A Blow to Independent Scotland’s EU Dream: No New Members Till 2020

Written by | Friday, February 10th, 2017

The European Commission made a blow to the plan of Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, by deciding that an independent Scotland would have to officially apply for membership and stand in a line since Jean Claude Juncker made it clear that there would be no more countries admitted until 2020 – the year after the UK is expected to leave the European Union. As there are a few countries already waiting for EU membership, including Montenegro and Serbia, Scotland would have to join the list and wait for its turn.

This would make Scotland remain outside the bloc for an indeterminate period. However, Scotland could be able to gain membership faster than the others since its laws already comply with the EU legislation, Jacqueline Minor, European Commission’s Head of Representation in the United Kingdom since 2013, admitted. Scotland would also have to accept the euro currency to get the membership and show determination to cut its deficit, which is larger than that of Greece’s. Ms. Minor also said that Scotland could not stay in the EU’s single market even if the rest of the UK comes out unless Theresa May proposes so.

However, Nicola Sturgeon’s government had already made it clear to Theresa May that it was a Scottish desire that a special single market deal must be included in the letter that the British government would send to Brussels to trigger Article 50. Ms. Minor commented that she did not think that London would condone this plan but admitted that the remaining 27 members would have to consider it if Theresa May changed her mind. Nevertheless, Ms. Minor was skeptical about this idea as there was “no precedent whereby a free trade agreement has distinguished between significant regions of the partner country.”

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