The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has poured cold water on Scottish hopes of staying in the European Union without leaving the United Kingdom.
“The United Kingdom leaves and with it all those who make up the United Kingdom,” Rajoy said on Wednesday after meeting with other European leaders in Brussels.
I want to be very clear — Scotland does not have the competence to negotiate with the European Union.
Rajoy, a Spanish nationalist, worries about setting a precedent that would encourage the independence movement in Catalonia.
By all accounts, Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon received a sympathetic hearing in Brussels today, especially from leaders in the European Parliament. But it are the national governments, in the European Council, who decide which countries can join.
Spain, for one, is not going to stand for plans that would allow Scotland and possibly other parts of the United Kingdom that voted last week to remain in the European Union — like Gibraltar, which the Spanish are eying — to claim successor status while England and Wales depart.