Spanish acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, soon to move to the European Parliament, has fired the Spanish consul general to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England, Miguel Ángel Vecino. This follows reporting in a Scottish newspaper of comments he had made in a letter in April, according to El Confidencial. Vecino was called yesterday by the ministry informing of the decision.
"Spain: We won't veto Scotland joining [the] EU", was The National headline on its front page on Wednesday. The report was based on a letter Vecino had written to The Herald on 16th April, copied to the Scottish government, which The National acquired a copy of through a freedom of information request.
The letter said that it "has always been the intention of the Spanish Government" to not block Scotland joining the EU "if independence is legally achieved". It continued: "The Spanish Government has not and never will intervene in the internal affairs of the United Kingdom or any other state and expects the same reciprocal attitude [sic]".
Front page exclusive: The lie of the “Spanish veto” busted for good. Leak hits back at media misinformation – says Spain WON’T block Scottish EU membership, that has always been their position, and also makes clear “there is no queue” for an independent Scotland to join. pic.twitter.com/qQV78NrhK5— The National (@ScotNational) 5 de juny de 2019
This was contrary to the public impression given by the Spanish government. Indeed, Vecino was responding to comments made by a Spanish MEP, Esteban González Pons (PP), that if an independent Scotland tried to directly join the EU before Brexit, Spain would veto it, and that if it tried to join afterwards, it would be at the back of the queue. Spanish unionist politicians are concerned that a positive attitude to a potentially independent Scotland joining the EU could cause them problems in Catalonia.