Wednesday

21st Feb 2018

Scottish EU membership 'not in serious doubt'

  • British flags in Edinburgh (Photo: Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture)

Scotland’s EU membership “is not in any serious doubt” if the country votes for independence, according to new research by constitutional experts.

Published on Wednesday (20 August), the report by Edinburgh University professor Stephen Tierney and Katie Boyle, a constitutional lawyer, on behalf of the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council examines the legal questions facing an independent Scotland.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Scots go to the polls on 18 September to decide whether to split from the UK. (Photo: EUobserver)

It says that “the accession of an independent Scotland to the European Union is not in any serious doubt”, even in the likely event the new country is unable to finalise its membership terms in the 18-month window between the 18 September referendum and the Scottish government’s planned declaration of independence in March 2016.

“In the event that formal accession has not been secured by Independence Day, it is likely that temporary provisions will be put in place to ensure that the rights and obligations arising from the EU treaties will continue to apply to Scotland in the interim period,” the report adds.

Scots go to the polls on 18 September to decide whether to split from the UK.

With less than a month to go, the Better Together campaign, which wants Scotland to remain part of the UK, holds a 10 point lead, but the gap has closed in recent month.

The report’s findings will be a welcome bump for pro-independence campaigners.

The Scottish Nationalist government has claimed it will be able to re-negotiate its EU membership from inside the 28 country bloc by using Article 48 of the EU treaty.

Meanwhile, the Better Together campaign, which opposes independence, has seized on remarks by Jose Manuel Barroso, the outgoing president of the European Commission, who earlier said Scotland would not receive special treatment and would have to go through the formal accession procedure used by all previous applicants.

Whichever route Scotland takes would require the consent of all EU member states, a process which Barroso described as “extremely difficult, if not impossible”, since other countries, such as Spain, are reluctant to avoid the precedent of breakaway provinces joining the bloc.

The Spanish government is currently battling plans by Catalonia to hold a referendum on its own independence in November.

For its part, Wednesday’s report notes that while Article 48 offers a "plausible route to [Scotland’s] membership depending upon the political will" of the EU, a formal, Barroso-type application is the more likely option.

Pro-Union campaigners have also said Scotland would lose its share of the UK’s €3 billion per year rebate from the EU budget and would receive lower agricultural subsidies.

But the Nationalists have dismissed these claims as “scaremongering”, noting that UK prime minister David Cameron’s plans to hold a referendum on EU membership in 2017 pose the biggest threat to Soctland’s EU status.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  2. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  3. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  4. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  5. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  6. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  7. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  8. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission