Flemish MEP refutes Van Rompuy claim that independent Catalonia, Scotland would be outside EU

Mark Demesmaeker says statement by European Council President has "no legal basis" according to several lawyers · Van Rompuy holds that any newly independent state will need to apply for EU membership from scratch

Flemish MEP Mark Demesmaeker says that European Council Herman Van Rompuy (picture, EPP) is wrong when he claims that Catalonia or Scotland would leave the EU if they seced from Spain or the UK. Demesmaeker is a member of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA, Dutch acronym), a party that wants to turn Belgium into a confederation, as a previous step to full independence for Flanders.

According to Van Rompuy, both countries would need to apply for EU membership.Van Rompuy made ​​this statement during an official visit to Madrid, where he met Spanish President Mariano Rajoy. Van Rompuy said that after Rajoy had denied that Catalonia could ever hold a referendum on independence.

The Catalan Government and four Catalan parties -including the two largest ones- have reached an agreement to call a non-binding referendum in November 2014. The Spanish Government says the move is illegal.

Flemish MEP has replied Van Rompuy's words by saying that those statements have "no legal basis" and are solely based on political judgements. According to Demesmaeker, some lawyers -including a former judge in the European Court of Justice- have told his party that "such threats are baseless". Furthermore, Demesmaeker holds that no newly independent state "can be excluded overnight" from the EU. Demesmaeker has accused Van Rompuy of following a "political-oriented agenda" that makes him tell "lies" that seem "truths".

The Scottish Government last month introduced a report arguing that Scotland could negotiate its continuity in the EU from within, if Scots were to vote for independence next September.

The UK and Spanish governments, however, hold the same thesis as Van Rompuy does.