January 23, 2012


Britain's anti-Unionists (Colin Kidd, 19.01.2012, European Voice)

Membership of the EU would, most likely, depend on negotiation. Certainly, that was the view of Romano Prodi and the European Commission when in 2004 a written question in the European Parliament asked whether a newly independent region within a member state would have to leave the EU and re-apply for admission. Prodi's reply was unequivocal: "When a part of the territory of a member state ceases to be a part of that state, eg, because that territory becomes an independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory. In other words, a newly independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union."

A significant consequence of having to reapply for EU membership is that new members do not receive an opt-out from the euro. This presents Salmond - a former economist - with a further headache, for he has more enthusiasm for the grand vision of European Union than he does for the practicalities of monetary union. Indeed, he has suggested that an independent Scotland might adopt the pound sterling. What Salmond really wants is continued membership of the EU and the valuable bequest of the UK opt-out from the single currency.

Ironically, in the unlikely but far from impossible scenario of a referendum victory for full independence, the Scottish Nationalists might well obtain what some of the most outspoken British nationalists in Cameron's Conservative Party most desire: uncomfortable withdrawal from the European Union.

Currently, however, opinion polls show that a higher proportion of English - than Scots - voters support Scottish independence from England. How convenient it would be for all concerned - for the Scots, for the English and for the EU - if the English seceded from the Scots. Then the Scots could remain in the EU as the successor state of the UK, the English could enjoy life outside the trammels of Brussels, and the European Union would be free at last of the English incubus against which Charles de Gaulle so presciently warned in the 1960s.

Posted by at January 23, 2012 6:36 AM

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