An emerging decree from the administration in Edinburgh reveals its strategy for a future association with Europe, but autonomy is not an immediate prospect.
The government in Edinburgh has disclosed its scheme to rejoin the European Union, asserting that it would be a procedure that takes place “smoothly and swiftly” following independence, with an appeal to join the group being submitted “as expeditiously as feasible.”
The pro-EU, pro-autonomy administration in Edinburgh made the remarks in a fresh strategy document that identifies the advantages of EU membership, including entry to the single market for Scottish enterprises, mutual access to the EU’s free trade agreements, securing EU funding for Scottish agriculture specifically, and allowing Scotland’s young individuals to profit from the Erasmus+ university exchange program, which was inaccessible to them after Brexit.
EU membership, as stated by the nation’s interim foreign minister, Angus Robertson, “would offer Scotland direct representation in European decision-making for the very first time, providing openings for our economy to develop within a market that is seven times the extent of the UK and evading the repercussions of the UK’s severe Brexit, which is negatively impacting Scotland’s economy and communities.
“The absence of backing for independence obstructs plans. The unspoken issue for Scotland’s EU membership is that autonomy is not on the horizon in the near future.
Both the UK Conservatives and Labour have aggressively resisted any mechanism that would enable the Scottish administration to conduct a plebiscite on independence, while polls consistently indicate no prevailing backing for independence in Scotland itself.
A poll released earlier this month positions support for independence at 40%, with 49% preferring to stay part of the UK. The ruling Scottish National Party asserts it will claim it has “a mandate for independence negotiations” with London if it secures a majority of Scottish seats in the upcoming UK election, something it already has now.
Nevertheless, a sequence of controversies and the natural attrition of almost 16 years in authority have eroded the SNP’s formerly impregnable stance at the summit of Scotland’s political establishment, with a substantial transformation anticipated in the next year.
Scottish Labour are largely projected to acquire a substantial proportion of the SNP’s Westminster seats in the next UK election, with polls also indicating a surge of support for Labour in Scottish parliamentary elections, which would probably nullify the Edinburgh parliament’s pro-independence majority.
At the start of November, the European Commission made public its yearly report on the future expansion of the group, with enlargement strategies firmly focused on the Western Balkans region. How would Scotland rejoin the EU? Scotland departed the EU along with the remainder of the UK following the Brexit plebiscite of 2016.
Despite the UK as a whole narrowly choosing to exit, Scotland overwhelmingly opted to stay part of the group, and surveys since then have indicated an increasing majority perceive Brexit as an error and that the country’s future should be within the EU.
It presents a perplexing picture of the Scottish electorate: they aspire to be part of the European Union but do not have a firm commitment to independence as the pathway to achieve that.
Since the Brexit plebiscite, “there’s been substantial dialogue about the optimal future for Scotland,” declared Robertson. “The Scottish administration believes we can construct a superior nation through a potent amalgamation of self-governance and EU membership,” he appended.
The Scottish administration conveyed that an autonomous Scotland would pursue the customary accession process, acknowledged as Article 49, which customarily requires numerous years.
Meanwhile, they would seek a sort of temporary arrangement that would enable Scottish exporters admission to the Single Market specifically. “Having been part of the EU for over 47 years with a positive record of implementation of EU legislation and a high level of alignment with EU law” places Scotland in a “distinctive position” to proceed rapidly through the accession procedure, the declaration states.
The novel strategy document skirts the question of whether an autonomous Scotland would embrace the euro as its currency—a topic that has especially divided political dialogue in Scotland. Nonetheless, the document reaffirms the administration’s stance that there would be a new Scottish Pound currency in circulation following independence, and subsequently, at a later point, decisions might be made regarding joining the euro.
Scotland would likely ultimately evolve into a “net contributor” to EU budgets, the administration states, but notes “a number of member states with relatively small economies have initially been net beneficiaries but over time have transformed into net contributors to the EU budget.”
Outlining Scotland’s desirability to the EU While Scotland would benefit in an extensive array of domains by reentering the European Union, the new strategy document highlights how the EU could also gain from having Scotland as a novel member state.
It emphasizes sectors such as research and development on renewable technology to counteract climate change, culture and education, a commitment to the EU’s social justice program, and a commitment to liberty and democracy—enticing traits for a confederation grappling with how to manage countries such as Hungary and Poland, or others that lean right and have veered away from those shared EU values.
“We are also well positioned to reciprocate to the EU as a welcoming and inclusive nation with strengths in research and renewables, and an unwavering pledge to advancing human rights and the regulation of international law,” declares Angus Robertson.