One of the hottest issues in what appears to be a worsening economic crisis on a international scale is the future of the Euro in the context of the unprecedented economic strains it faces with the debt problems of some of its members nations like Greece and Italy.
The SNP Scottish Government has been notably cautious in stating whether it remains convinced that Scotland should join the Euro.
Now Argyll’s Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP, Jamie McGrigor, has asked for clarification on the government’s current policy.
Holyrood yesterday saw a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee, of which McGrigor is a member. During the session, Jamie McGrigor asked the SNP’s Alyn Smith MEP whether he still believed if an independent Scotland should join the Euro – as he had declared in his comments on Radio Scotland last week ( 15th September 2011).
Asked whether he believed an independent Scotland should join the Euro, Mr Smith said: ‘I do. And the euro will emerge stronger from this. The SNP’s position on the euro has been robust and intellectually sound throughout.’
This view contrasts with that given by Alex Salmond in his response to Annabel Goldie at First Minister’s Questions in the same week – in which Mr Salmond refused to agree with Mr Smith.
Speaking after the Committee meeting Jamie McGrigor said: ‘It is misleading for Mr Smith to argue that he was ‘selectively misquoted’ regarding his views on an independent Scotland joining the Euro and it is arrant nonsense to suggest that Conservatives are inconsistent on this matter. What is clearly inconsistent is the SNP’s position – do they want an independent Scotland to join the Euro or do they not?
‘The fact that the First Minister could not back his MEP colleague last week and the back-tracking of Mr Smith this week shows that the SNP are clearly adrift on this matter. They should quite simply come clean and tell the Scottish people what is their policy.’
The issue is, of course, currently an academic one as an application for membership of the Euro is an action that would be taken if and when Scotland became independent.