Independent Scotland would need to apply for NATO membership, says Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed that an independent Scotland would have to leave the alliance.

“If it happens, then the UK will continue as a member of NATO but a new independent state has to apply for membership and then it is up to 28 allies to decide whether we have a new member.

"All decisions in NATO are taken by consensus, so we need the consensus of all allies.

By leaving the UK it will also be leaving Nato, but of course it is possible to apply for membership and then the allies would then decide whether the independent state would become a member of NATO.”

It is understood that many believe Scotland would likely face the issue of having its entry challenged by Spain which is cautious of encouraging break-away states due to the independence movement in its Catalonia region.

However in light of Spain’s recent statements regarding their acceptance of Scotland’s entry to the European Union, which would also require the unanimous agreement of all member states, this is unlikely to be the case.

Scotland’s territory is too strategically important for it to be excluded from any future alliance systems. A likely scenario for an independent Scotland, as for all the currently independent states in Europe, is membership of both NATO and a separate European security organisation should one come into existence. Which alliance Scotland dedicates the most resources toward will depend on Scotland’s interests at that time; while Scotland will have influence over its military size it will also face pressure to make strong assurances to both.

Sam MacKinnon, Business for Scotland

An independent Scotland would meet most the entry requirements of the alliance however it may not be able to join for many years if approved as the entry process for the alliance is lengthy.

In 2012 the Scottish National Party dropped its longstanding opposition to NATO membership, although its youth wing - Young Scots for Independence - remains opposed to membership of the alliance.

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