On the strength of her victory in the Scottish general elections on 6 May, nationalist Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon hopes for a new referendum on her nation’s independence as soon as possible … and to join the European Union in the event of a favorable vote for. One possibility is nevertheless very fictitious and far-fetched.
Can some of them return after the British leave from the European Union in 2020? In any case, this is a wish expressed by the Scottish National Party (SNP), which was won on 6 May, with 64 seats out of 129, to renew the Scottish Parliament, Holyrod, with a major victory in elections to crown the crown. Was worn With eight seats won by the Scottish Greens, in favor of independence and close to the SNP, the independence camp holds an absolute majority in the Assembly.
This electoral success of outgoing Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, allows him to hope for an independence referendum in 2023. During the entire campaign of the last election, which has led the SNP since 2014, it has been said that repeated general election victories will mean the Scots will vote in favor of the referendum.
In the event that voters are actually consulted and voted for independence, the head of government also wishes that their nation join the European Union as soon as possible. Unlike the UK overall, Scotland voted 62% against Brexit in 2016. The actual exit from the country has been a traumatic event for many of its residents, who feel that their wishes have not been respected. And that can change the course of history.
More than that, because the nationalists’ attachment to European construction has been firmly rooted in their movement for more than three decades, as stated in one Publication Aziliz Gouze, Associate Researcher of the Jacques Delors Institute and an expert on European identity and political symbolism. First Eurosceptic, “Since the late 1980s, the SNP has adopted the slogan ‘Freedom in Europe’, which was repeated year after year in its election manifesto.“She writes. The separatists believe that for Scotland, a moderately sized state, membership in Europe will be an opportunity to ensure a voice within the concert of European countries. And therefore to benefit from greater benefits For and to be heard more than in the United Kingdom, where London is considered very powerful despite the transfer.
Can the main Scottish nationalist party, which has been in power for 14 years, believe in the achievement of its independence and European designs?
Indeterminate accession to freedom
The political weight of the SNP is still far from guaranteed for an independent Scotland. In 2014, a referendum on the issue had already taken place, following an agreement with the British Prime Minister David Cameron following the SNP’s absolute majority victory in the 2011 Scottish parliamentary elections. The Scots had then denied independence by 55%.
Today, elections on this issue show a very divided electorate. These alternate between a small win of “yes” and “no”, the difference between the two camps often being consistent with the margin of error inherent in opinion studies. The latest, which can be seen on the weekly website New statesman, Bow down instead to the maintenance of Scotland within the United Kingdom. For now, these indicators do not allow Nikola Sturgeon to hold the vote with the certainty of victory.
Above all, in addition to the uncertainty about the outcome of the likely referendum, there is a major obstacle in organizing this election … Boris Johnson. The head of the British government is in fact completely opposed to this idea. According to him, Scots can be consulted on independence only once per generation. Another argument was made by the conservative camp: the SNP won only half-heartedly in previous legislative elections because the independence formation lacked a seat to hold an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament alone. Therefore the SNP will not have enough political and electoral legitimacy to justify this referendum.
The dispute between the two Prime Ministers can be decided by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which is the highest court in the country. If he proved her wrong, the SNP chief would probably follow her decision. Scottish nationalists recalled the unilateral referendum held by Catalonia in 2017, resulting in an illegal declaration of independence. An experience that they want to avoid reproducing altogether.
For now, the Scottish Government first wants to turn the page on the epidemic, which is expected to be held by the end of 2023, before considering this referendum. If this proves to be impractical, the Prime Minister may propose an advisory vote of the Scots, which would not have the legal force of the 2014 referendum. A plan B for Mrs Sturgeon, which would authorize her in the event of a victory for the vote to put even more political pressure on the London executive.
Joining the European Union will not be a formality
If Scotland eventually receives this referendum, if the “yes” wins and if the nation accepts after negotiations for independence between Edinburgh and London – the SNP plans to accept it in 2026 – then the country The nationalist party’s purpose may project towards the second chief: to return to the European Union.
For this withdrawal, it would be necessary for all EU countries to first agree to it. Not sure that Spain, facing a crisis involving Catalan separatism, looks very favorable on the recent arrival of a new member born of secession. “The Scottish separatists may be slightly disenchanted, as they may not receive support from European states, as it did with Catalonia.“, Christian Lexne estimates, interviewed by political scientist professor at Science P.O. Tv5 world. “No European state prefers that there be a great separatist movement in a neighbor. There is a conservatism on the integrity of the state – from this point of view – that exists everywhere in the European Union.”, Analyzes the university.
For Kirsty Hughes, interviewed by political scientist and director of the Scottish Center for European Relations EuronewsHowever, Scotland’s European future may be less bleak. according to him, “Spain Will approve An application for membership if the independence process is legal and constitutional. For Spain and the European Union member states, this would mean that London and Edinburgh would have come to an agreement“
On the other hand, as noted by researcher Ignacio Molina of the Real Instituto Elcano think tank in Madrid, Political trickster, “Spanish diplomacy has always emphasized that Scotland, like any other candidate, should apply as an option to exit the Euro or Schengen area, without shortcuts or privileges.“In this configuration, the fact that Edinburgh belonged to the European Union would therefore be given no privileges and it would have no choice but to follow the classic EU accession process.
For Scotland, the route of membership therefore seems fraught with many disadvantages and is subject to many conditions. To join the Union, the country must first follow the Copenhagen Criteria, which is a condition for the arrival of a new Member State. To do this, the young country would have to create a whole range of institutions and regulatory bodies actually based in London. It will inevitably take time to establish them, and there will be so much delay in EU membership.
Another difficulty: regulations related to the economy, and especially the public deficit. Scotland’s economic situation, affected by Brexit and the Coronavirus crisis, may lead the newly independent nation to experience a deficit of around 10% of GDP, according to an analysis financial Times Published in April 2021. A rate much above the “3% rule” defined at the European level.
Other issues will also have to be resolved, such as the border with the United Kingdom. A real headache, with the separation between Scotland and England which would become the boundary of the European Union. How to ensure the continuity of exchanges with London on the one hand and the Union on the other? The current tension around the border between the two Ireland shows how sensitive this aspect is.
With all these things in mind, how soon can an independent Scotland hope to become a member state? From 4 to 5 years old, political scientist Kirsty Hughes responds in an article written for the Scottish daily Herald. Scotland can therefore hope to free itself from London and re-enter the European Union by the beginning of the next decade.
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