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Showing posts with label Scotland's EU membership. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland's EU membership. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Scotland, the EU – and Barroso …

Scotland's independence will create a situation for which there is no real precedent, and no clarity or certainty in European law or EU history. We have the farcical situation that a Tory Party that shows a distinct wish to leave Europe are arguing against Scotland's independence on the basis that the rUK would be in and Scotland out. There is also the fact that a significant number of Scots, including many nationalists, would be delighted to be out of Europe too ...

I have never doubted that one of the many complex questions raised by Scotland's independence would be the terms of its EU membership, and that it would have to be negotiated. Since a YES vote in 2014 does not confer independence, but only fires the starting gun for negotiations to achieve it, the very earliest date for conclusion of the core negotiating issues would be 2016, with the formal independence date well beyond that, during which time both the UK and Scotland/UK membership would still be in force.

Since the incompetent UK parties can't forecast what will happen to the economy and the currency in the next three months, I lose no sleep over Scotland's ultimate membership of the EU in say, 2017, if indeed the EU still exists by then! But if it does, Scotland will be in - the idea of them being out, or being blackballed is risible historically.

First we had the leaked – but never sent – letter, and now we have Barroso's latest public statement

Here's my view, informed and assisted by  invaluable help from my Danish friend Troels who is expert in EU law, and keenly interested in an independent Scotland.

Barroso talks of "a part of a country that wants to become an independent state", i.e. analogous to Catalonia (something he's deeply worried about) not a "union state" being dissolved and two successor states emerging. His use of the phrase "a part of a country" indicates that Barroso is rather confused on the history and structure of the United Kingdom.

He seems to perceive "Britain" as a country (like Spain or Portugal) and not as a unitary union state, which it what it is. This is evident from the end the television clip, where he clearly believes that the UK will still exist after Scottish independence like, say, Spain after Catalan independence, or Denmark after Greenlandic independence, where the old state continues to exist, but a part of its territory becomes independent.

In fact, in the case of the UK, it would be the union state dissolving, and at least two successor states emerging, very much akin to Czechoslovakia.

Barroso's view is poles apart from the kind of opinion that the European Court of Justice would give. It is worthy of note that Barroso, speaking for the EU Commission only, offers no legal arguments or references that can be debated or be refuted.

In other words, his statement is self-serving and purely political - a piece of realpolitik gamesmanship. There's a lot of that about - and there will be a lot more of it before 2014. The old order is breaking down, and like all ancien regimes, it doesn't like it.