Would an independent Scotland stand a chance of getting European Union membership?

Nicola Sturgeon Suggests Second Scottish Independence Referendum In The Autumn
Sturgeon wants to give Scots the choice between the UK and the EU (Source: Getty)

Dr Alistair Clark, senior lecturer in politics at Newcastle University, says Yes.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the second Scottish independence referendum will be between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019. The timing is such that Scotland will likely end up outside the EU when the UK leaves.

It is very difficult to see Scotland remaining in both the UK and the EU after Brexit. The UK government is for the whole of the UK leaving together.

An independent Scotland is a very different proposition. It would seem to stand a very good chance of rejoining the EU without too many problems. Scotland already meets all EU requirements for joining, having already been part of a member state.

The SNP has launched a substantial effort to promote Scotland to European decision-makers in all the various institutions. There is considerable goodwill towards Scotland’s attempt to remain in the bloc.

This is uncharted territory for all sides. Some member states may take more convincing than others. But a keen new member state would certainly be welcome for the EU.

Alex Deane, a City of London common councilman, says No.

Leave aside the fact that Scotland would go from being a net recipient of funds within the UK to a net contributor of funds to the EU if it were an independent country. If it left the UK, Scotland specifically and definitely could not “stay” inside the EU.

It would be the creation, as far as the EU is concerned, of a new country, which would have to apply in its own right for membership of the club. There is a process for such an application, and there’s no faststream.

In the time prior to admission, the new country would need its own currency (no pound, no euro) and manage its own economy, with the price of oil less than half what it was at the last referendum. Its application would attract opposition from countries like Spain, concerned about its own independence-aspirants.

Heaven knows why it would want to join this club just as the rest of us escape it – but it certainly can’t just stay a member and, if it tried to join afresh, it would probably fail.

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