Saturday

13th Apr 2024

EU migrants urged to back Scots independence bid

  • Independence campaigners warn that David Cameron's EU referendum threat could cost EU migrants their residency in Scotland. (Photo: The Laird of Oldham)

Scottish independence campaigners are bidding to swing the country's 160,000 migrants from other EU countries to the independence cause by arguing that staying rather than leaving the UK poses a greater threat to Scotland's EU membership.

The pro-independence groups Polish For Yes, Italians For Yes, French For Yes and EU Citizens For An Independent Scotland fear that David Cameron's referendum on EU membership in 2017 would put their Scottish residency at risk.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

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

... or subscribe as a group

At a rally organized by the Polish for Yes campaign on Saturday, Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that “with the Westminster parties dancing to UKIP”s anti-European tune, Scotland faces the very real prospect of being ripped out of the EU against our will in the event of a No vote.”

“With independence we will finally be able to take our place around the European top table,” she added.

The Nationalist government in Edinburgh has promised that it would re-negotiate an independent Scotland’s EU status in the sixteen months between the referendum on 18 September and March 2016 – the proposed independence date.

UK prime minister David Cameron has promised an in-out referendum on EU membership if his Conservative party wins next year’s general election, and several prominent members of his increasingly eurosceptic government have indicated that they would vote to leave the EU.

In stark contrast to political debate across the rest of the UK, pro and anti-independence campaigners have competed over who can sound the most pro-European during the referendum campaign.

The pro-Union Better Together campaign, headed by Labour politician Alistair Darling, has warned that an independent Scotland would have to navigate a difficult and potentially lengthy path of formally re-applying to join the EU. Scotland would lose its share of the UK’s EU budget rebate and receive lower amounts of farming subsidy and structural funds if it were outside the UK, they add.

On Saturday (23 August), Ed Balls, finance spokesman for the opposition Labour party, said that joining the euro was the most viable ‘plan B’ for an independent Scotland. The major UK parties in Westminster say that Scotland would not be allowed to continue using the pound if it became independent.

Meanwhile, several EU politicians have stated that several countries with their own would-be secessionist regions would be reluctant to back Scottish membership.

On Sunday (24 August), Irish politician Ruairi Quinn, a former finance minister, claimed that it was “highly probable” that Belgium and Spain would not back Scottish membership because of the precedent it would set for Flanders and Catalonia.

For his part, European Commission president Jose Barroso has described a Scottish EU bid as "difficult if not impossible".

A poll published last week by ICM indicated that 50 percent of Scots want to remain part of the EU, compared to 31 percent who wish to leave the bloc, a far higher margin in favour of continued EU membership than exists across the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s 4 million voters will vote on independence on 18 September. Recent opinion polls suggest that the ‘No’ campaign is about ten points ahead with a 55-45 margin in favour of staying in the UK.

UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'

EU and UK negotiators said that a new post-Brexit settlement for Gibraltar was just weeks away from completion following four-way talks in Brussels on Friday (12 April).

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Opinion

Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation

As Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos just reclaimed the title of the richest person on Earth, its workers cannot even take a bathroom break under the pressure of meeting inhumane performance targets.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us