Out of date on EU

Paul Scott (Platform, 20 February) tried to make an argument to the effect that an independent Scotland would not have to apply to join the European Union – that we could break up one Union, the UK, and be immediately welcomed into another, the EU.

Mr Scott is living in the past. He says: “There is no provision in the Treaty of Rome for the withdrawal or expulsion of a member state or part of one from the community.”

That was 20 years ago. We now have the Treaty of Lisbon, which does allow for the withdrawal of a member state.

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To his credit Mr Scott does state that his was just his “opinion” and not a legal or constitutional fact. He also quoted on his side of his argument opinions from three prominent Europeans from more than two decades ago who, unfortunately, are now deceased.

However, he could have quoted a much more up-to-date opinion from Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission. When asked, in a written question from the European Parliament in 2004, whether a newly independent region within a member state would have to leave the EU and re-apply for admission Prodi was unequivocal: “When a part of the territory of a member state ceases to be part of that state, eg because that territory becomes an independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a newly independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the union.”

What is more, under the current position, a consequence of having to reapply for EU membership is that new members do not receive an opt-out from the euro – no chance of an independent Scotland keeping the pound if it wants to join the EU.  

It’s all a bit of a mess, and much easier for the SNP to live in the past.

David Martin MEP

Midlothian Innovation Centre

Pentlandfield