SCOTLAND would become a “fully integrated” member of the international community within months if the country backs independence in 2014, a leading expert on constitutional break-ups has said.
• Academic insists Scotland’s transition to international stage would be smooth
• Nation could join UN ‘within days of independence’
• Westminster agreement would lower chances of opposition
Claims that countries like Spain and Belgium would try to stop Scotland from joining the EU if Scots vote Yes are “completely unfounded” , according to Dr James Ker-Lindsay, an expert on secessionist conflict from London School of Economics.
If Scotland leaves the UK after a “negotiated process” which isn’t contested by Westminster in the event of the Yes vote, then it is unlikely to face serious hurdles from key international organisations.
“There is little reason to believe that Scotland will face any serious impediments in its attempts to join the UN and other major international organisations,” according to the academic who has worked on secessionist conflicts in Cyprus and Kosovo.
“In fact it would become a member of the UN within a matter of days following a declaration of independence.
“Following on from this, one would expect it to become fully integrated into the international community remarkably quickly – most probably within a matter of a few months.”
Although the terms of membership of the EU remain unclear, the academic dismissed recent claims that this might be blocked by Spain and other countries which have refused to recognise Kosovo.
There had been concerns that Spain may be reluctant to recognise Scotland over concerns it may encourage the nationalist movement in Catalonia, with similar concerns in Belgium with its Flemish population.
“Assuming that the process leading to independence is mutually agreed between Scotland the rest of the United Kingdom, there is very little reason to believe that Scotland would face any opposition to statehood from its European partners,” Dr Ker-Lindsay states in a submission to Westminster’s Foreign Affairs committee.
The refusal to recognise Kosovo stemmed from its unilateral declaration of independence without the consent of the Serbian Government, the academic added.
But the recent Edinburgh agreement to stage the Scottish referendum includes an undertaking on the part of both the Holyrood and Westminster Governments to respect the outcome, suggesting London would be less likely to be an obstacle in the event of a “yes” vote.