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Getting Away Scot-Free?
Independence Ain't Easy

Reality is hitting the Scottish independence movement like a freight train. Last week, the UK’s three main political parties stepped up their Better Together campaign, vowing that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to keep the pound. Now EU President Jose Manuel Barroso has warned that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to become an independent member state of the EU. In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Barroso said yesterday:

In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state it will have to apply. […] Accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all other member states of the European Union. […] We have seen Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance. So it is to some extent a similar case because it’s a new country and so I believe it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of our countries getting the agreement of the others.

Spain feels threatened by the upcoming Scottish referendum because independence followed by a seamless accession to the EU would presumably embolden Catalan and other secessionist causes in Spain and elsewhere. But even if all current EU members were to approve Scotland’s membership, the new nation would be left with a bit of a pickle: It would also be expected to join the euro, which it has repeatedly said it has no intention of doing.

What Scots must come to terms with is this: the EU would likely welcome an independent Scotland if it came ready and willing to sign up for the euro and all the other grand projects the Brussels bureaucrats can dream up. But if an independent Scotland plans to be part of the “EU awkward” squad, hating the euro and fighting the growth of power in Brussels, the path will be much trickier. Once it is independent from the UK but still outside the EU, on the other hand, Scotland will be in a desperately weak position. Brussels negotiators are known for milking every possible advantage in accession talks.

Scotland may end up throwing off what it sees as undue influence from London only to be stuck with the even less comfortable burden of European rule. From the standpoint of maximizing Scotland’s power over its own affairs, working out a confederation within the UK while backing the UK against European overreach seems increasingly like the best bet.

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  • JohnOfEnfield

    Most of us English people (60% according to some polls) wouldn’t be unhappy if Scotland left & set up home on their own complete with customs barriers & trade tariffs. We are fed up with being abused for our generosity – the Government grant to Scotland is 14% higher per head than in rUK. Amazingly enough the proportion of Scots who want to leave the UK is currently a mirror image (40%) of England. It is also laughable that Salmond wants to use the GBP given that his vision of a socialist republic north of the border would soon run out of other people’s money. Why should we allow him the shelter of a stable currency whilst he indulges his Marxist fantasies? Braveheart indeed.

  • Boritz

    Googled “What Texas can learn from Scotland” but couldn’t find much that is relevant. No EU worries. Might have to come up with a Sam Houston Dollar bill.

  • John Tyler

    The Scots have to face reality; if they really want independence they must issue their own currency and be willing to make a go of it totally on their own; free of the UK pound sterling and free of the EU.
    Otherwise , they are just pissing into the wind and acting like a spoiled child to attract attention.

    • Andrew Allison

      It’s a little unfair to blame the Scots, a minority of whom appear to favour independence for the actions of the rent-seeking leadership of the SNP.

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