LONDON — Scotland can “regain what was lost through Brexit” by joining the EU as an independent nation, the Scottish government argued Friday. But there are many big hurdles to overcome first.
A new document – written by senior figures working for the pro-independence government led by the Scottish National Party – sets out how an independent Scotland, free from ties to the UK, could rejoin the bloc years after being wrested away by the referendum on Brexit. .
The newspaper, however, comes at a difficult time for the Scottish independence movement.
After the defeat of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the prospect of a second seems more distant than ever. The SNP’s declining poll numbers and the Westminster government’s continued refusal to play along both play a role. Thanks to the chaos following Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation as Scottish First Minister and the steady revival of the Scottish Labor Party, the SNP is also expected to lose seats in next year’s general election, in a further blow hard.
However, the Scottish Government believes it has convincing arguments. His article is the latest in a series on what an independent Scotland would look like. They are designed to strengthen the case for separation – support for which remains consistent, according to POLITICO’s poll – and put it back in the headlines as Scotland’s new leader, Humza Yousaf, seeks to assert himself in this role.
In an opinion piece aimed at selling POLITICO newspaper, Yousaf writes that Scotland’s “voice” has been ignored by the British government.
“It is therefore not surprising that so many people in Scotland are wondering whether a better future for us would be to become an independent country and apply to become a full member state of the EU,” he says .
The newspaper, according to a Scottish government official who is not authorized to speak officially, is aimed in part at a “Brussels public”, and also constitutes an argument to powerful players on the continent. It begins by explaining how Scotland shares “fundamental values” with the European Union and asserts that “it has much to contribute as a responsible and reliable future EU member state” that is “fully committed to both in favor of the international rule of law and the strengthening of the EU Member State”. the rights of people. The passage is apparently intended to pit the Scottish government against Rishi Sunak’s Westminster administration, which is facing calls from its MPs to abandon Britain’s human rights framework over its deadlocked policy. ‘asylum.
In this vein, Yousaf writes in his article for POLITICO that his SNP “will never seek to involve other countries in a debate on independence between us and the British government” – a passage which could be read as both a message addressed to a suspicious Madrid. and as an assurance to the continent that the Scottish Government is not seeking any particular help from Europe in its battle for independence.
The paper reaffirms the SNP’s current position on returning to the bloc: that a successful vote for Scottish independence would count as a mandate to begin negotiations to also join the EU.
“Given the merit-based nature of the EU accession process, the Scottish Government is clear that Scotland would be well placed to fulfill the requirements of the accession process under Article 49 of the TEU (Treaty) in a fluid and rapid manner,” we can read in the newspaper. He optimistically cites Austria, Finland and Sweden as examples of countries that took less than two years to join the EU.
But, speaking ahead of its publication, Scottish Constitution Secretary Angus Robertson admitted there would be “challenges” Scotland would have to overcome to get through the strict process of joining the bloc under the Article 49.
The SNP sees Scotland’s strong Remain vote in the 2016 referendum as a key argument for independence – although winning all those voters remains a difficult prospect in itself. But the tricky detail of returning to the club could also cause problems for the Scottish nationalists.
For a start, the EU requires new members to commit to joining the euro – something the SNP is reluctant to do after currency concerns helped abandon their hopes of winning the 2014 referendum. Instead , the newspaper reaffirmed the party’s policy of using British sterling currency even after independence, before eventually switching to a new “Scottish pound”.
“The process of creating a Scottish pound would be closely aligned with the process of re-accession to the EU,” the paper said. Sam Taylor, who works for the pro-Union think tank These Islands, said it was an “indirect way of admitting” that Scotland cannot join the EU until it does. has not created its own central bank and its own currency – two deeply complicated projects.
The document also addresses the thorny issue of a possible trade border with England in the event of Scotland entering the single market, and admits that “soft checks” would be needed at the border for goods coming from and to neighboring England and Wales.
It argues that a new department responsible for trade with the rest of the UK would, through the use of online technology, help to minimize, but not eliminate, the amount of checks and administration required at the border. To some ears, this will sound like Conservative Brexit supporters who have advocated technological solutions as a way to resolve a thorny border dispute with Northern Ireland.
He also speaks optimistically of the opposition Labor Party’s own plans to renegotiate the Brexit deal with the European Union – as an example of how fewer controls could eventually be needed.
“The proposed solutions look exactly like the administrative clutter that Brexit has introduced into cross-border trade with the EU,” Taylor warned.