Foreign Ministry clarifies Asselborn's Scottish independence comment

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister has backtracked on a comment about Scotland's independence which was quoted in the British media, saying it was misinterpreted.

The BBC today quoted Mr Asselborn on the subject of Scotland's proposed separation from the UK, saying: “As we are all facing serious economic and social challenges , this is a time for solidarity between Member States of the EU and within Member States, rather than for going separate ways.”

The article appeared to suggest that Luxembourg was the only country outside of the UK to have expressed a view against Scottish independence. But a spokesman for the foreign ministry told wort.lu/en that the nuance of the minister's words had been lost in the article.

“The BBC chose to present the position of the minister in opposition. Whereas it was more nuanced than that,” he said, adding: “It's a reflection which is valid for all member states, not to go their separate ways.”

The spokesman added that 21 other member states had been contacted by the BBC, suggesting that Luxembourg was not the only country to respond in this way.

The Luxembourg Foreign Ministry confirmed Mr Asselborn's full quote as follows:

“As we are all facing serious economic and social challenges , this is a time for solidarity between Member States of the EU and within Member States, rather than for going separate ways. This being said, Scotland’s constitutional future is a matter to be decided by the people of Scotland. But its future within the EU is a matter for the whole EU and can thus only be determined with the agreement of all Member States.”

It would seem that there was no misunderstanding on the part of Scotland's parliament, which interpreted the minister's comment as directed at the UK's anti-Europe stance.

A Scottish Government spokesperson told wort.lu/en: “These comments reinforce what we have said about the biggest threat to Scotland's EU membership coming from the UK government’s attitude towards our European partners.  The  Deputy First Minister made Scotland's position clear in Brussels last week – we are committed to continued EU membership following a ‘yes’ vote in 2014."

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