Since the announcement of a second independence referendum, social media has been an absolute storm. There’s so much flying about it’s hard to keep up with everything, including the lies and twisted words from mainstream unionist outlets. But the most recent nonsense has come from Jamie Greene MSP, who I actually reckon is a nationalist spy undercover for the independence movement.
Reading such a tweet was rather incredible, as it was almost bearing total absurdity (I say almost, but with his other golden tweets that might need to be checked in case it is a certainty).
But since the EU is a current hot topic surrounding the issue of independence, I thought it would be interesting to debunk some of the common myths around the subject. So, let’s get things kicked off…
1) Scotland would be forced to use the Euro
This myth is the most depressing one, since unionists still use it despite it being heavily debunked over and over. But in order for a country to use the Euro, it needs to meet 5 different requirements.
The one criteria we will look at is the ERM II (European Exchange Rate Mechanism). As said above, a country would need to be in the ERM II for a minimum of two years, but joining it is completely voluntary (as confirmed by the European Commission website). This view is also held by Steve Peers, Professor of EU, Human Rights and World Trade Law at the University of Essex.
“5. This Treaty shall apply to the Contracting Parties with a derogation, as defined in Article 139(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, or with an exemption, as referred to in Protocol (No 16) on certain provisions related to Denmark annexed to the European Union Treaties, which have ratified this Treaty, as from the date when the decision abrogating that derogation or exemption takes effect, unless the Contracting Party concerned declares its intention to be bound at an earlier date by all or part of the provisions in Titles III and IV of this Treaty.”
So unless a professor of the EU and the European Commission themselves are both wrong, it’s pretty evident Scotland would not be forced to use the Euro.
2) Spain would veto Scotland from becoming a member of the EU
This one has also been debunked multiple times in the past, but many unionists still love to spin it. So we’ll keep this brief. For one, Spain already gave their official position in 2014, to which they said they would not veto Scotland joining the EU.
You would think it would be game over there, but still unionists still spin this myth by using Kosovo as an example of why Spain would veto Scotland and not accept them as a new independent country. But Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo already made it clear why such an example does not apply to Scotland.
“When Kosovo declared independence from Serbia over four years ago, it was quickly recognised by most of the members of the European Union. However, five members – Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain – refused to follow suit. This has led to suggestions that these countries may also refuse to accept Scottish independence and keep it out of the EU.
This is very unlikely, for a number of reasons. For a start, the problem in the case of Kosovo is not the issue of secession. It is the unilateral way in which it was done. If a territory becomes independent with the consent of all the parties concerned, there is little reason to believe that these countries will oppose the move.
The strongest evidence to support this view is their reaction to the independence of South Sudan, in July 2011. This occurred with the overt support of the Sudanese government, which was the first country in the world to recognise it. Within hours, the European Union issued a joint statement congratulating the new state on its independence. There was not a murmur of dissent from any of the five countries to this act of collective recognition. Even at an individual level, there seems little to suggest that any of them would block Scotland’s membership of the European Union.”
And if you still don’t believe me, why not the view from two Spanish politicians on Spain’s joint committee on the EU? Fernando Maura MEP, who is one spokesperson for the committee, made it clear that Spain would only negotiate for their interests:
“If Scotland is independent from the United Kingdom, Scotland can negotiate with the European Union to become part of it. If that’s the case, Spain has not anything to do but negotiate in terms of our interests.”
Unionists may point out that their interests would be to veto Scotland’s membership in order to send a message to Catalonia, but Fernando also pointed out the difference in both scenarios there:
“The difference between Spain and the UK is the constitutional system. In the UK, there is no constitution to say Scotland cannot leave the United Kingdom or have self-determination. This is not the case in Spain, there is not this possibility.”
Jose Cano, who is a spokesperson for the vice chair of the Spanish parliament’s EU committee, also made matters clear:
“If Scotland gets its independence, in a legal referendum in the United Kingdom, if that is legitimate then Scotland will claim independence and be accepted by the international community.
If that happens, then the discussion will be whether Scotland should or shouldn’t join the EU. In that case, Spain would have nothing to complain about at all.”
So, if this doesn’t debunk the Spanish veto myth, I don’t know what will.
3) Scotland would be at the back of the queue when joining the EU
This one doesn’t make sense in the slightest.Turkey applied to join the EU in 1987. Countries that have joined the EU since have been Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden. None of these countries should have been able to join the EU because they should have all been waiting behind Turkey. But of course, they have, so the queue doesn’t exist.
Heck, even Conservative MEP Ian Duncan agrees.
The EU has made it clear on the process of joining.
4) An independent Scotland can’t join the EU with a deficit over 3% of GDP
This one is also quite stupid. and has been repeated by many unionists who don’t understand the EU. Some of you may recognise the 3% of GDP rule, but where does it come from again…?
There we go! So the 3% of GDP rule applies to joining the Euro, not the EU. The difference is very important.
5) Scotland can’t join the EU since there will be no enlargement for a few more years
This myth is centred around comments from Jean-Claude Juncker, who has made clear “There will be no new members until 2019 when I’m gone.”
This one had unionists jumping with joy, until of course Juncker added something else to his statement…
So Juncker has confirmed that doesn’t apply to Scotland, making that argument dead in the water. But even if it did, we don’t know when the second independence referendum vote would take place, with many speculating it could even be until Spring 2019, so really by the time negotiations end. Juncker’s own rule would have most likely already ended by that point.
6) Scotland would face a difficult and long negotiation process when joining the EU
This one is actually not so straight forward, not because there is a lack of a counter argument, but because there’s multiple different ways Scotland could join the EU.
One way Scotland could join the EU is not with full agreement from all member states, but with just a majority vote. Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott of Queen Mary University London proposes this idea, saying Scotland could be a “successor state” of the UK:
“If Scotland, whether as successor state or with some other arrangement, wanted to proceed under the umbrella of article 50, it would be looking for a majority, rather than unanimity.
But if Scotland was looking for recognition as a new independent state, there might be pressure to go to article 49, which is the accession procedure, and that requires unanimity.”
However other academics argue that Scotland shouldn’t join the EU first, but the European Economic Area (EEA). Steve Peers, who we’ve already mentioned above, argues that joining the EEA is the most obvious route.
“The EEA provides for participation of these non-EU countries in the EU’s single market freedoms and all the EU legislation related to them, as well as most EU employment and environmental law. But Scotland would not be covered by EU laws in other areas, notably agriculture, fisheries, tax and justice and home affairs – although, like Norway and Iceland, it could sign separate treaties with the EU on these issues.”
Some people even argue that it’s not even a position of actually leaving, but Scotland simply staying in the EU with independence. Guy Verhofstadt, the main Brexit negotiator for the EU and leader of the leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group with 70 MEPs, made his opinion quite clear.
But even if there were negotiations to occur, they would most likely be rather short. Jacqueline Minor, European Commission’s Head of Representation in the United Kingdom, said this when it came to Scottish EU membership.
And this is very much a similar case to Iceland, as the EU also said…
Elmar Brok MEP, Chair of European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, also said this about Scotland negotiating with the EU:
We must also remember, if Scotland votes Yes to independence we would not be leaving the UK right away, therefore we wouldn’t be leaving the EU right away as well. In the period of negotiations we’d still be within the EU whilst the UK also. So would Scotland be a successor state to the UK? Would Scotland go for the EEA first, then EU membership? Could it be essentially automatic? Either way, because Scotland is already in the EU, it’s fair to state that negotiations would be much faster than normal candidate countries. These options are fairly open.
So there we have it, six of the most common unionists myths surrounding Scottish EU membership debunked! If you want to see more unionist myths debunked, check out my article on the Scottish deficit when looking at GERS. You can follow YTI here for more updates, and for my own analysis you can follow me here.