Czech foreign minister Schwarzenberg warns Scotland will lose out in EU

Karel Schwarzenberg The foreign minister of the Czech Republic, Karel Schwarzenberg, has been speaking to the BBC

The foreign minister of the Czech Republic has warned that an independent Scotland would "lose out" in the European Union.

In a BBC interview, Karel Schwarzenberg, said Scotland would have to apply for EU membership and would end up with a "worse deal".

He said as a smaller nation Scotland would have less political clout.

The Scottish government has said Scotland could negotiate continued EU membership after independence.

The focus on Europe comes as the Scottish government plans its independence referendum in 2014.

The UK government is also facing EU questions as it ponders renegotiating powers from Brussels.

The Czech Republic is one of the existing 27 EU member states.

Mr Schwarzenberg said that if Scotland became an independent country the Czech government would not block Scottish membership.

But he said there would have to be a formal application and that all membership conditions must be met.

He said: "As far I as know the rules, if Scotland were to become independent it would have to apply for the membership."

'Some advantages'

When asked about what kind of deal Scotland could end up with, Mr Schwarzenberg said "a worse deal" because "a much smaller country with much lesser economical importance has less weight".

Start Quote

Britain is a necessary element of Europe”

End Quote Karel Schwarzenberg Czech Foreign Minister

The Czech Republic, and its neighbour Slovakia, were created on 1 January, 1993, following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

The country's foreign minister went on: "In our own history, as you know, 20 years ago we separated and out of Czechoslovakia there were two independent countries.

"Being a foreign minister I can tell you it has some advantages, but the international weight of both republics together is lesser than the former Czechoslovakia."

The Scottish government has always maintained that, in the event of a "yes" vote, Scotland would "quite clearly" remain part of the European Union and negotiations would take place "from within that context".

However, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso said any newly independent state would have to reapply for European membership "according to the rules".

In his interview with BBC Scotland political correspondent Glenn Campbell, Mr Lajcak also said he thought it would be "terrible" if the UK were to leave the European Union.

"Britain is a necessary element of Europe," he said.

"Europe without Britain would be a completely different thing. Britain represents such a lot of values for us that we would be desperate if Britain would leave the European Union.

"It would be, for us, a tragedy."

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