SCOTLAND’S PLACE IN THE EUROPEAN UNION
The decision made in 2016 by 62% of the Scottish electorate to remain in the European Union was overruled by the larger voting contingency South of the Border.
The people of Scotland have made it quite clear that they wish to remain a part of the European Union; the first indication was in the EU referendum in 2016 where a majority of 62% of the voters and all 32 council areas voted to Remain. The second indication came with the 2019 EU Elections with three of Scotland’s six MEP’s coming from the Pro-European SNP, who also took the lion’s share of the votes.
The EU doesn’t have any regulations or guidelines to cover a situation like Scotland’s if it were to leave the UK, you have to remember that until the UK invoked article 50, no member state had ever left the EU and there wasn’t much legislation in place at the time to cover that eventuality.
There has been much talk about whether Scotland who joined as a part of the UK must leave as part of the UK, but exactly what the EU’s legal position would be if Scotland gained independence before the UK left is still a matter for debate.
The UK governments position is that Scotland cannot remain as it is part of the UK’s membership, however, as such a situation has never been faced before by the EU, then no one really knows what the final decision would be. The EU could, as it has done following the UK’s withdrawal notice, introduce a new set of rules and guidelines specific to Scotland’s situation.
If Scotland left the UK, then there is no reason why the Scottish Government shouldn’t be able to begin immediate negotiations with the EU to remain a part of it, or if that is not possible, or at least petition to join as an independent nation following its exclusion through being forced to leave by virtue of it having joined as part of the UK.
This would not be a lengthy process as Scotland has an advantage over other countries applying to join the EU because as an existing member state (albeit part of the UK membership) most of the framework and legislation as defined in the “Copenhagen Criteria” is already in place.
Political criteria: stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
Economic criteria: a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces;
Administrative and institutional capacity to effectively implement the acquis* and ability to take on the obligations of membership.
Agreements drawn up between the UK and the EU for the island of Ireland, such as the Irish Border and arrangements over trade, customs and freedom of movement could then be applied between Scotland and England and of course there is nothing to stop an Independent Scotland from making it’s own trade deals with the EU ahead of its consideration for membership, in order to protect the 17 billion pounds worth of trade that Scotland currently has with the EU.
The only ones who are making this a complex issue are the Conservative led UK Government who are trying their hardest to scare the people of Scotland into submission by saying if we leave the UK we will be out of both unions and on our own.
What they fail to mention is that Scotland is well respected in the International community, with many friendly nations including those in the EU, who are more than willing to carry on trading with us.
It’s about time that Westminster grew up and started giving the people of Scotland some respect, we are smarter than they think and we certainly aren’t the bunch of ignorant fools that the conservative government would have the rest of the world believe us to be…