Friday, May 30, 2014

Scottish independence: SNP MEP Alyn Smith says a Scottish independence supporter writing in support is "welcome breath of fresh air", guess what, the guy doesn’t have the power to grant Scotland EU membership or anything else, SNP grasping at straws for good PR.

Dear All

Do you know what a think tank is?

Simply put, it is a group of people who come up with ideas; they are usually outside active political decision making.

Their opinions may persuade decision makers then again they may not, lots of people have ideas, it doesn't mean their ideas get acted on.

Certain think tanks however do catch the eye of governments; generally this is because of networking.

Graham Avery is the European Commission's honorary director general.

Honorary means he has no power to make a decision on whether Scotland would be allowed to join the European Union, simply put, the 28 current members have a right of veto.

Avery says in a report that no EU member state would have "a material interest" in an independent Scotland being outside the European Union.

The first thing to remember is that he doesn't speak for the 28 members and he doesn't for the European Union.

Secondly, Spain has internal domestic problems; they certainly don't want to enflame them by having Scotland as a member thus putting more pressure on them to grant Catalonia an independence referendum.

Thirdly, we should remember that Graham Avery has already spoken in favour of the Scottish government's aim of EU membership, he therefore isn't impartial.

He also says something rather odd, in the report, by the European Policy Centre think tank, that refusal could cause "a legal nightmare" for other member states.

It doesn't, the only legal nightmare would be to deny the 28 members their right of veto and that cannot happen.

If Scotland leaves the United Kingdom, it loses all benefits of the EU/UK contract, the contract isn't transferable; it is a specific agreement, although if a country enlarges such as what happened to Germany, this is different. The German member state when it reunified didn't need to re-apply because principally this was first and foremost a matter of German internal politics. The former East Germany automatically inherited the rights which all EU Germans enjoyed.

Scotland is the opposite scenario, by leaving, even although British passport holders who are Scottish would retain EU citizenship, the country as a legal entity would not.

That said all EU law would be invalid unless there was an Act of Parliament which would effectively bridged the gap; that would create a legal nightmare because it may have to have a time limit or sunset clause.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith called the report a "welcome breath of fresh air".

Just because someone has an opinion, puts it in a report doesn't mean any of it holds water, the "welcome breath of fresh air" doesn't mean any of it is a fact.

The Better Together campaign said Scotland could lose the UK's "special deals in the EU".

Although Avery negotiated the UK's entry into the European Community in the 1970s, times have changed; Britain was effectively shut out of Europe by the French.

The Scottish government said its plan for membership would be through Article 48 of the Treaty of the European Union.

This has been effectively ruled out by member states, it requires an agreement by all members and it attempts to circumvent the right of veto.

The UK government and Better Together have argued that Scotland would have to re-apply as an independent state under Article 49 of the EU Treaty.

That means the 18 month timescale to meet the Holyrood 2016 election would be impossible, it could take an independent Scotland several years.

In his policy paper, Avery argues that the decision on Scotland's membership would be taken by "the EU's leaders in the European Council, and they will decide on the basis of practical and political considerations".

His next bit is assumption, as he said politically it would be "difficult to see how the Union could reject five million Scots, who are already EU citizens".

Five million Scots is actually 5 million British passport holders!

If Avery acknowledges the problems of Spain, his point of no material interest goes out the window.

Spain has already experience civil war in the 1930's, the benefits of Scotland's membership, budgetary contribution, fisheries resources, etc, pale in comparison to what their domestic situation could end up as.

Alyn Smith said:

"This report is a very welcome breath of fresh air, and debunks much of the nonsense peddled on Scotland and the EU by people who should know better.

He added:

"This paper poses, quite rightly, a few questions over the mechanics of the process whereby Scotland will transition from a region of a member state to a member state in our own right, but the conclusions are sound."

What Smith chooses to ignore is Article 49 and the right of veto.

Also Avery's views contradict those of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Barroso claimed in February that it would be "extremely difficult, if not impossible" for an independent Scotland to join the EU, that was dismissed immediately by the SNP who said that Barroso was angling for a Nato post. And that becaue of this he was biased and therefore his opinion should be ignored despite him being in a position of power within the EU.

Barroso isn't the only EU senior official to say no to the Alex Salmond and unpopular Nicola Sturgeon fairytale.

But Avery who holds no power over everything is a "welcome breath of fresh air".

A spokesman for Better Together said:

"As part of the UK we get special deals in the EU. What Alex Salmond needs to be honest about is what would happen to our opt-outs on the Euro and the no borders immigration scheme, as well as what would happen to our rebate. Telling Scots that everything will be alright on the night simply isn't credible."

What every thing boils down to is simply this; does Scotland have a contract of membership?

The answer is no, Westminster holds solely the contract between the EU and the United Kingdom.

And as much as Salmond and co along with the various interested parties what to try and keep kicking the can down the road, they won't be getting pass Article 49, this states anyone who wishes to apply to be a new member state must apply in this manner.

No contract mean no membership, no membership means no EU rights for Scotland.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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