SNP EU plans in serious doubt

Alex Salmond’s plans for independence have received another blow, this time over membership of the European Union.

Another day, another nail in the coffin of Alex Salmond’s plans for independence – this time over membership of the European Union.

According to the plans published by ministers in Scotland on Tuesday, as an existing constituent part of the EU an independent Scotland would, according to the SNP, simply continue to remain within it if it opted for independence. The paper states:

Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union provides the legal basis, and defines the procedure, for a conventional enlargement where the candidate country is seeking membership from outside the EU. As Scotland joined the EU in 1973 this is not the starting position from which the Scottish Government will be pursuing independent EU membership. Article 49 does not appear to be the appropriate legal base on which to facilitate Scotland’s transition to full EU membership.”

These words, however, have now been cast into considerable doubt following comments made by the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who himself faces a separatist movement in the region of Catalonia.

Speaking yesterday during a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande, the Prime Minister made clear that Scotland should not expect to be given an automatic place within the EU. He explained:

“It’s very clear to me, as it is for everybody else in the world, that a country that would obtain independence from the EU would remain out of the EU, and that is good for Scottish citizens to know and for all EU citizens to know.”

The Prime Minister continued by saying that the treaties “apply only to member states that have agreed and ratified them, and if a part of one member state cleaves from the member state, it converts itself into a third part with relation to the EU. That is the law and that law applies.”

Responding to the comments on Newsnight Scotland last night, SNP finance secretary John Swinney reiterated the contents of the independence paper, explaining:

“We are members of the European Union.

“Once Scotland votes for independence – a Yes vote in September 2014 – we remain still within the European Union and the day of independence doesn’t happen until 2016.

“So we are doing this from within the European Union as part of our membership.”

Declaring the Spanish PM’s word to have added considerably more uncertainty around the SNP’s proposals, head of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling responded:

“This is another blow to Alex Salmond’s claims that nothing would change if we vote to go it alone. The Spanish Prime Minister has just made it clear that everything would change.

“We now know what the position of the Spanish government would be if we vote for independence.”

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19 Responses to “SNP EU plans in serious doubt”

  1. cynicalhighlander

    I suggest the editor would get his facts right and not take the BBC Scotland (Labour party) interpretation as being an honest version.

    What Mariano Rajoy didn’t say Nov

    This was also confirmed on R4 this morning by someone direct from Spain confirming that it had sod all to do with Scotland.

  2. Slithy

    No, Scotland did NOT join the E.E.C. in 1973, the U.K. did, Scotland is a member as part of the U.K., should Scotland leave the U.K. then it ALSO leaves what is now the E.U.

  3. YoHoHo

    Why is this site so against self determination? It seems to me that you are doing the right wing press’s job for them.

  4. swatnan

    Lets have QMV for all EU decisions. Nova Scotia should still apply and appeal.

  5. David Carr

    At the end of the day, we all know damn well that it will all come down to brute economics. What will make most sense to the EU – *and to the UK* – a Scotland as a member of the EU or outwith the EU. For example, would the UK or would it not wish to trade freely with a friendly neighbour? Would the rest of the EU wish to have to cope with the economic danger to the UK if they are not allowed to do so?

    The decision will be made by adults, in their mutual, enlightened interest. People should stop pretending otherwise for propagandistic purposes.

    In the real world, we can fully expect the UK to be the strongest advocates of Scotland’s membership.

  6. Alfred

    So does that mean that once Scotland leaves the UK, the UK is not ‘United’ anymore and therefore the ‘UK’ does not exist. Logically that would mean that what remains could not be part of the EU. If this is correct, I’LL be voting for Scotland’s independence!!.

  7. swatnan

    It’ll still be ‘United’. Wales and NI and the Channel islands and various rocks dotted around our coast, will remain.

  8. Boston_scoundrel

    But presumably the name of the country will have to change – it is currently the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain is the island of Scotland, Wales and England. Without Scotland, presumably the country would have to be called the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland….

  9. swatnan

    Good point. It was the uniting of the 2 Kingdoms of England and Scotland under James I/ VI which led to the UK, but if a country ceceeds from the UK, rather than dissolving the Act of Union, then …
    The Constitutional Lawyers are going to have a field day. The ‘UK’ is a good brand name to hold onto.

  10. John Ruddy

    Its not against self-determination. Its not the site’s fault that the SNP fail to use any evidence to make its case properly.

    Apparently now the Edinburgh agreement means the EU have to give into the SNP’s demands! And that’s from an MEP!!!

  11. chris rivers

    Which MEP would that be exactly? Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is not an MEP. Are we supposed to believe his view on Scotland remaining a member of the EU? Why? Does he have specific expertise? Is he an expert on Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union? The point is that Scotland has made its case and all Ed Jacobs can call on for meagre support to oppose the plan for Scotland as an EU member is a Spanish PM! What about the Danish support for Scotland?

  12. John Ruddy

    That was the view of Alyn Smith, an SNP MEP.

    Ultimately, if the PM of Spain wants to use his veto, he can do. The law doesnt come into it. Unless youre a seriously deluded nat, it would seem.

  13. chris rivers

    Should Scotland leave the UK, rump-UK will be changed as a state and will need to reapply as a new entity to remain within the EU. Scotland as one of the EU’s few oil producers would be in a stronger position, the EU won’t want Scotland outside the fold. But rump-UK might be quite disadvantaged and may not be allowed back in. Especially as Cameron wants to leave anyway. He may not need that referendum in 2017.

  14. Alister Rutherford

    As Mr Jacobs points out Rajoy’s comments came during a joint press conference with the French President M Hollande. Why did Mr Jacobs not mention Hollande’s response? Perhaps because he said that it was an internal Spanish matter. Thus confirming that Rajoy was not really commenting on Scotland. After all he admitted that he knew nothing about what was in the White Paper. Secondly the French President pointedly did not support Sr Rajoy’s views. Perhaps Mr Jacobs ignored this as it rather seriously diminishes the worth of Sr Rajoy’s comments.

  15. swatnan

    It might be a good opportunity to relieve the logjam to the Throne. When Scotland breaks away, why not let Harry be The Last King of Scotland (because he’s a ginger).
    And Charles & Camilla packed off to be King&Queen of Wales (he’s already the Prince). And let William & Kate take the English Thone when QEII abdicates. NI can have Tony&Cherie (being RC and Protestant).

  16. Selohesra

    30% of UK income tax is raised from just 1% of the population – I wonder if that 1% is mostly resident outside Scotland and what that means to the income tax burden that will fall on ordinary people in Scotland

  17. uglyfatbloke

    It not so simple a situation as all that and it is not at all certain that vetoes from anyone would de relevant. The EU does not have a structure of any kind in relation to the dissolution of a member state, The Spanish PMs statement is worthless; it is part of internal Spanish politics – specifically the Catalan independence campaign. He’s not an expert on the EU constitution and has no understanding at all of the constitution of the UK…there again nor does Cameron….nor most people actually, which says something rather sad about the state of the teaching of history in our schools. The UK is the product of the Treaty of 1707 between England and Scotland (constitutionally Wales is a principality of England and NI is a province of the UK). However much the gnats may say otherwise, their aim is the dissolution of the 1707 Treaty. Strictly speaking ‘Alfred’ (below) is quite right, though any country can call itself whatever it likes, so the name ‘UK’ could be retained. The key thing here is the (unlikely) dissolution of the 1707 Treaty, The Acts of Union are not actually germane at all; they did nothing more than abolish the existing English and Scottish parliaments to make way for the new ‘British’ parliament.
    The European Commission and Parliament could devise a mechanism for excluding a state or territory from the EU, but that would have to be signed off unanimously by the member states….not much chance of that with any of the states that fish in Scottish waters.
    OTH someone should be calling gnats out on EU membership anyway. It is not absolutely clear that Scotland is best served by being in the EU or that negotiating from within would be better than negotiating from outside the EU.
    Cameron’s concern of course is that his government would also have to enter EU negotiations over – among other things – European Parliament representation, the EU rebates, the CAP and he would not have such a strong lever with fishing rights,

  18. I've Voted YES for Scotland


  19. I've Voted YES for Scotland

    Of course the EU has to give in to Scottish demands. Otherwise Scotland would leave the EU. That’s because Scotland is democratic, unlike England which is a dictatorship.

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