Wednesday

30th Nov 2022

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.

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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's Hungary funds, China, energy, and Frontex This WEEK

In the European Parliament, MEPs will hear from ECB president Christina Lagarde, Kyiv's Vitali Klitschko, and from the three candidates proposed by the EU Commission to be the new boss of EU border agency Frontex.

Zooming in on energy and migration This WEEK

Two extraordinary meetings of ministers, on gas price caps and migration, are expected, while the European Parliament will keep the heat on Hungary and the EU Commission over rule of law.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

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