Friday, 2 November 2012

Am I Missing Something?

Membership of the European Union is a problem, not only for Westminster Tory MPs who want to leave the EU, but for those formally debating the membership of an independent Scotland.

The goings-on in Westminster will be of little interest to the Scottish Government but nevertheless the SNP MPs will keep a close eye on the situation.  We must hope they're not learning lessons from David Cameron on how to scunner voters with his nonsensical mutterings about changing Britain's contract with the EU.

Aside from David Cameron's EU problems at Westminster, for months now EU membership has been a topical issue on the Scottish political front.  Last week Alex Salmond found himself in a little difficulty because of some legal advice he had forgotten to describe as general, but he's not making the matter easy for himself.

Indeed, yesterday Graham Avery, an Honorary Director General of the EC, said he believed an independent Scotland would not need to apply for EU membership,

Mr Avery's remarks make sound common sense but other 'experts', such as Jo Murkens of the London School of Economics and Professor Robert Haxell of University College, London, whose joint submission to the Westminster Foreign Affairs Committee said : 'An independent Scotland will not automatically join the European Union but will have to apply.'

The UK government is not prepared to contact the EU in order to establish the rules of membership. What I don't understand about this stooshie is why Alex Salmond doesn't write directly to the the EU heid bummer and ask the procedure for (continued) membership of the EU. Someone in Brussels must have the answer and be prepared to reply to the enquiry.

Surely a letter is an easy solution, or am I missing something?  Why do I occasionally have doubts that there is anyone in the EU who knows the answer and if such a person exists, why do I feel they object to putting the legal facts in writing


Brian said...

The key question to be answered is whether Scotland will be a net contributor to the EU budget. The publication by the Commission of the Common Energy Policy to allocate North Sea oil to French and Spanish companies will ensue. If yes, then Scotland never left the EU. If no, the financial impact will be neutral and Scotland has also never left the EU.

JRB said...

The answer to Mr Salmond’s EU problems is simple ...
The answer to Mr Cameron’s EU problems is simple ...
The answer to all wishing an EU referendum is simple ...
The answer to all wishing to cut the EU budget is simple ...
The answer to all wishing to repatriate UK sovereign rights is simple ...


subrosa said...

I hadn't heard about that publication Brian. Have you any link?

subrosa said...

Morning JRB. Indeed that would be my solution and it does seem as if the Coalition - or at least the Tories therein - are moving that way.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

If memory serves (often it doesn't) VAT was introduced in order to meet the contribution towards EU membership.

Does that mean if the UK or an independent Scotland decide to leave or not join VAT will no longer apply?

Somehow I've the feeling not to hold my breath on that one.

Captain Ranty said...

I think your last paragraph sums it up Rosie.

No-one knows.

They don't know because the seven treaties tie everyone in knots. They produce so much garbage that they confuse themselves constantly.

Wee Eck should not have misled the people of Scotland the way he did. I fear he will regret not getting solid legal advice. I also now think he will lose the referendum because of this grave error. His credibility is zero.

Game over.

Ask again in 20 years.

By then the EU will have imploded and membership won't matter.


DougtheDug said...

Hi Subrosa,

This quote is from the Herald and it confirms what is said in other online sources.

Only the British Government can request the view of the European Commission but no such request is likely to be made.

In other words the EU will only accept a request for information from the Government of a member state so Holyrood is out in the cold on this one.

There is never going to be a definite answer on Scotland's position as a newly independent state in the EU but it's much more likely that we would stay in rather than the idea promulgated from Westminster that we would be kicked out.

The idea that the EU would kick out the most oil rich part of the current EU with the biggest fishing grounds in the current EU (200 mile fishing limit anyone? Jòse?) is simply part of the unionist Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) campaign.

The closest example which could be used for Scotland is Greenland. It gained Home Rule from Denmark and voted in 1982 to withdraw from the EU. It didn't leave until 1985 after three years of negotiation and that's with Greenland wanting to get out of the EU rather than trying to stay in. The idea that Scotland would be out in the cold on day one of independence is quite simply nuts.

Brian said...

No Common Energy Policy yet, but the Common Fisheries Policy was only invented when the prospect of grabbing the UK's fishing rights hove into view - to the especial detriment of the Scottish deepwater industry - I hope Alec Salmond won't sign away rights to Brussels.

Brian said...

I googled EU and North Sea oil and found this. It may only have been an attempt to regulate, but that's how the EU works, slowly and with sleight of hand until it's got what it wanted.

Demetrius said...

It will be people in Brussels or Berlin who will decide and very likely without much reference to either Edinburgh or Westminster. Moreover that decision is more likely to depend on short term political/financial interests than any long term consideration.

Dioclese said...

Congratulations on being the only part of the UK that actually wants to be in the EU!

subrosa said...

Brian, thanks for that link. Yer a whizz with Google.

Sleight of hand right enough - all day every day.

subrosa said...

That rings a bell with me too Crinkly, the subjects of the EU and VAT. Must see if I can find any evidence.

subrosa said...

It's an appalling state of affairs when an organisation so large doesn't know its rules Ranty.

You're right, it wasn't a smart thing to do. He outsmarted himself really.

Allan said...

I might be wrong but hasn't Barosso answered saying that Scotland would need to re-apply.

Doesn't really matter anyway because as "Captain ranty" says, the referendum is already lost.

subrosa said...

How strange Doug, don't you think?

Surely as Sector 9 ( think) we can write directly?

So how is Iceland handling their request for membership? Is a member state having to do it?

As you know I'm not pro-EU because I think it is a centipede gobbling up taxpayers' hard earned money, most of which is spent on salaries and swanky buildings.

subrosa said...

I don't think Alex Salmond will do that Brian as I think he'll stand down after the referendum, regardless of the result.

Anyway it won't be up to the SNP alone to decide these things surely?

subrosa said...

I too think that most likely Demetrius and that's why there are no cut and dried rules.

Maybe, by the time the referendum comes round, the Scots will realise the cost of the EU. I can but hope.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX Demetrius said...

It will be people in Brussels or Berlin who will decide and very likely without much reference to either Edinburgh or Westminster.
2 November 2012 15:38 XX

Or, indeed, the people of Germany and Belgium.

It is not SO far advanced as in the U.K, but there ARE the glimmerings of anti E.U sentiment here.

(You have to take into account, that due to Germanys political history, there is a mental barrier to discussing politics in public).

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