A former Danish minister has given her support to an independent Scotland rejoining the EU.
Lykke Friis, climate, energy, and gender equality minister between 2009 and 2011 and now head of thinktank EUROPA, also advised Scotland to formulate strong alliances with other northern European countries, including Scandinavian and Baltic countries.
She suggested Scotland join the Nordic Council – whose members include Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland – to increase its influence in the region and on Europe.
Asked during a podcast appearance how the Danish government would react to an independent Scotland requesting to join the EU, Friss said though it might be politically difficult, it would be warmly welcomed.
“From the public opinion point of view that would be popular,” she said.
She added: “Scotland is also sometimes seen as a northern country, you could strike an alliance to that.”
Pressed on what advice she would give to Scotland as a new member state in the EU in ten years, Friis said: “I would say it should join the Northern Council because that would give you the legitimacy of being a northern European country and that sort of co-operation … is an informal one between the northern countries, Sweden, Finland, Norway and so forth.”
Friis is the second senior European figures to speak in favour of an independent Scotland rejoining the EU.
Last week Greek MEP Maria Spyraki said Scotland will always have a place in the EU after leaving the Union – and would have an easier accession route than some states in southern Europe.
“If Scotland decides eventually to come to our side of the EU, in spite of consequences for the whole of the United Kingdom, we shall be here to welcome Scotland,” said Spyraki.
Referring to the former MEP and now MP Alyn Smith’s request to Brussels to “leave the light on for Scotland”, she added: “As my colleague who left the European parliament along with other colleagues of mine in a very touching moment, we shall never leave Scotland alone because Scotland has greatly contributed to what [the] EU is today.”
Friis also said Scotland should not be allowed to “jump the queue” of EU membership out of fears of how such a move might be perceived by nations that have already applied, such as Montenegro.
She said: “I would say from having studied enlargement for quite some years, I think it’s going to be difficult. You could say ‘jumping the queue’ to use that expression. I’m rather certain south-east Europe are already very disappointed with the European Union.”
However, she went on to say that political factors in negotiations were important and that Denmark was a “flexible” nation.