EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Scotland cannot expect automatic membership in the European Union if it becomes independent, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso says.
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party and a strong advocate for independence, has said the country would remain in the European Union, The Scotsman reported. But Barroso disagreed in a response to David Martin, a member of the European Parliament representing the Labor Party.
Barroso said a European Commission statement in 2004 that secession invalidates EU membership still stands.
Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said Thursday the country could negotiate with the European Union at the same time that it negotiates terms of independence from the United Kingdom. British officials say Scotland must first declare independence and then negotiate with the union.