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Comment: The path to an independent Scotland is even longer - and the path for EU members is longer |  Foreign

Comment: The path to an independent Scotland is even longer – and the path for EU members is longer | Foreign

Richard Hussein, a Swedish Yale correspondent in Brussels, writes that despite the fact that the majority of people in Scotland want to stay in the EU, there are many obstacles in the way of Scotland becoming an independent EU country.

At the time of writing, it is too early to say what the final election outcome will be in the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

As a result of a few constituencies the Scottish Nationalist Party SNP will be able to determine whether it will gain its own majority in the Scottish Parliament.

This would open the door to a new referendum on the independence of Scotland.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has promised to hold a referendum by the end of 2023 if the party goes its own way.

Even if the SNP changes without it, it will lose an initiative for a referendum, for example with the support of the Green Party of Scotland, which, like the SNP, is fighting for independence.

The absence of its own majority would make it even easier for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reject the legitimacy of the referendum on independence.

Overall, Johnson thinks that will be the case “Courageous and irresponsible” To hold a referendum in a situation where the severe effects of the epidemic are still struggling.

Johnson did not comment on whether he would try to block the new referendum. But he mentioned in interviews that the Scots had voted to stay in the UK a few years ago.


SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has won a seat in the Scottish regional parliament.
Nicola Sturgeon crosses her fingers.
Built in: AFP
Nicola Sturgeon

Brexit put an end to everything

The truth is that voting for Scots independence in late 2014 was a unique opportunity in a referendum – once described as a phenomenon.

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The result is no room for speculation. The Better Together campaign, which wanted to keep Scotland in the UK, won by ten percentage points.

Under normal circumstances, one could argue that it would be too early to discuss a referendum within ten years of the previous referendum.

Britain’s decision to leave the EU has put everything on hold from Scotland’s view. The reason for this is pronounced as Brexit.

When the previous referendum took place in 2014, the United Kingdom was still part of the European Union.

While many Britons were already hoping to leave the EU, some might have guessed that the British would vote to leave the EU two years later.

For Scotland, Brexit means severing ties with the EU, as it does for the rest of the United Kingdom. This is despite the fact that most of the people living in Scotland are positive about the EU.

Scottish politicians are not shocked by their EU sympathies: Outside the Scottish Parliament, the EU flag is waving with the Union Jack.

However, the fact that EU identities have stopped Scotland from being part of the EU as much as the rest of the UK has not yet changed.

This means, among other things, great restrictions on the movement of workers and students between Scotland and the remaining 27 EU countries.

There is no guarantee of EU membership

“We will be back soon,” Nicola Sturgeon promised on January 1, adding that the final separation between the EU and the UK was a fact and that the country had stopped complying with EU rules.

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But how realistic is the idea of ​​an independent Scotland? When can we imagine that Scotland can be accepted into the EU if it goes the way of the independence movement?

According to the Think Tank Institute of Governance, it could take another decade for Scotland to join the EU – or more.

On the one hand, the referendum on opening the door to leaving Britain must be organized in a formal way.

If yes to independence, one must agree to the conditions for leaving the UK.

Only when independence is a reality can formal discussions on EU membership begin.

“Emotionally, I have no doubt that everyone will be excited in Brussels and Europe in general.” Former European Council President Donald Dusk talks about Scotland’s chances of joining the European Union.

Despite the sympathies of the EU, there is still no automation that guarantees an independent Scotland a place in the EU with favorable conditions.

An important point is that an independent Scotland will use any currency.

Where the EU thinks the new member states will change to use the euro, the majority of Scots, according to opinion polls, want to keep the British pound.

Flags of the United Kingdom, Scotland and the European Union outside the Scottish Parliament.

Flags of Britain, Scotland and the European Union are waved outside the Scottish Parliament.
Flags of the United Kingdom, Scotland and the European Union outside the Scottish Parliament.
Scotland, Flag of Scotland, Union Jack

Tough bang for the buck

An EU membership can also lead to one Difficult The border is on the Scottish-English border.

Goods and services currently moving freely between Scotland and the rest of the UK will be subject to restrictions and customs duties under EU rules.

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About 60% of Scotland’s trade takes place in the UK, which is a deliberate risk, which could have a negative impact on trade.

As an EU country, Scotland is subject to a number of EU rules, all of which are not very popular.

An example is the general fisheries policy, which has been a red carpet for many British fishermen.

The relatively rich part of Europe, Scotland is known as the net payer in the European Union.

At the same time, there are strong arguments for Scotland to join the EU. First, in a community where the majority of the Scots consider themselves to be one (again) gaining influence.

For many Scots, this will offset the practical and financial inconveniences of joining the EU.

The path to independence is even longer for Scotland and the path to EU membership is much longer than that.