarding the EU. The sensible debate would be based on the question of ‘ What kind of relationship do we wish to have with the EU ?’

  5. rod mac

    Well done Mr Gray ,yet again National Collective leading the debate while some follow and others attempt to destroy .
    Truth will out!!

  6. ianbeag

    Congratulations on a great initiative and a great result. I wonder how many such positive and supportive comments towards an independent Scotland were harvested by Glenn Campbell when he went on his negative safari and then quietly filed away?

  7. MargaBB

    Hi, Michael, great article – as you can imagine it is starting to hit the Catalan press too, where I saw this reference, and everyone is delighted.

    It’s common sense, Catalonia and Scotland are already IN the EU, so why would they want the terrible trauma of kicking us out?

    1. no_war

      Be sure… Spain governement will try to avoid the Referendum in Catalonia, using any measure pressure and threats they can think of.

      Spain is not a very clear democracy, the people managing the country are the descendants of genocidal Franco

  8. Tudor_Barnard

    This is encouraging. CUrrently the Nordic countries do not see Scotland because as political units they have to go through Westminster. A good reason for independence. However one should be aware that the Nordic Council is currently navel-gazing to try to develop their activities and it may take time for Scotland to become an issue.

  9. Sean MacDonald

    Being a MacDonald of Hebridean stock, our historical connections with the Scandinavians hardly comes as a surprise to me. I know I, for example, carry a genetic legacy (most likely) from that particular period – I do hope that legacy in my own personal circumstances came about as part of a mutually agreed partnership but it’s hardly relevant all these hundred’s of years later.

    Scotland (as well as Ireland) was once a land with two sizeable Scandinavian diasporas – if I might borrow the Irish terms for them, the ‘black’ vikings (Dubh-Gaill) and the ‘white’ vikings (Finn-Gaill) i.e. Norse and Danes.

    The Gaelicised (did I just make that word up?) Pictish King, Constantine II of the House of Alpin, finally united the disparate peoples (Gaels, Vikings, Picts, Britons and Angles) under the Albannach banner – Kenneth did not despite often being cited as the first King of Scots. Simply take a look at a map of Scotland before Constantine and Donald were able to wrestle back control of Pictland from Giric and embark on their unification project to see how recently Scotland was almost as much Scandinavian as it was Celtic. Incidentally, the last major battle involving the Vikings was fought in Scotland.
    I sometimes wonder how differently things might have turned out had my own forebears made a serious attempt to drive the Norman pretenders out of power instead of bringing about their own downfall. With the Black(!) Douglas’s also eliminated, the introduction of Norman style feudalism was allowed to spread into those parts of Scotland where it had hitherto failed to reach, under the careful management of the Stuarts (Stewards). That feudal system eventually allowed the Chief’s to stake ownership to land that, in fact, had always belonged to the clans as a whole; the Chief’s themselves being nothing more than Stewards themselves. Ironic that it was MacDonald resistance to unfettered Stuart dominance that eventually led to them forgetting what Chief’s were there to do in the first place, namely to steward the ‘family’.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to argue that Scotland’s political, geographical, and genetic links with Scandinavia are equally as strong, if not stronger, than those with the Norman/Saxon kingdoms. Whether our similar outlooks on how government should be exercised today are based on any of those factors I couldn’t possibly say but, intuitively as someone who’s spent a great deal of time living in both Scotland and Scandinavia, it’s a phenomenon that continues to strike me as too unlikely to be a coincidence.

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