Saturday, 17 April 2004

Roll on independence

So, an independent Scotland may not automatically qualify for EU membership:
The suggestion came after a statement from Romano Prodi, the European Commission president, who indicated that any newly-independent region would have to make a fresh application to join the EU.
Labour Party politicians are chortling:
Scotland would be a new country while the UK would retain its seat at Europe’s top table. A vote for the SNP is a vote for isolation.
I was rather surprised to read this comment from the SNP:
There would be a process of negotiation going on for Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, part of which would include us inheriting the treaty obligations of the UK
I had always thought that the SNP's position was that the British state was founded in 1707 by the voluntary merger of England (plus conquered Wales) on the one hand, and Scotland on the other. Under that interpretation - which does seem logical to me - the departure of either Scotland or England (plus Wales) would mean the ending of the said British state. In other words, all subsequent entities would either remain in the EU or all would have to reapply.

The real question, surely, is why on earth anyone would want to be in the EU. If Scotland voted for independence and discovered itself to be unexpectedly outside the Frankenreich, would we perhaps decide to remain out? To be "Independent in Europe", to coin a phrase. Knowing that Brussels wants Scottish oil as well as Scottish fish, we may well choose to follow the example of our wealthy Norwegian neighbours.