Saturday, July 09, 2016

Scotland and the EU

One result of the British vote to leave the EU has been a revival of calls for Scotland to leave the U.K. Doing so is considerably more attractive if combined with EU membership. That raises the question of whether, if Brexit were followed by Scottish secession, the EU would be willing to let the Scots in.

One argument in favor, from the standpoint of the EU, is that encouraging Scottish secession is a way of punishing the U.K. for leaving and so deterring other countries from doing so. One argument against is that allowing a breakaway region to join sets a precedent that some current EU members, most obviously Spain, might be unhappy with. The Scots could, of course, argue that the precedent would only be relevant to the case of breakaway regions from non-member states. The Spanish might or might not be convinced.

10 Comments:

At 2:53 PM, July 09, 2016, Blogger John David Galt said...

The EU has already adopted a policy that if part of a member country secedes from the country, the part is not automatically an EU member but must apply anew. Of course, this did not anticipate a case where the country leaves the EU first.

I gather that the EU probably would not accept Scotland, as they want countries that will help pay for the ongoing operating deficit caused by the union's welfare-state policies, not add to them. The countries they'd most like to have join are small countries running surpluses, such as Switzerland, which isn't in any hurry to join.

It's a semi-joke, but one way Scotland might get around the rules is to propose a referendum in which England, Wales, and Northern Ireland together secede from the UK, thus allowing Scotland to inherit the UK's EU membership while taking the other parts out. The problem with this is that it would require a vote of the English and Welsh, who probably wouldn't approve.

 
At 5:22 AM, July 10, 2016, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One argument against is that allowing a breakaway region to join sets a precedent that some current U.K. members, most obviously Spain, might be unhappy with"

Presumably you meant current EU members?

 
At 6:25 AM, July 10, 2016, Anonymous Robbo said...

"encouraging Scottish secession is a way of punishing the U.K. for leaving"

Given the popularity of Scottish independence among the English population it would be more of a reward than a punishment.

 
At 8:17 AM, July 10, 2016, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

Thanks. Fixed.

 
At 2:04 AM, July 11, 2016, Blogger Jonathan said...

"The Spanish might or might not be convinced."

I don't know about the Spanish, but I doubt that Mariano Rajoy would be convinced, which is the immediate problem; unless his opponents get their act together and manage to oust him from his rather precarious position.

 
At 2:06 AM, July 11, 2016, Blogger Jonathan said...

I like the idea of the UK staying in while England and Wales drop out; especially as my passport is a UK passport...

 
At 9:11 AM, July 15, 2016, Blogger Milhouse said...

One way for Scotland to do this would be for it to negotiate a deal with Ireland for the Irish to annex an independent Scotland, and form a "United Republic of Ireland and Scotland" in which each component country is completely self-governing. That could be put to a referendum in Scotland, asking "Should Scotland remain a member of the United Kingdom, or leave the UK and unite with the Republic of Ireland?". If it passes, declare it done and present it to the English as a fait accompli. Thus Scotland would remain in the EU.

Then the "United Republic" could vote to split, with each component remaining in the EU.

 
At 3:00 PM, July 27, 2016, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some politician in Scotland claims to be investigating the possibility that Scotland could remain in both the UK and the EU, through some sort of federated organization. I don't know how serious he was. He didn't say what the official currency would be, but having sorted through euro minor coinage and trying to do the same with British pounds, I'd vote for the euro.

 
At 9:09 PM, August 10, 2016, Anonymous Se├ín said...

And the bog brained paddys are supposed to just want this because red hair

 
At 5:02 AM, September 16, 2016, Blogger Ende Tion said...

A nice piece.

 

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