Friday

10th Apr 2020

Agenda

All eyes on Scottish independence vote this WEEK

  • The Scottish vote - keenly watched by the rest of the EU (Photo: Sarah Ross)

This week most of the EU's attention will focus on Scottish voters who, on Thursday, will decide whether they want their country to break away from its 300-year union with rest of the UK.

Already a searing political issue in the UK where polls put the yes and no camp neck and neck, it is also of huge interest to the rest of the EU which contains several independence-minded regions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Topping the list of such regions is Catalonia which wants to have an independence referendum of its own on 9 November.

A Catalan government envoy as well as several lawmakers will be in Scotland in the run-up to the vote.

The interest is so large because a Yes vote would represent the first time an EU member state has broken up and would raise a series of EU questions about the newly independent state - including whether it would become an EU member, what it would pay into the EU budget, how many EP seats it would have, would it have an EU commissioner and what currency it would use.

There has been much debate over the 'automaticity' of membership for a putative independent Scotland, given that it is already part of the EU.

The European Commission, for its part, has gone from saying earlier this year that it would be "difficult, if not impossible" for Scotland to join to maintaining a tightlipped silence on the matter.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has suggested EU membership terms would be negotiated in the 18 months after any Yes vote, with the latest poll putting the No camp slighty ahead (51%) of the Yes camp (49%).

The European Parliament will gather for its first work session after the summer. The new-look parliament, the eighth EU assembly, is again dominated by men (63%) and ranges from a deputy of 26 years (a Dane) to a 91-year old Greek.

Around half (50.6%) of MEPs are unfamiliar with the EP's Strasbourg corridors, including all of Greece's MEPs. Deputies from Germany, on the other hand, largely remain the same (70% are returning MEPs)..

On the EP's agenda is a vote on the EU's trade agreement with Ukraine (Tuesday); a discussion with outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on conflicts in the Middle East (Wednesday); and a debate on the European Youth Initiative - a €6bn fund launched in January meant to help member states implement a job-finding scheme for young people, but on which progress has been very slow.

Feature

Scotland on verge of 'independence lite'

Scottish people are preparing for a historic referendum that could partly end their union with the UK, but still seek to keep the pound and the British queen.

Coronabonds clash continues This WEEK

Finance ministers will hold all-important online meeting to find ways to mitigate the econmic fallout from the pandemic and heal wounds between northern and southern member states.

EU struggles to remain united This WEEK

EU countries continue to wrestle with economic shock of pandemic and with sharing of medical resources, posing deep questions on solidarity in the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. Migrants trapped on boat in Tripoli due to shelling
  2. EU anti-crisis budget 'could be up to €1.5 trillion'
  3. Western Balkan states appeal for EU help with masks
  4. Spain's lockdown could be extended until 10 May
  5. IMF: Pandemic crisis will be worse than great depression
  6. German economy minister expects progress on EU deal
  7. Italian PM: EU is at risk if no deal on recovery plan
  8. Belgian region to block EU Green Deal

Opinion

Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders

The rise in support for mainstream parties has been paired with stagnation or decline for far-right populist parties and figures - the AfD has dropped to 10 percent in Germany and Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini are treading water.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Latest News

  1. How the EU's virus-alert agency failed
  2. Flemish nationalists torpedo Belgium Green Deal pledge
  3. Eurozone agreed €500bn cushion against virus blow
  4. Why Europe must act now, and on a big scale
  5. EU court blocks Poland's bid to 'frighten' judges
  6. Coronavirus sees approval-rating soar for EU leaders
  7. EU science chief who 'quit' had been told to resign
  8. EU delays 'exit strategies' plan, as WHO urges caution

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us