By a Newsnet reporter
Scotland can legally negotiate a continuation of its current membership from within the European Union following a Yes vote, an EC official has confirmed.
Mario-Paulo Tenreiro, who is responsible for institutional questions at the Secretariat General of the European Commission has said it would be “legally possible” for such negotiations to take place whilst Scotland remained an EU member.

The official was responding to a direct question from a member of the public, who asked: “Does the President agree with me that, given Scotland is already in the EU and therefore meets criteria for membership, an independent Scotland would be able to negotiate its terms of membership of the European Union within the European Union?”

In a letter of reply, Mr Tenreiro said that whilst a change of treaties would be required – needing the approval of other members – that: “…as you say, it would of course be legally possible to re-negotiate the situation of UK and Scotland within the EU.”

Official confirmation that there is no legal bar to negotiations taking place after a Yes vote will be seen as a significant blow to opponents of independence who have claimed that a Yes vote would see Scotland thrown out of the EU and having to re-apply.

Former Scottish Secretary Michael Moore claimed that an independent Scotland would find herself outside the EU having to negotiate its way back in. 

Better Together head Alistair Darling claimed that any application for EU membership could see Scotland waiting up to nine years before being allowed back in to the EU.  Speaking in February this year, the Labour MP – who leads the anti-independence alliance Better Together – said that an independent Scotland, “would face a lengthy application process to the EU.”

The EC Official’s response supports the conclusions of the Law Society of Scotland which, in August, published a report that also concluded that Scotland’s membership of the European Union would encounter no legal barriers

The legal paper pointed out that Scotland already complies with EU treaties and acquis and therefore qualifies “in legal terms for EU membership in its own right.” and added that “Scotland would have the capacity to be recognised as an independent state”.

In July, leading academics and politicians from Denmark insisted that a newly independent Scotland would encounter no problems continuing its membership of the European Union.  MP Rasmus Helveg Petersen said Scotland would find the process of acquiring its own membership “fairly quick” and a “mere formality”.

The Danish government official said: “It would be very clear […] it could happen overnight.”

The spokesman on foreign affairs for the Denmark’s Social Liberals added:  “The criteria is very objective, Scotland would qualify.  If Scotland wants it, yes.  It would be a mere formality.”

Earlier this year the Scottish Government published a list of 30 countries that have become independent since 1960, with an average of only 15 months from the referendum date to full independence.  The Scottish Government has set a timetable of twenty months within which it says EU membership can be negotiated.

[Details of this story, along with a copy of the letter with the recipient’s name removed, was sent to BBC Good Morning Scotland late last night.] 

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2013-10-09 06:57

Hi there,

And rUK will be in the same position exactly.

Does anybody, for a moment, imagine that the EU will leave rUK’s representation and budget contribution at their present levels when it will have lost approximately 10% of its population and one third of its landmass, the grant generating part?

2013-10-09 08:23

‘Course its not set in stone, but that has brought a smile on this morning.

2013-10-09 08:56

The above letter, naturally, repeats the proviso that it can only address a specific scenario if a request is put from a member state.

It seems that Westminster is prepared to leave this request until after the Independence referendum. At the same time, Westminster may be offering an EU in/out referendum.

It seems to me that it would be in EU interests to start its own informal negotiations with Scotland.
2013-10-10 10:20

This seems to imply that any of the EU member states can ask this question not just the UK.
Which member state will ask the question for us?

Ready to Start
2013-10-09 08:57

Good letter in Herald over Alistair Carmichael’s role in forcing through privatisation of the NHS in England.

It should be brought out every time he appears to defend the benefits of a Union.
2013-10-09 09:25

Ready to Start

Thanks for the link. Good article and it does ring true that the appointment of Carmichael is reward for loyalty. He pushed through the legislation change to open the NHS to private companies. His new job is to save the union. Amazing what a pat on the head can do for the weak minded.

I suppose the LibDems in cabinet make it easier as the meetings will require less chairs – they will just curl up at the feet of their masters.

2013-10-09 09:24

Scottish Independence and our renegotiation of EU membership would give David Cameron the opportunity he is looking for to renegotiate the terms for the rUK.
2013-10-09 09:35

I haven’t checked yet, is this all over BBC news online, radio and TV?
2013-10-09 10:03

On Friday 11th Oct, there’s an interesting public meeting at Aberdeen University. It is entitled

Independent Scotland’s relationship with EU

Political and law experts will discuss an independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU. I hope there will be some new insights into the issues.…/…

I’ll make a few notes at this event.
2013-10-09 10:13

Another of the unionists scare stories begins to crumble.

There really isn’t any substance to any of their “Project Fear” nonsense.

They cannot come up with ONE good argument in support of the union.

The only TRUE argument in favor of the union is one they won’t admit. It is that they will be poorer and probably out of a job if we vote YES. They will do and say anything to preserve their status and privelege.

Getting rid of the unionist mindset from our country would seem like another good reason to vote Yes.
Marga B
2013-10-09 10:58

In the Catalan press:…/…

EC Regional Policy Commissioner, conservative Austrian Johannes Hahn, argues that the “issue” of an independent Catalonia “belonging” to the European Union “can be solved in a more relaxed way.”

He qualified automatic expulsion threats by Spanish government and Commissioners Almunia and Barnier. Hahn also said the EC was “watching the independence movement carefully”.

This contradicts various EU officers’ threats that “if a region left a member state, it left the EU”; that: “the segregated part would not be an EU member” and that “just by proclaiming independence it would be seen as a third country outside the EU, and European treaties would not apply”.
2013-10-09 15:54

Hi good read, and to Mr Frrochie could you not video or record it and put it on youtube or the like so we can see or read it.

2013-10-09 17:00

So! the United Kingdom of South Britain and Northern Ireland will be in the same position as Scotland.
wee e
2013-10-09 17:08

Interesting! The reply cites the re-negotiating position of “UK and Scotland” — not Scotland only.
Am Beachdair
2013-10-09 20:08

Just because “Scotland could legally negotiate a continuation of its current membership from within the European Union following a Yes vote” does not mean Scotland shoulddo it.

By remaining in the European Union, Scotland would merely be exchanging its present UK overlord for the EU overlord. In other words, Scotland would neverbe independent.

Remember that a Yes result in the Referendum gives no-onethe authority to commit Scotland to membership of the European Union.
2013-10-09 21:04

Yes, you’ve said this repeatedly.

Now how about addressing the point of the article that – contrary to what Unionists have been saying – that Scotland will not be thrown out of the EU following a Yes vote.

Why not concentrate on highlighting this weakness in the Unionist argument instead of trying to fracture the pro-indy side? Make your arguments against EU membership AFTER a yes vote.
2013-10-09 21:35

That assertion was nonsense from the start. Scotland cannot be “thrown out of the EU”, because it has never been a member. The EU is desperate to hold on to its cash cow Scotland and will pull out all the stops to give it preferential treatment.

That doesn’t alter the fact that Scotland would be a first-time applicant for a new membership – if it is daft enough to apply for it. There are innumerable other international organisations that are a good deal more important to Scotland than the sub-regional EU – only the SNP hasn’t heard of them.

2013-10-09 20:51

Imagine how our beloved BBC/MSM would have siezed upon this if the NNS heading had been “Exclusive – EC official confirms legal barrier to Scotland’s continued EU membership”.

The silence is deafening…
Early Ball
2013-10-09 21:27


First Minister bats away a curve ball from a “random listener” about 1 hour 47 mins into the Victoria Derbyshire show covering the Commonwealth games stuff in London today.…/…
call me dave
2013-10-09 21:57

The ‘First Eck’ hit the curved ball for a six. Random caller(s)aye right!

No hesitation, stood up for Scotland and just blew the slanderous proposition about costs and Scottish education out the window.

You need to get up earlier than that to catch him out.

Compare AS with the Glasgow Council Leader earlier on BBC Radio Scotland ‘Uriah Heep’ fawning over the London glam stuff. ‘Cringe’

I also heard (WoS) that AS picked up a gold medal on the ‘One Show’ for knowledge of the Commonwealth. What a man.
54 mins in I think.…/…

2013-10-10 08:47

In all his travels across Europe, BBC’s Glen Campbell only managed to find three officials to state that there might be barriers to Scotland being in the EU, and two (maybe all three) protested (though not reported on BBC) that he had misrepresented their views. To date, no corrections from BBC on that.

So, I can guess what the response by BBC to this pro-Scotland-in-EU story will be.

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