Mr Salmond’s idea of independence is less brave heart, more weak knees. He wants to go cap in hand to the EU and the Bank of England to seek dependence. It always struck me as an odd vision. If you want independence, why not have your own currency and be your own boss? It was amusing to see the EU in the person of Mr Barroso upset the Scottish nationalists, after the EU has done so much to help “regional identities” like Scotland through their active promotion of a Europe of the regions.
Mr Barroso in a way was just stating the obvious. If Scotland becomes “independent” in the very dependent way Mr Salmond has in mind, they will need to apply to the EU to regain their continued dependence on the EU. Of course Scotland would cease to be a member of the EU by virtue of being part of the UK. Of course it will require the consent of all the other member states to Scotland’s admission in her own right.
Mr Barroso may be wrong in thinking other member states would want to block Scotland. The rest of the UK would have no wish to stop Scotland joining. Mr Barroso thinks Spain might wish to do so. It would be best to ask Spain that question so we can all know the definitive answer.
But what we do all know is that any Scottish membership will require negotiating. Scotland will have no automatic right to the special terms the UK currently has. Why should Scotland be let off joining the Euro, a requirement on other new members? Would Scotland have different arrangements on borders and Home affairs as the UK currently does? Why should Scotland enjoy any contributions rebate in the way the UK does? Scotland will have to negotiate how many votes she would enjoy in Council meetings, what her budget contribution would have to be, and how many seats she would retain in the European Parliament. This would all take time and may not give Scotland the deal she wants.
The rest of the UK would also need to negotiate a new membership, unless we have already voted to leave. Whilst the rest of the UK “inherits” the UK membership I presume the EU would want to use the excuse to seek to renegotiate our membership from their point of view. The number of MEPs would have to be reduced. The number of votes in Council would presumably be subject to a reduction. The rest of the UK would want a lower financial contribution, and would need to see off moves to reduce the rebate further. Eurosceptics want a new relationship anyway, so Scotland leaving might just be an added complication to a negotiation that is underway or going to happen.
PS I disagree with the notion that if Scotland votes for Out of the UK they might not be able to negotiate out. I think we should very clearly honour the intention of the Scottish people in their referendum. We should respect and implement the result either way, however narrow the margin.