Oh no EU can’t. Oh yes we can

eumembership

One of the EU’s most senior parliamentarians has said in an interview that the entry of an independent Scotland into the EU should be easy. The German veteran MEP Elmar Brok made the remarks while being interviewed by Alex Salmond on the latter’s show on RT. Since Scotland is, for the time being, a part of the EU by virtue of being a part of the UK, it is already in compliance with all the requirements necessary of an EU member state. That in turn means that should Scotland vote for independence before Brexit Britain has substantially diverged from EU norms and standards, Scotland will be able to rejoin the EU in sharp order, should it so decide.

Elmar Brok now joins Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister and the EU Parliament’s representative on Brexit, who said in June 2018 that it is “a simple fact” that Scotland would face no big obstacles to attaining EU membership. And in 2017 a group of 50 European parliamentarians from across the political spectrum and led by German Green MEP Terry Reintke signed an open letter to the Scottish Parliament in which they stressed that Scotland would be most welcome as an EU member, and offered their full support to ensure that Scottish membership of the EU would be as swift, smooth and orderly as possible.

There is considerable sympathy for Scotland in the EU. Guy Verhofstadt said in 2017 that the EU can’t afford to lose Scotland. It is recognised that Scotland is the most pro-EU part of the UK, and that public opinion in Scotland is very different from that in the rest of the UK. An independent Scotland which was a member of the EU would not be the constant thorn in the flesh of other EU member states that the UK has proven to be, with its constant demands for special treatment.

It is significant that Elmar Brok is a member of the German Christian Democratic Union and is a close political ally of Angela Merkel. The reason that this is important is because the German CDU is one of the most important components of the European People’s Party, the bloc of MEPs in the European Parliament which was most vehement in its opposition to Scottish independence in 2014. This opposition was orchestrated by the Spanish Partido Popular, which is likewise a member of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, and which had sought to build a pan-European opposition to independence movements along with the British Conservatives. Ruth Davidson and other members of the Conservative party took part in talks with Partido Popular representatives to this effect in 2012.

During the independence referendum of 2014, a series of EU politicians were trotted before the British press, all of whom made comments to the effect that Scotland would find it difficult to become a member of the EU in its own right. The majority of these politicians were members of the European People’s Party of which Elmar Brok is a prominent representative. This was a direct result of the behind the scenes machinations of the Spanish Partido Popular and the British Conservatives.

That alliance is how ancient history. The European People’s Party is no longer disposed to do the British any favours. The UK is now a third country as far as the EU is concerned. Spain has had a change of government, and it is now far more interested in ensuring that other EU states support it over Gibraltar than it is in discouraging Scottish independence. Scottish independence is always an issue that Spain had considered manageable, despite the protestations in the British media that Spain sought to veto Scottish EU membership in order to discourage Catalonia.

Indeed, the Spanish government has now made it clear that provided Scotland achieves independence constitutionally and legally, it would have no issues with a Scottish application to join the EU. This was explicitly stated by the current Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell in 2018. https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-spain-politics-scotland/spain-would-not-oppose-future-independent-scotland-rejoining-eu-minister-idUKKCN1NP25P He was restating a position which had previously been articulated by Alfonso Dastis in 2017 when he was Foreign Minister in the Partido Popular government which was replaced by the PSOE minority administration in June last year. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/apr/02/spain-drops-plan-to-impose-veto-if-scotland-tries-to-join-eu Both the major Spanish political parties have now stated that they have no objections to Scotland acceding to the EU as an independent state in its own right and that they would not seek to veto Scottish membership.

Just as an aside, the link to Guardian article is entitled “Spain drops plan to impose veto if Scotland tries to join the EU.” This shows how engrained the myth of the Spanish veto had become in the British media. The truth is that there was never any such plan in the first place. A Spanish veto of an independent Scotland which had attained independence legally and constitutionally would destroy the arguments deployed by the Spanish government against the Catalan independence movement. Spain knows that, and so does Catalonia.

Spain’s argument against Catalan independence is that it would be illegal under Spanish law, and that’s why Spain can resist Catalan independence while at the same time claiming to respect the right to self-determination. A veto of an independent Scotland ruins that argument and opens up the Spanish government to Catalan attempts to internationalise their dispute. It’s only the British press which appears ignorant of the reality. Mind you, a lot of the anti-independence trolls in Scottish newspaper comments sections and social media still haven’t caught up with that news, reluctant as they are to let go of one of their favourite threats.

What all this means is that during the next independence vote, opponents of independence are not going to be able to find EU politicians to lecture Scotland against independence. The mood music from the EU is going to be very different. Instead of EU politicians who are warning against independence, it’s going to be comparative easy to find EU politicians who are willing to encourage Scotland.

Naturally the Scotland in Union trolls who infest the comments sections of newspapers were not at all impressed by Elmar Brok’s remarks. They of course know far more about the process of accession to the EU than the EU’s longest serving parliamentarian and one of the most respected members of the European Parliament.

What we see now is a series of spurious arguments as British nationalists desperately try to argue that an EU whose prominent politicians say would welcome Scotland with open arms would in fact reject Scotland. So they tell us that because Scotland doesn’t have a Central Bank, we can’t join the EU. This is one of the those anti-independence arguments which on the surface looks terribly serious, but when you scrape off the shiny gloss which has achieved by repeatedly polishing the spittle flecks of dozens of British nationalist zoomers on social media and in the comments sections of newspapers, you discover all the stupid lurking underneath. Of course Scotland doesn’t have a Central Bank. Scotland doesn’t have a Central Bank for the exact same reason that Scotland doesn’t currently have its own diplomatic service and embassies, its own armed forces, or its own seat at the United Nations. Scotland doesn’t have a Central Bank because we’re not independent yet. Saying that Scotland can’t join the EU because it doesn’t have a Central Bank is like saying that you can’t get a driving licence until you have a car.

In any event possession of a Central Bank is only a requirement for joining the Eurozone, not for joining the EU. The same applies to the argument touted by British nationalists that Scotland’s deficit means that it would be ineligible for EU membership. That one is particularly rich, seeing as how it’s the British government which is responsible for creating Scotland’s deficit.

Meanwhile British politics has been reduced to a parade of government ministers that you’ve never heard of resigning from posts you never knew they held so that they can voice their opposition to a policy that they supported last week. Answers from government ministers in the Commons have been reduced to ministers saying that their job is not to know anything. No wonder the British nationalists of Scotland in Union who infest newspaper comments sections are becoming so desperate. A better future for Scotland is waiting, and they have nothing to offer except negativity, scare stories, and threats that are losing their effect.


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16 comments on “Oh no EU can’t. Oh yes we can

  1. Pogo says:

    All their threats just like their promises are evaporating like snow in a thaw.

    More EU voices speak louder in the coming weeks better. It’s in the EUs interest to support Scotland now.

  2. bringiton says:

    Yes,once it is official that the UK is no longer a member state of the EU,I expect to hear some very encouraging noises towards Scotland from the continent.
    Scotland has resources that most EU states would give their right arm for (including England of course) and has much to offer,as well as our declared wish to remain part of our common European home.
    That excludes Brexitland castles and Englishmen residing therein.
    There will,of course,be desperate measures implemented by Westminster to attempt to thwart this while they are trying to negotiate trade deals with the EU.
    Without our resources,there isn’t much Europe is interested in from the UK so Scotland will have to continue to be silenced and ignored during that period (if we allow it).

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    Thanks for bringing us the latest EU support for Scotland Paul.

    I am 70 in December this year and feel confident that in my lifetime Scotland will be free within the EU/EFTA, that Ireland will be united and if I live long enough Wales will be free also, they are making good progress.

    The EU has given us security from war, the four freedoms, the strictest food hygiene rules, good workers rights to name only a few benefits. I only hope that our Yes/Leave friends put Yes before any dislike of the EU to ensure we bin this Union. Dissolve this Union is the call we need.

    • douglasclark says:

      Andy, I am around your age. In both our lifetimes there has been no major conflict between those that were allies or those that were axis. Cold war notwithstanding.

      That that might be something we want to keep on the back burner for as long as possible strikes me as a worthwhile ambition.

  4. Shonagh Potter says:

    Oh yes we can!
    In the day, when our neighbour was behaving badly we went to Europe, to the highest authority, and we were vindicated.
    Scotland is an Independent Country.

    • douglasclark says:

      Shonagh Potter,

      Fascinating. Would you care to elucidate? Just keep it, sort of, real?

      • JGedd says:

        Shonagh might be referring to the Declaration of Arbroath of 1320 which was submitted to Pope John XX11 in Avignon, making Scotland’s case to be an independent kingdom?

  5. Macart says:

    Never doubted it. 🙂

  6. Moonlight says:

    I wonder how well Westminster will get on in negotiating their future (ever so easy to do) trade deal with Brussels if at the same time they are actively using their not inconsiderable power to further oppress Scotland.

  7. Charles McGregor says:

    As I have read things, a Spanish ‘veto’ would not stop Scottish membership of the EU, not since the Treaty of Nice in 2003.

    The conditions for Croation membership prior to 2013 was:
    At least 14 of the countries voting for it
    At least 255 of the 345 nationally weighted votes
    and
    At least 314 million represented by the states voting for.

    Spain alone could not have prevented their accession although I think in fact all existing member states voted for it anyway.

    Similarly Kosovan membership cannot be prevented solely by Spanish opposition even though, for their own domestic reasons Spain opposes it, which is why preparation of Kosova’s future membership is now at an advanced stage and has been facilitated by thousands of EU civil servants.

    Scotland? Well we don’t even need to meet the acquis since we already do.

  8. Macart says:

    Ayup! The launch of SNIB, the option to place a Scottish currency before delegates at the Spring conference and the roll-out of new benefits.

    https://archive.is/9Hedd

    You can see why UK gov and the Beeb have their pants in a panic. Oh, and still with the permissions bollox t’boot. 🙂

    Seems UK gov doesn’t like Scotgov’s actions. They’re just about out of road to kick that can down and a decision has to be taken. So up pops the usual ‘sources’ to deliver a message/prompt a move.

    My thought from the beginning was that the whole shebang is going to follow process and measured legal response (unknowable events notwithstanding). I’d have reckoned the appropriate ‘response’ could have been enacted last June, then October, then December and most recently January. (shrugs)

    Hopefully not much longer.

    • Perhaps NS will call a SGE this summer?

      By then we’ll know the version of Brexit which is to be imposed on citizens of the UK, the majority of whom voted to Remain, or opted for the Red Tories’ version of a ‘Third Way’ and ‘abstained’ from the EU Referendum vote completely.
      If ‘abstain’ has been a valid tactic of Red Tories like Ian Murray and Tom Watson over the past six moths or so , surely the same democratic choice pertains to citizens who voted by withholding their vote in the EU Referendum?

      The Scottish ‘smackeroonie’?
      Lovin’ it.

      The game’s afoot, Miller, and it ain’t twelve inches.

      • Andy Anderson says:

        You are correct Jack.

        However the trade deal negotiations which were due to start in Jan 2017 have not started yet. They will still be going on in 2022 if not longer.

        If you remember the phase 1 talks (EU withdrawal treaty) was due to complete in Oct 2017 but U.K. delayed with it signed off to much MSM fanfare in Dec 2017. This included a Irish backstop covering Ireland only with customs border in the Irish Sea. The ERG group were OK with this as the case less about NI than us.

        Then we had June 2017 GE and the loss of a government majority in Westminster. Then DUP got involved and May asked EU to change the EU withdrawal bill to cover all the U.K. ERG now upset and a year of trade deal talks lost. All because St. Theresa had an idea for a GE to hammer Labour and increase her majority. Tosses.

  9. orri says:

    Scottish Unionists will be the most keen for a No Deal Brexit as it allows faster divergence from the Acquis which in a way that might make it harder to bring a newly independent Scotland back in line.
    Any deal with the EU will delay or, in some areas, make impossible those changes.

    The deliberate disruption and abrupt changes cause and damage to the economy they bring as a consequence will be used as a psychological deterrent to Independence. Illogically perhaps as it’d be akin to trying to reverse wartime measures and return the country to “normality”.
    I doubt Scotland will be immediately rejoining the EU unless it somehow negotiates it’s membership as a continuing successor state to the former UK. Perhaps some of the proponents of independence will get their wish and we’ll join EFTA or some other organisation in the mean time.

    However that is another way Spain can differentiate between Scotland and Catalonia. If Scotland as a Treaty Partner dissolves the UK then the UK no longer exists except in name if Westminster is pathetic enough to pretend it alone is the UK. Unfortunately for Catalonia they have no such treaty to withdraw from.

    The more obvious point is that if Spain looks likely to veto Scotland’s membership then the rest of the EU may be inclined to find a way to bypass that. They would therefore be more likely to insist we “join” in the normal way and they accept out application rather set a precedent that might backfire on them.

  10. ScotsCanuck says:

    Paul, your poster at the head of your article is a “belter” …. it would make an excellent billboard during IndyRef2 …. cuts through the pish that SiU (and associated “nawbags”)will undoubtedly throw at YES regarding an Independent Scotland’s status within and/or continued membership of, the EU.

    Might want to think about crowd funding a series of billboards around our towns & cities when the starting gun is fired for IndyRef2.

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