Nicola Sturgeon grilled by host over UK currency union
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Alyn Smith, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson, claimed if Scotland votes to separate itself from the UK and rejoin the EU, it would be up to the Scottish public to decide whether they would adopt the euro.
When asked whether Scotland would accept the euro currency in order to rejoin the bloc, Mr Smith said: “Yeah, totally. The commitment is to participate in the economic and monetary union.
“The euro is only part of that.
“We would want to participate in economic and monetary union for macroeconomic stability.
“The adoption of the euro, I think is a democratic question that should be put to the people of Scotland in a referendum, same as Sweden did.
“The irony, of course, right now is that our public debt levels would be far too high to join the euro so we wouldn’t be eligible, though everybody else’s public debt levels are too high to join the euro anyway.”
He went on to say how the commitment to join the euro has worked in Ireland and other countries and said there are “a lot of advantages”.
Mr Smith told la Repubblica: “The commitment to join the euro? It works for Ireland.
“It works for a lot of other countries.
“I think there’s a lot of advantages to that which we would take on their merits, but it would need to be a referendum.
“But in terms of the negotiations, that’s not a problem for us.”
However, his comments sparked confusion within his own party with the SNP reaffirming an independent Scotland would “keep the pound”.
A spokesperson for the SNP said: “An independent Scotland will keep the pound and move to our own Scottish currency when it is practicable to do so.
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“No EU country can be forced to join the euro.
“The decision on when to apply for membership of the eurozone rests with the member state.
“This is self-evidently the case – eight of the 28 EU member states do not currently use the euro.
“Poland, for example, which joined the EU back in 2004 has not yet done so.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said Scotland would wish to retain the pound immediately after independence.
Mr Smith’s claims were attacked by opposition parties who argued the SNP are “stunningly out of touch”.
Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory finance spokesperson, said: “This is stunningly out of touch.
“First the SNP would divide us with another independence referendum and then they would have us ditch our internationally-respected currency.
“Throwing away the pound, especially in the middle of an economic crisis, would be devastating for Scottish jobs.”
Scotland will go to the polls on May 6.
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