PRINCESS Leonor of Asturias will help present the awards named after her – Spain's national 'Nobel' prizes – for this first time this year at the October ceremony, just before she turns 14. The heir to...
Spanish Consul in Edinburgh fired over 'independent Scotland' letter
THE Spanish Consul in Edinburgh has been struck off after publicly stating that his home country 'would not veto' an independent Scotland's joining the European Union.
Miguel Ángel Vecino (pictured) was 'acting outside his jurisdiction' when he wrote to The Herald in response to MEP Esteban González Pons, of the right-wing PP, who had said his party would veto any attempt by Scotland to leapfrog to pole position in its bid to become an EU member State if it voted to become a separate country as a result of Brexit.
González Pons stated, in his Herald article, that Scotland would have to 'join the back of the queue behind Turkey and Serbia' if it wanted to attempt to become a part of the EU after severing ties with the UK.
Vecino wrote to The Herald insisting that González Pons' view 'in no way represented' the position of the Spanish government, that the country's foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell had 'recently declared Spain would not block Scotland's entry to the EU 'if its independence had been acquired legally', and that this 'had always been the intention of Spain's government'.
He added that Spain had 'never intervened and never would intervene' in 'home issues' in the UK 'or in any other EU member State', and that he would 'hope for a reciprocal attitude'.
“Entering the EU does not depend at all on waiting in a queue, like waiting your turn in a shop,” Vecino's letter said.
“It depends upon whether a State meets the economic and political conditions required by the Treaties.”
Scotland's independence issue has long been a sore point for Spain, given that the north-eastern region of Catalunya has similar pretensions – but in Catalunya's case, the national Constitution prohibits any action which could lead to the fragmentation of the country, a clause which the government and the Constitutional Court have interpreted to mean that any attempt at declaring independence, including a referendum or even a non-binding public opinion poll, would be in breach of the Magna Carta.
Vecino, therefore, included the caveat of Scotland's independence being 'acquired legally' as Spain's condition of not standing in the way of its EU membership.
The first 'IndyRef', in which a narrow majority opted to stay in the UK – largely because of the threat of its EU membership automatically being terminated if it did not – was 'legal' because the British government, under prime minister David Cameron, sanctioned it, but it is not clear whether this same support would be granted in the event of a hypothetical 'IndyRef2'.
Vecino's letter to The Herald was reprinted by The National, a pro-independence Scots newspaper, on the basis that by then, it was considered 'public information'.
A spokesperson for Borrell's department said Vecino's actions 'did not correspond with those of a Consul' and 'even less so without prior consultation' with the Spanish Ambassador in London and with the General Directorate of Media Communications and Diplomatic Information at the ministry of foreign affairs, whose role it was to 'make public declarations of a political nature'.
Vecino, a career diplomat, has been in the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh since October, but his sacking was communicated to him on Thursday when the letter was published and the news of his termination announced publicly on Saturday.
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