A poll which showed that EU national could swing a future independence referendum in Nicola Sturgeon’s favour and ‘tip the balance’ to an independent Scotland.
However, unlike the previous independence vote, many thousands of EU citizens would not be able to vote if the second independence referendum took place post-Brexit.
Richard Marsh and Fabian Zuleeg from the Scottish Centre on European Relations argued that a strong vote for independence from EU citizens resident in Scotland could have a ‘significant impact’ on the referendum outcome, with a poll finding that EU Nationals could help swing the vote to 51% pro-indy.
But in their latest piece, they point out that one of the consequences of leaving the EU was that the residents of European countries would no longer be allowed to vote.
In a blog titled ‘EU Citizens’ Votes: Lost in Transition,’ they observed that EU ‘voters’ would no longer be able to do so following the planned post-March 2019 transition period.
They explained: “This transition period will effectively be a stand-still period, ie EU rules and rights will still apply. However, politically, the UK will no longer be part of the EU institutions, implying that UK citizens will no longer vote for the European Parliament. At the same time, EU citizens in the UK are likely to lose their voting rights.
“Our report last year asked whether this would make a difference to the potential outcome of a Scottish independence referendum. It concluded if most EU citizens voted No in the 2014 referendum but would now vote Yes in a future referendum, it could have a significant impact: moving a cohort the size of the EU citizens [projected in 2020] from a No to a Yes vote would have been just enough to switch the result of the 2014 referendum, resulting in a 51 percent Yes vote.”
Estimating there are around 200,000 EU nationals living in Scotland, the economists say the number is continuing to grow. However, they also stated that even if a new referendum was set during a post-Brexit transition period, it would be unlikely that EU nationals would be allowed to vote.
Expanding on this, they said: “If there is a Scottish independence referendum during the transition period, these EU citizens will, most likely, be excluded from voting. Given the number of people involved, this might well have a material impact on the outcome of such a referendum, reducing the chance of a vote for Scottish independence,” they add.