EU membership is one of the hot topics of the independence debate in Scotland and Catalonia alike. Its largely Europhile constituencies are concerned about just how difficult –or easy– would it be for their brand new State to join the Union. And, unsurprisingly, the no and yes camps don’t hesitate when it comes to defending either the unfeasibility or the viability of hassle-free accession.
Well, the truth is that no one knows for sure, since there isn’t a precedent and EU treaties are not specific enough on the subject. However, it is noteworthy that some independent actors have recently tackled the issue. Such is the case of Oxford University professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, who recently claimed that Scotland’s entry to the EU would be “relatively smooth and straightforward”, to the point where it could be possible for Scotland to have uninterrupted membership.
BBC | Scottish independence: Academic says EU entry ‘would be smooth’
[Prof Douglas-Scott] said: “Despite assertions to the contrary from UK lawyers, EU lawyers and EU officials, any future independent Scotland’s EU membership should be assured, and its transition from EU membership (as a) part of the UK, to EU membership (as an) independent Scotland relatively smooth and straightforward.” Proceeding by way of Article 48, as opposed to using Article 49, which would require a full Accession Treaty, would avoid the risk that a newly independent Scotland would be “cast into the wilderness”, with its ties with the EU cut on the date of independence, she said.