Divided Britain: Scotland tells EU it wants to stay

SansadTV Bureau
 British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. EU heads of state and government meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels for the first time since  Britain voted to leave the European Union, throwing British and European politics into disarray. Photo-PTI

British Prime Minister David Cameron, right, speaks with French President Francois Hollande during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. EU heads of state and government meet Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels for the first time since
Britain voted to leave the European Union, throwing British and European politics into disarray.
Photo-PTI

On day two of the European Union summit in Brussels, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met European Parliament President Martin Schulz and informed him of Scotland’s intent of remaining with the group despite last week’s British vote to quit the bloc.

“We are at an early, very early stage of this process and I’ll set out very clearly Scotland’s desire to protect her relationship with the European Union. I don’t want to underestimate the challenges that lie ahead for us in seeking to find a path, this is very much an initial meeting of a series of meetings in Brussels today so that people understand that Scotland, unlike other parts of the United Kingdom, does not want to leave the European Union,” said Sturgeon after a short-notice visit to Brussels on Wednesday.

To this, Schulz said he had “listened and learned”.

The pro-independence Scottish leader will also meet the head of the EU executive, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Interestingly, even as the Scots vehemently revived their call for independence post Brexit, Britain’s Conservation leader and Prime Ministerial contender Stephen Crabb voiced his concern about the future of a divided United Kingdom.

“…I really worry about the future of our divided United Kingdom. A United Kingdom without Scotland is not a United Kingdom. A Great Britain without Scotland is not Great Britain. And, of course, there’s the question of Northern Ireland. And, I think back to all the conversations that I’ve had with all the people all over the country in recent years about Europe and about immigration.

And, I just can’t ignore the fact that what has struck me the most is that the poorer the community or neighbourhood, the more angry people have felt about these issues and the more likely they were to vote leave. And, I think about this and I worry about our divided society and about the breakdown in trust among those who are really struggling at this time and who look at us all in Westminster and they see nothing to believe.”

On the second day of the EU summit, European leaders met for the first time in 40 years without Britain to prepare for life after the Brexit.

On day one of the summit, Cameron won some breathing space from the remaining 27 leaders of the bloc.

EU President Donald Tusk said he understood that time was needed “for the dust to settle” before the next steps can be taken.

However, Juncker warned Britain did not have “months to meditate” before triggering Article 50 — the EU treaty clause that begins the two-year withdrawal process — after Cameron’s successor takes office in early September.

And German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that London could not “cherry-pick” the terms of the exit negotiations.

Last Friday, Britain rocked financial markets by voting 52 to 48 percent to leave the bloc. And since then trillions of dollars have been wiped off world markets.

British politics too saw a few shockwaves. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour party, vowed to fight on despite losing a crushing no-confidence vote among his party’s lawmakers.

Thousands of people took to the streets of London, which voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU, to protest against the referendum result, waving EU flags and placards saying: “Stop Brexit”

(With inputs from agencies)