David Miliband joins in the punch and judy show over a
post-independence Scotland's EU status
EC expert’s advice on Scotland’s EU membership dismissed by Miliband
by Emily Badiozzaman
David Miliband has argued that despite written evidence from experts, the SNP claims that an independent Scotland would automatically remain in the EU are false and “fantasy island.”
He continued that an independent Scotland would find itself “in limbo in Europe” and suggested that acceptance into the EU would be a lengthy process; drawing comparisons to the 10 year road to membership that Croatia had to take. Miliband focussed on specific details of EU membership application stating; “There are 35 chapters of EU legislation that have to be gone through – line by line – and all 27 countries have to agree on every line.
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“The final part is that you have to get agreement of all 27 countries, soon to be 28, of all ministers, and then it has to be ratified by each country.
“The real warning I am issuing is that there is a real danger, which the Scottish people need to think about – and it is their choice – that leaving the UK can leave you in limbo in Europe, and that needs to be understood.”
Mr Miliband also claimed that Scotland, as an additional member, would have a direct impact on the relative wealth of other member states and their voting weight within the EU.
The former foreign secretary’s insistence over the issue contradicts top level expert opinion which emerged last week confirming the SNP’s position on the issue.
Graham Avery, Honorary Director-General of the European Commission and Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre in Brussels said “Scotland’s five million people, having been members of the EU for 40 years, have acquired rights as European citizens.
“For practical and political reasons they could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission.”
Dr James Ker-Lindsay of the London School of Economic, who is an expert on 'secessionist conflict' appeared to support the SNP’s claims that Scotland will be welcomed by the world’s community of nations by saying that Scotland would become a 'fully integrated' member of the international community within months of becoming an independent state.
The debate has been fuelled further by Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement last week in which she revealed that the Scottish Government had not asked law officers for formal advice on EU membership and that ministers would be dropping a £12,000 legal action, which had been taken to prevent the public from finding out whether or not the advice existed.
The debate over continued European Union (EU) membership presumes that Scots would want their newly independence state to remain inside the EU.
British voters decided in a referendum to join a common European market but had no say over further EU integration. Consequently, Scots would be entitled to a referendum on EU membership before becoming independent. This right may well become a demand as the euro currency appears to be fundamentally flawed and threatening to undermine the entire EU project.
The matter is complicated further as Scots may lose their citizenship rights as Europeans should David Cameron deliver on his promise to offer, after the next general election, all British citizens a referendum on continued EU membership.
Scots could therefore find themselves out of Europe because of euro scepticism South of the border.
Westminster not fighting Scotland’s corner
The SNP claims that Scotland’s interests are being actively damaged by the simmering
Euro-scepticism in Westminster.
Last week the party claimed that the UK Government was failing to stand up for farmers in Scotland, who face the prospect of being left with the lowest levels of CAP payments in the EU under both of the policy’s two pillars.
The CAP budget is due for renegotiation in a few weeks’ time, however as Scotland is not an independent country, say the SNP, it will be barred from being present at the vital talks. The UK government has according to Nationalists shown little interest in addressing the current situation which disadvantages Scottish farmers.
Commenting, SNP MSP Willie Coffey who sits on the Europe and External Relations Committee said: “Where other EU countries have governments fighting for the best possible deal in European negotiations, Scotland is left reliant upon the disinterested efforts of Westminster.
“The real threat that exists to Scotland’s relationship with Europe is the determination of parties at Westminster to outbid each other on how rabid their opposition to the EU can be.
“That serves the interests of nobody. People would much prefer Scotland to be independent in Europe rather than isolated in the UK, and that is why I am confident of a Yes vote in 2014.”
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