EU voters – Independent Scotland should join EU, but not automatically

Voters in six EU countries other than Britain have given their thumbs up to an independent Scotland gaining membership of the European Union.

Voters in six EU countries (not including Britain) have given their thumbs up to an independent Scotland gaining membership of the European Union – but not as an automatic right, according to polling carried out by YouGov.

In addition to Great Britain, the survey focuses mainly on attitudes to the EU and the European Parliamentary elections in France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

Included in the poll, however, is the question ‘If Scotland does vote to become an independent country, do you think it should be allowed to join the European Union?’

The poll finds that across the countries surveyed, clear majorities favour EU membership for Scotland in such circumstances except for Britain as a whole, where just under 50 per cent of those polled believe it should be allowed to join the Union.

The findings in full show:

Q: If Scotland does vote to become an independent country, do you think it should be allowed to join the European Union?

Britain France Germany Denmark Sweden Finland Norway
Yes 48% 61% 70% 77% 68% 65% 55%
No 26% 16% 9% 6% 5% 8% 12%
Don’t Know 27% 24% 21% 17% 27% 27% 33%

The results are likely to prove a boost to the Yes Scotland campaign, which has faced continued pressure over its policy on the status of an independent Scotland within the European Union.

The Scottish government’s White Paper on independence has said that Scotland would simply continue as a member of the European Union, with Alex Salmond having argued that it would be absurd if it had to re-apply for membership if it opted to break away from the rest of the UK.

In February, however, the now outgoing President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso told the Andrew Marr programme that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to join the EU under such circumstances.

Whilst the headline figures may prove good news for Salmond, his cheers will be be dented by the news that the YouGov poll shows that across all seven counties polled, opinion is largely supportive of the idea that Scotland should re-apply for EU membership rather than continue as now.

Q: When do you think Scotland should be allowed to join the European Union?

Britain France Germany Denmark Sweden Finland Norway
Automatic Membership 34% 47% 42% 47% 40% 40% 35%
Re-Apply 62% 48% 55% 50% 57% 57% 60%
Don’t Know 4% 4% 3% 3% 3% 4% 5%
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11 Responses to “EU voters – Independent Scotland should join EU, but not automatically”

  1. Bill Cruickshank

    Most EU supporting Scots I know are voting YES, because they think there is a greater chance of staying in EU as an independent country, rather than being dragged out of EU by a Tory/UKIP coalition.

  2. swatnan

    Its a good point, and no doubt Salmond will be using it to boost the YES Vote.
    Increasingly looks like UKIP is forcing the issue on the UK leaving Europe, despite commonsense suggesting it stay in. The mere fact of having the Referendum means people will opt out rather than in.

  3. Bill Cruickshank

    He may well do, but one of the interesting things happening in the independence debate is that Salmond is no longer the driver. Many YES folk are grateful that he got them to where they are, but the grassroots are now driving the YES movement on the streets. YES Scotland and the Radical Independence Campaign have many thousands of activists working the doorsteps and streets and many of them are not SNP members or followers. I honestly never thought I would see the campaign take off in the way that it has. Indy genie is out of the bottle. Will he return? I hae ma doobt’s.

  4. lescunningham

    I must have missed something – “six EU countries … France, Germany,
    Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway”. When did Norway join the EU?

    In any case, I doubt if the electorates of any EU countries will actually be asked for their opinions on whether or how an independent Scotland could become a member state.

  5. ShuggyMcGlumpher

    There’s an interesting take in this piece from a small group of free-marketeer nationalists. The combination of these two positions represents a tiny minority in Scotland but the general analysis is broadly correct. The Nationalists have taken a position that is too narrow and Euro-enthusiasm is one of these. People in Scotland generally more pro-European than England but not by a huge margin. It isn’t an issue that’s going to swing the referendum one way or the other. And, as someone below has pointed out, it’s not as if the voters in EU members are the ones that are going to decide Scotland’s membership in the event of a Yes in September…

  6. Pat Lee

    Does left foot forward believe. It is in Europe’s interest for It major oil producer to remain oitside Europe for a day in the event of Yes vote.?

  7. Pat Lee

    The indie genie came out of the bottle in 1997. When the Scottish peoples took the brave decision to aquire devolved power.
    Since that time two significant issues came to light. Scotland being a left of centre psyche, watched the Labour party implode due to the corruption within and the control outwith it’s Scottish branch.
    And the emergence of the SNP AS THE TRUE LEFT OF CENTRE PARTY. Adopting and implementing a socially just agenda greater than even The Labour party were prepared to go.
    These are the reasons, we will have a Yes vote on 18th September 2014.

  8. uglyfatbloke

    Absolutely right. One question that is ignored by both sides is how long would it take for the EU to organise a mechanism for excluding Scotland before it could apply to join. Common sense and practicality would suggest that there would be a period of ‘no change’ so that businesses , EU nationals in Scotland and Scottish nationals in EU countries could arrange their affairs.

  9. simhedges

    Actually, it was the British people in 1997. The whole of the UK voted for a Labour and Lib Dem policy for devolution, endorsed by the Scots and Welsh in local referenda.

  10. simhedges

    If Scotland joins the EU as an Independent country, it would qualify for more MEPs (probably 13 in all, like Slovakie which also has just over 5 million residents) than it has currently (5). However, as the total number of MEPs is capped at 751, this means that the UK will lose 5 MEPs of course, but other EU countries will need to give up 8 MEPs to make room.

  11. simhedges

    How long? About 5 seconds. Scotland has no membership in its own right (other than on the Committee of Regions). It would instantly be given status as a member of the EEA (like Norway). Job done. All Citizen of Scotland would remain British Citizens (unless they actively renounced it, or were newborns) so no problem there.

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