Josep Borrell ordered the dismissal of the consul in Edinburgh who said in an article that Spain would not veto the entry into the European Union of an independent Scotland. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that Miguel Ángel Vecino "exceeded his functions" by pouring political opinions on matters of another state.
The career diplomat published in the newspaper 'The National' of the Scottish capital that Borrell "has recently declared that Spain will not block the entry of Scotland into the EU if independence is legally achieved." That, he added, "has always been the intention of the Spanish Government."
Neighbor responded to the MEP and vice president of the popular group Esteban Gonzalez Pons, who had commented in the Edinburgh newspaper 'The Herald' that Spain would "veto" the immediate entry into the community club of a Scotland separated from the United Kingdom. The new state, he added, would have to "stand in line" behind other aspiring countries like Turkey, Serbia or Montenegro.
The opinion of the Spanish diplomatic representative in Edinburgh was very well received by the Scottish Government of Nicola Sturgeon, and an official spokesman declared that "Spain's position" is appreciated and welcomed "regarding the place an independent Scotland would occupy in the Union European ».
Foreign reacted immediately to make clear that this was not the position of the Government of Spain, and dismissed the consul general last Thursday, the same day that the letter was known. The dismissal will be effective as soon as the legal proceedings are completed. A spokesman for the Ministry commented that the diplomat "does not exercise functions of political representation of Spain" and, furthermore, "it does not correspond" to a consul to make this type of comments without the consent of the ambassador of Spain in the United Kingdom or the Directorate of Diplomatic Information of the Ministry.
Neighbor defended himself with the argument that he wrote the letter on a "private" basis and that he intends to "clarify" the matter with the Undersecretariat of Foreign Affairs. Something that he will not be able to do in view of the sudden destitution.
The consul's arguments contravene the entire international strategy of Spain with respect to Catalonia and its eventual entry into the EU if it declares itself independent. The Government, in line with the community authorities, maintains that this incorporation could not be produced by the veto of the partners, and to overcome this obstacle would have to start from scratch and behind other aspiring countries to achieve income.
It is not the first time that Foreign Affairs has problems with the consuls, although up until now it had been with honorary representatives in Spain. Borrell requested and achieved last October the dismissal of the consul of Greece in Barcelona, Fernando Turro, for coming in 2017 to a demonstration of the Diada with a stellar shirt. He also participated in a public act of support for Carles Puigdemont.
The Government of Mariano Rajoy caused Finland to dismiss its honorary representative in the Catalan capital, Albert Ginjaume, for participating in sovereign acts. The same road followed that of Latvia, Xavier Vinyals, for displaying an independence flag on the facade of the consulate in 2016. Also the Philippines, Jordi Puig, was left without honorary representation for joining a demonstration during the general strike on October 3 of 2017 in Catalonia.
The department then headed by José Manuel García Margallo convinced Bulgaria to dispense with his honorary consul, ex-footballer Hristo Stoichkov, for dismissing the then Vice-President of the Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría.