What would happen to Scotland’s EU membership post independence?

Bearing in mind this is still firmly in the realm of political science, nevertheless Roddy Thomson is a Scot embedded in the hub bub of Brussels daily life and has assembled an approximation as to how Scotland and the UK might stand postpartum…

  • I don’t see how the “one of two successor states” argument holds. In international law when a state breaks up one (and only one) state is considered the successor.

    He does have a good point about budget allocations. This would presumably also apply to EP seats, Council voting weights etc.

  • Alias

    That article doesn’t provide any clarity, beyond citing anonymous dubious “EU lawyers”.

    One fact is that, contrary to SNP claims, there is no automatic right to EU membership for independent states. Therefore, an independent Scotland would not automatically accede to membership under the UK’s treaty obligations and rights. It would have to apply, and accept all distinct conditions imposed on it.

    EU law will continue to apply in Scotland even if it does not become a member state since it is transposed into Scottish law. That will leave Scotland with a vast array of obselete laws that have no relevance to the functioning of its state. In short: chaos. It could take Scotland years to untangle EU and to replace such law with laws that allow an independent state to function.

    In that case, Scotland will just have to agree to any conditions that the EU imposes in order to ensure its membership, so there will be no-opts allowed.

    Like Greenland (Part of the Danish realm), Scotland would have an automatic right to EU membership if it did not become an independent state. Scotland is not a third party to the treaty because it is already included within its remit and EU law already applies. Like Denmark, the UK acted for Scotland when it joined the EU in 1973.

    The other argument (repeated in the article) is the one from the former Secretary General of the European Commission, Emile Noel, is that Mackenzie-Stuart argued that Scottish independence would result in two
    member states of equal status (the rump United Kingdom (rUK) and Scotland).

    The opt-outs that the UK enjoys – EMU, Schengen Agreement and CCCTB – would then be conferred upon Scotland. Without those opt-outs, Scotland’s economy is dead in the water.

    On the other hand, why isn’t it seeking independence from EU rule at the same time as it is seeking independence from UK rule? No reason other than such a move would fighten the already nervous horses…

  • Alias

    “…the one from the former Secretary General of the European Commission, Emile Noel, and Mackenzie-Stuart where it is argued that Scottish independence would result in two member states of equal status (the rump United Kingdom (rUK) and Scotland).”

  • MrPMartin

    The UK has a population of around 70million. Scotland has a population of 6 million. Ceding Scotland would mean that the remaining UK would comprise over 90% of the former UK population therefore would still retain the population integrity of the UK i.e. would not be a successor state to the UK but instead, still remain as the UK. There is a subtle difference.

    To say otherwise is akin to saying that the USA would cease to remain the US if Rhode Island went its own way.

    In the case of Yugoslavia, the fragmentation was so severe that no single territory could claim to be the continuation of the old Yugoslav federation.

  • In the case of Yugoslavia, the rump did so claim and was initially admitted to the UN as a successor state, but this admission was subsequently withdrawn. It was readmitted a decade later as a novel state, and now has a successor state of its own.

  • dodrade

    We’ve already been through all this, the UK didn’t cease to exist when the Free State seceded from it in 1922, the only change was addition of the word “Northern” before Ireland in the state’s title. Neither would it if Scotland were to secede, the full title being simply shortened to United Kingdom, if only because the alternatives suggested are so awkward and clumsy.

  • Alias

    It’s not international law. EU law (ignored as irrelevant by 90% of the world’s population not subject to it) didn’t exist in 1922. Even if it did, Ireland did not become an independent state in 1922, so the precedent would be Greenland and Denmark in 1979. If Scotland gains autonomy but not independence from the UK, them it gets EU membership under the terms of the treaty. If it becomes an independent state then its membership is not automatic and the terms of it are not the terms that apply as a sub-state of the UK under the treaty (no opt-outs). That’s a make or break difference for Scotland.