Why the EU should welcome an independent Scotland

The comments below focus on the importance of an EU perspective on an independent Scotland’s EU membership, highlighting the EU as a distinctive, sui generis and new type of legal organisation. They argue that a strong case can be made for Scotland’s continued EU membership on the basis of EU law itself.

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Scotland and the EU: Comment by JO MURKENS

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott’s reliance on Article 48 is far from persuasive on technical legal grounds (is it the correct legal basis to accommodate a new Member State?) as well as for strategic reasons (the negotiation process may well be dominated by the UK’s negotiating team pursuing its own agenda). But even if an independent Scotland’s continued membership in the EU were ‘smooth and straightforward’, Douglas-Scott provides no answer to the question as to what kind of member an independent Scotland would be.

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Scotland and the EU: Comment by KALYPSO NICOLAIDIS

With the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU formalised and entrenched a right of exit (article 50) which is at the heart of its nature as a polity: the peoples of Europe have come together and will remain together by choice, not under duress. In the same way as the exit clause proclaims loudly and clearly that EU member states and their citizens remain in the EU by choice, leaving the EU should be a collective choice too. It should not be a choice inferred from another choice, that of one part of a country to leave the whole.

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Scotland in the EU: Comment by DIMITRY KOCHENOV

the Union cannot be possibly expected to throw its weight behind ensuring that there is no choice for the nations seeking independence within Europe – it is not the Union’s realm. The contrary would amount to turning the EU into an instrument of blackmail of the emerging states by the existing state entities which is radically deprived of any purpose and is in strong contradiction with the values of democracy and the rule of law which the Union espouses.

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Scotland and the EU: Comment by STEPHEN TIERNEY

I agree with Sionaidh that the accession of an independent Scotland to the European Union is not in any serious doubt. I develop this point in a paper written with Katie Boyle here. In this blog I argue that although accession will no doubt take time, there is unlikely to be any period within which Scotland is effectively cast out of the EU. More speculatively I would like to ask whether there might in fact a duty on the part of the EU to negotiate Scotland’s membership, and whether the Secession Reference to the Supreme Court of Canada may provide an interesting analogy supportive of this argument.

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Scotland and the EU: Comment by NEIL WALKER

The presence of the EU both offers a spur to new projects of national sovereignty but also, and in my view more emphatically, it supplies a set of considerations which makes the project of new statehood less pressing, less consequential, and provided we can trust in continuing UK membership of a continuing EU (both of which statuses, of course, need careful attention) less relevant and ultimately unnecessary.

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