Czechs and balance in that EU debate
According to your report (Fresh EU doubts for independent Scotland, 13 September) Commission president Jose Manual Barroso and European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly’s remarks referred specifically to the position of a region that secedes from a member state. For example, Catalonia seceding from Spain.
This is manifestly not the position of an independent Scotland. Scottish independence will involve the abrogation of Article I of the 1707 Treaty of Union which established the United Kingdom.
The EU member state will no longer exist. It will dissolve into two successor states, Scotland, and England (with Wales and Northern Ireland). The true parallel is not with Catalonia and Spain but with the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the former Czechoslovakia.
Unionists arguing Scotland is an equal partner within the UK need to explain why it should be treated uneqally following the dissolution of the Union or is this just part of their anti-Scottish agenda?
(REV) ARCHIE BLACK
The message delivered by European Commission president Barroso on the BBC’s World at One on Wednesday couldn’t be clearer: “All new states have to apply to join the EU and must be accepted by existing members.”
Despite the SNP’s usual bluff and bluster, Barroso’s remarks have dealt a serious blow to the party’s claims Scotland would seamlessly continue as a full member of the EU post-independence.
We know now that this is blatantly untrue.
A newly independent Scotland will be a new state and, as such, must negotiate an increased number of MEPs in the European Parliament, a revision of the weighted voting rules in the Council of Ministers and the appointment of a Scottish member of the European Commission.
In other words, an independent Scotland would require negotiated changes to all three of the EU’s institutions, and such changes are not possible without a revision of the EU.
Treaties, which in turn would require Scotland to apply for EU membership and become an accession state. I have no doubt at all that Scotland would ultimately be welcomed as a member of the EU, but this process can take years.
What would happen to our farmers’ single farm payments in the meantime?
What would be the position of the 160,000 people who work in our financial services sector? A huge cloud of uncertainty would cover the whole Scottish economy. And even more worrying, as an accession state, Scotland would have no option but to join the eurozone and the borderless Schengen Area.
There would be no question of holding a referendum to ask the people of Scotland for their views on joining the beleaguered euro, as Alex Salmond promises.
And, because the rest of the UK is not a member of Schengen, we would certainly have to erect borders at Gretna and Stranraer.
Brussels has given the First Minister a welcome dose of reality – he can’t continue to hide his head in the sand on this issue.
Once again a future independent Scotland was the topic at First Ministers Questions (13 September). Yes, a future independent Scotland and its status in Europe, questions raised by party leaders Johann Lamont and Willie Rennie.
Both were keen to emphasise the words of the President of the European Union regarding the position of a new state in the EU.
Has Mr Rennie and Ms Lamont taken their concerns over a country’s future status in Europe to Wales, Northern Ireland and England, as their status may be affected should Scotland vote to be independent. Incidentally, in tabling those questions to the First Minister, is Ms Lamont and Mr Rennie expressing their optimism on a future independent Scotland!
Catriona C Clark
Lord John Kerr not only has a good name but is our most experienced diplomat.
When I was an MEP in the 1990s he was the UK ambassador to the EU and later he became head of the Foreign Office. When he retired he became secretary to the constitutional commission which drafted the EU constitution – which became the Treaty of Lisbon.
When Lord Kerr was asked on Newsnight recently “how long it would take an independent Scotland to become part of the EU?”, “about 24 hours”, he said – thats good enough for me!
Hugh Kerr (MEP 1994-9)
While supporting neither Scotland’s independence nor the European Union’s increasing assertiveness, I fail to see why an existing member such as the UK could not “de-unify” into two new states – which would likewise automatically remain in the EU. If you consider West and East Germany being “re-unified” into one new state, the new state, which did not exist when the EU was established, then automatically joined the EU overnight without any debate or the usual preconditions for new members.
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