Monday

17th Feb 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 join 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.

EU budget battle gears up This WEEK

Member states get ready for their first real negotiations on the next seven-year EU budget, while MEPs discuss the next Brexit phase, enlargement, and vote on a highly-controversial trade deal with Vietnam.

Second phase of Brexit starts This WEEK

In its first week without the UK, the EU will reveal how it wants to negotiate future relations with London, will propose a new enlargement methodology to calm Paris, and MEPs will hear from EU chief prosecutor Laura Kovesi.

News in Brief

  1. Michel proposes GNI 1.074 percent for budget
  2. Five Star Movement to protest against own government
  3. France pushing for tougher EU line on Brexit alignment
  4. Facebook delays EU roll-out of dating app
  5. Coronavirus a 'key risk' in EU's economic forecast
  6. Von dey Leyen defends record at German parliament inquiry
  7. Johnson loses finance and N. Ireland ministers in reshuffle
  8. Eight EU states warned over money-laundering delay

Opinion

The last best chance for Donbas and peace in Europe?

At the Munich Security Conference this weekend, the Euro-Atlantic Security Leaders Group (EASLG) will publish Twelve Steps Toward Greater Security in Ukraine and the Euro-Atlantic Region, endorsed by nearly 50 distinguished current and former senior officials, military officers, and experts.

Stakeholders' Highlights

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

Latest News

  1. The last best chance for Donbas and peace in Europe?
  2. EU commissioner lobbied by energy firm he owns shares in
  3. Will coronavirus lead to medicine shortage in EU?
  4. EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal
  5. 'Westlessness' - Western restlessness at China's ascent
  6. Central Europe mayors join in direct EU funds plea
  7. What you don't hear about Spain's migration policy
  8. 'Top-down' future of Europe conference 'will fail' warning

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us