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Thursday, 13 September 2012

If an independent Scotland is forced to apply for EU membership - what about England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

This report in the Telegraph yesterday is interesting as it suggests an independent Scotland would have to reapply for EU membership if it broke from the rest of the UK.

What makes it interesting from my point of view is that, of course, the UK is a legally constituted entity of 4 parts. Thus if one part leaves, the UK itself no longer exists.

Which to my mind suggests England Wales and Northern Ireland would also have to reapply.

Which I'm sure the Telegraph wouldn't think is a bad thing - and would probably lead to an EU referendum about membership.

If this report is right - the stakes around Scottish Independence just got raised a notch...


  1. I can't see how the stakes can have been raised when absolutely nothing has changed. The situation regarding Scotland's post-independence status vis-a-vis the EU is the same now as it has been for rather a long time. Namely, that the EU regards it as an internal matter for the UK and takes no position on the matter.

    But you hit on one of the reasons why the SNP's position of assuming two successor states is the most likely outcome by far. Why would the EU provoke a referendum on membership in Scotland and/or England? From the perspective of the EU it makes no sense at all.

    The fuss in The Telegraph and elsewhere is just British nationalist venting. They get pant-wettingly excited every time some EU functionary so much as mentions Scotland. We make allowances.

  2. I tend to agree - I think the Telegraph piece is just an excuse to make a conservative point about the union after some fairly innocuous comments.

    But there is an interesting dilemma here for the Tories. Their default position is to defend the Union, because they genuinely believe in it. But if the SNP do achieve independence there are now two potential silver linings for the Tories - the disproportionate number of Labour MPs that will no longer sit in Westminster, and now potentially an EU referendum.

    I generally try and avoid commenting on Scottish politics on the grounds that its none of my business. But in this case I have made an exception as there is a genuine knock on effect on the situation south of the border...