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Scotland and the EU – hot and cold – and what of the latest polls February 15, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Starting with the last first, Reuters notes that one knock-on effect of T. May’s eagerness for a ‘clean break’ with the EU has been… a rise in support for independence.

A majority of those asked in the BMG survey, 51 percent, still opposed independence, the survey showed, but that number fell by three and a half points while the number supporting secession rose by the same amount, to 49 percent.

And:

The proportions were calculated after “don’t know” votes were removed in the survey of 1,067 Scottish residents, which was conducted for the Herald Scotland newspaper. Without removing the “don’t knows”, the proportions were 43 percent for independence vs 45 percent against.

Which compares with…

In 2014, Scots voted roughly 55 percent to 45 percent to remain in the United Kingdom. But last year’s Britain-wide vote to leave the EU changed the landscape because a majority of Scots backed staying in the EU.

Now, I’m not going to make any solid predictions as to how robust those figures are. I’d think if a referendum were held tomorrow anti-Independence forces would carry the day. But a year out, two years? We’ll see. And yet another reminder of how dynamic this situation is.
For those of us supportive of independence for Scotland these are undeniably fascinating times. The SNP and Sturgeon have been notably astute in their approach both before and after Brexit and cleverly used it as a teachable moment in relation to what sovereignty means for Scotland inside the UK, and indeed in relation to the EU, and outside it.

Just on Scotland, Interestingly mixed messages from Jacqueline Minor, the EU Commissions representative in the UK about Scotland in the wake of Brexit.

Cold?

“The position in Scotland hasn’t changed,” Minor said. There is a clear process for any applicant country under article 49 of the European treaties. “That would also apply to Scotland. If Scotland became an independent country I think article 49 is the normal starting point,” she said.

Which would imply it would join the line with a range of other states seeking entry.

Hotter?

There are a number of official candidate countries – Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, [but] they are still quite some way away from meeting the criteria for membership. And obviously were Scotland to become independent, they would join that list.

“Now, it might be easier for an independent Scotland to meet those criteria. The fact that all your legislation has to be in alignment with existing European rules would presumably not be too difficult for Scotland, compared with, say, Montenegro. And that might enable them to move faster than others.”

Which puts her comments somewhat adrift of those of former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt who is…

now the European parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, implied he was sympathetic to giving Scotland automatic membership. “It’s wrong that Scotland might be taken out of EU, when it voted to stay,” he tweeted after the referendum.

But not wildly so. Interestingly Scottish Labour is trying to spin this in quite a different way:

Her remarks fueled a fresh spat between Labour and the SNP, after Scottish Labour’s Europe spokesman Lewis Macdonald said Minor had meant an independent Scotland would need to join the queue behind the four existing candidates.
“As the SNP was repeatedly told during the referendum campaign, an independent Scotland would have to apply to join the EU like any other country,” Macdonald said.
“Alex Salmond tried to dismiss this, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Now it’s time for the SNP to be honest with voters – an independent Scotland would have to join the queue.”
An SNP spokesman said that was a “remarkably selective account” of Minor’s views. “We are focused on protecting Scotland from the catastrophic effects of a hard Tory Brexit which would cost 80,000 jobs in Scotland over the next decade – meanwhile, Labour failed to secure a single concession from the Tories on the article 50 bill, yet they voted for it anyway. At every level, Labour’s response to the EU referendum has been pathetic.”

I think any fair reading of Minor’s comments would suggest Scotland likely at the head of queue of incoming states. A position an independent Scotland would probably find quite attractive. Though a point in comments is well worth considering, that an independent Scotland could potentially join EFTA and the single market as a stepping stone or even a long term position. Makes a lot of sense.

And the point about Spain and the antipathy of Madrid to allowing Scotland in for fear of encouraging its own independence movements is neatly addressed by another comment which points out that in this instance the UK would have left the EU if Scotland were attempting to join it.

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Comments»

1. bjg - February 15, 2017

What would happen if Scotland were to join a federation with an existing EU member state or states? bjg

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2. benmadigan - February 15, 2017

I don’t think there’s any question of being on a list (first come, first served) or of being in a queue (themmons were there before me so they get on the bus first).

It’s more like applying for university – the EU has a set of criteria for admission and if you satisfy the criteria you’re in!

Scotland has been meeting EU criteria for over 40 odd years, for as long as the UK has been in the EEC/EU.

In fact, M. Guy Verhofstadt (one of the chief EU Brexit negotiators) said Europe “cannot afford to lose” Scotland.

So all Scotland has to do is win IndyRef2!!!

http://www.thenational.scot/news/15089828.Europe_s_chief_Brexit_negotiator_says___We_need_the_Scottish_people_____we_cannot_afford_to_lose_that_/

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paulculloty82 - February 15, 2017

Even based purely on admission requirements, Scotland would presumably fulfil more of the acquis or chapters than the Balkan nations, given that the UK has met them previously. Issues may arise with the Euro or Schengen, but the 2004 accession nations have, in practice, set national timetables based on the whims of their electorates.

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GW - February 16, 2017

That’s about it BM – Scotland already has a compatible set of laws and regulations enacted. So naturally re-entry would be easier and quicker for them.

The longer they leave it after Brexit and the likely bonfire of worker, consumer and environmental protections that is going to follow, the more difficult it will be.

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benmadigan - February 16, 2017

Rumours are circulating about August/Sept 2018 for IndyRef2, though some people are still opting for 2019.

Any IndyRef2 would need to be before Brexit negotiations are over to ensure a fairly painless entrance/re-entry.

Once Brexit is concluded, I think Scotland has no chance of ever holding a referendum and will be very, very lucky if its Parliament survives.

Same goes of course for the Welsh and NI Assemblies. Regional government was such a European idea!!!

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3. An Sionnach Fionn - February 16, 2017

I’d be pretty confident that an independent Scotland would be fast-tracked for EU membership in a post-Article 50 scenario. However, like yourself, I don’t see any overwhelming appetite among our north-eastern cousins for “freeeeedom!” at the moment. Unionists would still hold the line in a referendum, albeit with a lot more bum-squeaking.

A year or two from now might be a different matter if the UK finds itself in a post-EU slump. Or a Trump-led war…

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