It seems that the membership of the European Union is an issue that won’t go away for the Scottish National Party.
Scottish Government ministers today insisted that an independent Scotland would remain in the EU.
The simple question is, does the Scottish Government have a contract in law?
This is the fundamental question, if the answer was yes, then the SNP position of continued membership would be valid.
Unfortunately for them, there is no contract, the United Kingdom has sole rights in its entirety; these rights do not transfer to others (Scotland) in the event of an independence successful vote.
This means that Scotland if independent would have to re-apply for membership.
Finance Secretary John Swinney has admitted negotiations on the detail would be needed.
So, what happens if the negotiations fail or another member objects to the membership?
Does Scotland still hold the membership?
And at that point, what would be its status?
Clearly we would not, this isn’t a menu that the SNP Government can pick the bits they want to have in Europe from, far from it, they have to satisfy the EU, not the other way round.
Officials from the European Commission have confirmed in a letter, sent to a House of Lords committee that an independent Scotland would have to reapply.
This leads the SNP continuing with their ‘we are members regardless’ position as completely untenable and further lends weight to argument developed by opposition parties that the SNP Government is deceiving the people.
Trust is now a major issue for this government to address having painted themselves into a corner by their own gross stupidity.
Did they really think that Scots weren’t going to ask questions?
The Scottish Government maintains that because Scotland is already a member of the EU as part of the UK, it would automatically be given membership upon becoming independent.
Where’s the contract Alex Salmond?
A letter to the Lords economic affairs committee contradicts the SNP Government claim and says independence “would not have a neutral impact”.
“If a territory of a member state ceases to be part of that member state because it has become an independent state then the treaties would cease to apply to that territory.”
Each day the case for independence is weakened by the disastrous way that the campaign has been run. People will look at this as either the SNP Government cannot understand the law, they are deliberately trying to mislead to cover up their own incompetence and lack of preparation, they are stupid or they think we are stupid.
As a point of interest, Law isn't one of the areas that the SNP Government excels in as the UK Supreme Court Judges can attest.
The EU letter says Scotland would become “a third country” and the rest of the UK would remain within the EU as the successor state.
That is the bottom line, Westminster doesn’t lose anything in terms of the contract but Scotland loses everything including EU grants and EU law which currently covers Scotland.
How long would it take for Scotland to re-entry the EU as a full member?
Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney cannot tell anyone that precise information.
Scotland, as a new state, like other applicants, would have to comply with article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty, which means “the applicant needs to enter negotiations with the member states”.
And it is possible that Spain given its problems with Catalonia will object to Scottish membership pretty hard.
A spokesman for the Scotland Office said:
“The UK government has been consistent and clear in its view that an independent Scotland would most likely need to seek re-entry into the EU on renegotiated terms. The Scottish Government has failed to acknowledge this point or address the issues it raises from agricultural support, to fish quotas, to structural funds. People in Scotland have a right to know the full implications if Scotland were to leave the UK family.”
It seems that some people in the Scottish Government have a lot of explaining to do, particularly why they cannot recognise that no contract exists with the Scottish Government and the EU. If you take the SNP position to its logical conclusion, as we are already in NATO we wouldn’t have to apply.
Using that logic as well Scotland would be automatically a member of the United Nations without applying and have a permanent seat on the Security Council.
And we all know that is nonsense.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University