Latvia’s foreign minister says an independent Scotland would have to apply for EU membership as a new state.
“All the chapters of negotiations” would have to be opened, although the process could be “much quicker” than that for other new members given Scotland already complies with EU regulations, Edgar Rinkevics said.
Latvia is due to take over the presidency of the EU in 2015, and Mr Rinkevics said his country will “probably have to deal with this issue” if Scotland votes yes in the 2014 referendum.
Areas such as joining the euro and the Schengen free area of travel would be discussed and negotiated.
“We consider that if Scotland declares independence, it is a new country which I believe would naturally become a member of the UN, member of the different other regional organisations and most probably a member of the European Union,” Mr Rinkevics said in an interview with BBC Scotland.
“But in that case we would see it as a process of admitting new members into the European Union.”
Legal opinion is needed on whether the rest of the UK would automatically inherit the UK’s current EU membership, the minister went on to say.
“I understand that the commission and also colleagues from EU legal services are considering that. I think we need solid legal opinion on this,” he said.
Mr Rinkevics is the latest European politician to give his view on Scotland’s place in the EU if it becomes independent.
Ireland’s minister for European affairs, Lucinda Creighton, said: “I think it is clear that a newly independent state would have to (and would have the right to and indeed should) negotiate the terms of membership, as they would undoubtedly be somewhat different to the existing terms.”
According to Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Scotland would have to apply for EU membership, while Slovakia’s deputy prime minister, Miroslav Lajcak, said it is unclear if an independent Scotland would remain in the EU.