Only independence guarantees EU ties
Amid the spat over an independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union, the media, the political parties and the commentators are failing to grasp the bigger picture (your report, 13 September).
The substance of this discussion should not be the short-term ease (or otherwise) by which Scotland’s EU membership continues.
No-one seriously questions the fact that, ultimately, an independent Scotland would be warmly welcome within the EU.
The bigger question is what may happen if Scotland remains part of the UK, a half-hearted European participant in which both major political parties are now seriously considering holding a referendum on leaving the EU.
This presents the very real possibility that a relatively pro-Europe Scotland could be extracted from the EU despite voting in favour of retaining membership, by virtue of the UK as a whole choosing to leave.
Only independence will guarantee that Scotland’s relationship with the EU is of its own choosing. It is a mystery to me why the SNP is not making this point more loudly.
It is disturbing to hear EU spokesmen state that Scotland will no longer be part of the EU if it were independent, and would have to re-apply for membership. They also assert that the Reduced UK state would not have to re-apply. Does this not view Scotland as a colony of London? This is indeed a discriminatory position by the EU.
Which part of the UK land mass has the EU membership? Is it in London? If only London were left and the rest of the UK were a new state, would London still hold the EU membership?
The EU spokesmen’s view gives more rights to the people of London than to those of Scotland. This discrimination is based on nationality. In this new PC age, is this not a definition of racism
I would urge Scotland not to re-apply to the EU but join the European Economic Area, which has trading rights in the EU but accepts no social dictates from them. Whatever the outcome Scotland will succeed.
European Commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, states that an independent Scotland, as a seceding region of a member state, would have to apply and negotiate for membership of the EU (your report, 13 September), but, thankfully, our First Minister immediately overrules him, informing him that an independent Scotland would automatically inherit the UK’s position as a member.
Well, that’s Mr Barroso put in his place, then, although I am tempted to ask that should Scotland secede, exactly which UK is Mr Salmond referring to?
The EU has had its fingers burned recently by financial catastrophe in certain countries and will no doubt be wary of admitting a new member, especially one with no proven track record. It would be more reasonable to think that an independent Scotland would be required to prove itself over a number of years before being considered for membership.
Additionally, Mr Barroso tells us that any new member must be approved by all the existing members, and, once again, I cannot see the pro-union Westminster government, with whom Mr Salmond has less than cordial relations, going out of their way to make things easy for him.
With every instance like this, picking and choosing the best bits of independence and UK membership, I wonder, where is the independence?
Walter J Allan
Colinton Mains Drive
What is manifestly clear, if nothing else, is that at the very least it seems highly debatable that a broken-off Scotland would gain automatic entry to the EU.
Mr Salmond adamantly refuses to reveal the independent legal advice (for which we as taxpayers paid) he has received on the matter so we are none the wiser but his refusal speaks volumes.
So anyone tempted to vote in the referendum for separating Scotland and breaking up the UK should consider very carefully the nightmare scenario – wonderfully depicted in your cartoon (13 September).
A separated Scotland pleading to be allowed in to the EU and being told to join the queue and be prepared to accept the euro and all else and those who voted for it saying: “…But Alex and Nicola told us it’d be all right.’’
New Cut Rigg
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso’s assertion that Scotland might not automatically continue with membership might be seen as an advantage rather than a problem.
The EU has many problems, its continual move towards a form of federated state with a single currency has already fallen apart. The disparity in financial direction between the southern states and Germany means that the continuation of the euro is in doubt.
The EU is also an inefficient processor of funds with an obstructive and interfering central administration.
In the UK political arena, the Conservatives at Westminster have been tearing themselves apart over membership of the EU and in certain parts of England Ukip have polling percentages higher than the Liberal Democrats.
If there was a referendum the result might actually mean that Westminster might have to negotiate a withdrawal.
Since Norway, a country similar in population size and with an even more difficult terrain than Scotland has managed to survive without EU membership and has a border of over 2,300km with the EU countries of Sweden and Finland, the question is whether Scotland needs EU membership. Switzerland, surrounded by the EU, is not a member but is now party to the Schengen Agreement, something which neither the UK or Republic of Ireland have joined. With the development of India, China and South America, Europe is no longer the major world player it was.
Before either side tries to debate Mr Barroso’s view, which might actually be wrong under the various Vienna conventions, they might like to consider whether Scotland really needs or wants to be part of the EU.
Like Nato membership there are advantages and disadvantages.
If the result is that membership would be suitable for Scotland then the simplest solution might be for Scotland to become the continuation state to the UK and the rest of the UK could leave and become the seceding state. It would solve the problem for Westminster Conservatives who are divided on this issue.
Bruce D Skivington
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