Scottish Independence and Europe: Who Does This Barroso Guy Think He Is?
Today’s Think Scotland column takes a gander at the rumpus over an independent Scotland’s accession to the EU. Until recently the SNP promised that said accession would be automatic. Now it’s simply “common-sense”. This is because Jose Manuel Barroso, the Spanish Iberian agent* at the heart of the EU Commission, has made an awkward intervention. Scotland would, he says, not be an automatic member of the club at all. Intuitively this is obvious just as Scotland would not be an automatic member of the United Nations. It would have to apply. Once it applied it’s application would most probably be accepted. There are few plausible grounds upon which to reject it.
With regard to Brussels, however, the truth is that no-one quite knows precisely what would happen. It is most unlikely that Scotland would fail to meet the criteria for EU membership. It is also the case that Scotland would be in little position to dictate terms. Small countries do not have as much clout as they used to think they do. That doesn’t mean Scotland would lose out in every particular, merely that in exchange for favourable rulings on questions such as the currency and border control one would expect Scotland to have to cede ground on other matters. That’s how the game works.
But the SNP have mishandled this…