I’m grateful to Colin Hamilton (Letters, 17 May) for his acceptance of my personal point of view of an independent Scotland’s accession to the EU.
Like most supporters of independence, I’m deeply committed but a pragmatist.
I believe that at the heart of this aspect of the debate lies a question of definition which could be dismissed as semantics, but which I believe is critical.
Mr Hamilton returns to this subject (Letters, 20 May) and is firmly of the opinion that an independent Scotland will not be a continued member.
What the Scottish Government has said is that it will apply for membership through Article 48 under the principle of “Continuity of Effect”, on the basis that Scotland has complied with the required criteria related to all statutes and treaties for more than 40 years.
There is a difference. It is the view of the Scottish Government, and this has been backed up by legal experts, that this does not constitute enlargement and so the comments of Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, which are based on Scotland applying as a completely new applicant have limited relevance.
Mr Hamilton consistently makes the point about the reference in Scotland’s Future to seamless accession as if it was being claimed this would happen on 19 September, 2014 rather than some 18 months to two years later after a lengthy period of negotiation.
Additionally, I think unionists have a tendency to underestimate the strength of Scotland’s negotiating position and the attitude of EU members to Scotland needs to be viewed in the context of the UK’s in/out referendum.