European fallacy

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I AGREE with David Fiddimore (Letters, 3 May) that there are too many lies flying about in the independence debate. One of his examples, however, requires scrutiny. 

He claims that in an independent Scotland we would “remain EU citizens”. Scotland is not one of the 28 member states of the European Union. That is a fact. The white paper itself claims that there would be a “transition” to “full membership”. An essential part of the meaning of “transition” is “movement” – in this case moving from the current position where Scotland is part of the UK and hence part of the EU to the position where Scotland would be a “full member” state. The white paper also discusses the required “amendment” of the treaty. That word again essentially implies change. So it is contradictory and simply untrue to claim, as the SNP campaign does repeatedly, that Scotland would “continue” to be a member state of the EU.

I believe that Scotland would not encounter excessive difficulty in becoming a full member. But there are questions marks over the timescale and, most importantly, over the terms.

Again the white paper accepts that there would have to be “negotiation” and “considerations around current opt-outs in particular the rebate, eurozone, justice and home affairs and the Schengen travel area”. I would be very interested to see the 
results of a poll which asked if we would wish to join the EU without all or any of these 
opt-outs in place. Mr Salmond’s bluster in Bruges made it sound as if Scotland would negotiate terms at least as good if not better than those currently in place! As Mr Fiddimore says – it’s time to get real.

COLIN HAMILTON

Braid Hills Avenue
Edinburgh

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