Struan Stevenson torpedoes his own argument when he comments that an independent Scotland, being a new member state, would have to reapply for membership of the European Union (Letters, 15 September).
What Mr Stevenson neglects to mention is that not one, but two new states would be created on Scottish independence, and if his argument is that an independent Scotland would have to reapply to the EU, so too would what remains of the rest of the UK. As Lord Mackenzie Stuart, former European Court of Justice judge argued, both sides would be in the same “legal boat”.
Both Scotland and what remains of the UK will be successor states, with exactly the same status within the EU, not accession countries such as Turkey.
In addition to this, there is now a new clause as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, conveniently forgotten by unionists, that requires negotiation for a member state to cease to be in the EU. We know from the Greenland precedent that negotiation is also required for part of a member state to withdraw.
Greenland became a member of the European Community in 1973 when Denmark joined, despite the fact that it opposed membership. A referendum was held in Greenland in 1982, following home rule, which saw a majority vote in favour of withdrawal. This formal withdrawal took place in 1985 and was enacted through the Greenland Treaty.
Despite unionist scaremongering from the likes of Mr Stevenson, all the evidence points to the fact that an independent Scotland will remain an integral part of the EU and will not have to re-apply for membership.
Several distinguished and knowledgeable contributors debate whether or not Scotland will be required to apply for membership of the European Union after independence. They all miss one fundamental point. I hope and assume that, following a positive vote in the independence referendum, one of the first tasks of the new government will be to consult us, the Scottish people, about whether we wish to apply for admission to, or remain within, (depending upon one’s viewpoint) the EU.
A second referendum on this subject would require to be held very quickly following independence. It may well be that the people of Scotland would prefer a different relationship with Europe, such as that enjoyed so successfully by Norway – a country with which an independent Scotland would have much in common.
James D Brown
Burnside Road Elgin, Moray
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