I may be able to clarify matters for Colin Hamilton, who called the assumption that Scots (post-independence) will remain European citizens a “fallacy” (Letters, 5 May). He appears not to understand that our present membership of the European Union confers EU citizenship directly on us, as on all citizens of all member states. So we now have dual citizenship which cannot (easily) be taken away. This is indeed unusual in international law, but nevertheless true.
So the idea that as individuals we will be EU citizens (and host to many non-Scottish EU citizens) but Scotland will not be a member state is not a serious or reasonable outcome and would present more difficulties than it would solve.
Professor Michael Keating, of the University of Aberdeen, speaking on last weekend’s BBC Sunday Politics, described the discussion about the precise mechanism (whether it is by treaty amendment under Article 48 or “accession” through Article 49) as “quibbling” about the technical route to the same end result.
He also discounted European Commission president José Manuel Barroso’s comments as having no “basis in the treaties” and since Scotland would meet membership criteria fully, the role of the EU commission would be to recommend membership.
This then raises the real issue which is the terms of membership – a political, not a legal, issue. However, Prof Keating advised that a continued de facto opt-out of the euro and the Schengen area would be far simpler than insisting on membership of either – and that since the British rebate would have to be renegotiated both for Scotland and rUK the likeliest outcome was to transfer a proportionate share of that rebate to Scotland.