Referendum Answers

Short Answers to Popular Questions about Scottish Independence

The EU - In or Out

Q. Will be chucked out of the EU if we vote Yes?

A. No, of course we won't

If nothing else, the EU's a complicated organisation, but one thing's pretty clear - it has no way of ejecting member states. Really. It can't suddenly eject anybody. If a country wants to leave, it has to negotiate to leave which takes at least 2 years, and Scotland certainly won't be doing that. On the contrary, it will negotiate to stay.

So before we panic because of all these scary stories from Better Together, let's examine a few relevant points.

1. Scotland's position is nothing like the countries that are queing up to join the EU. We've been a member for 40 years, we've incorporated EU law into our independent Scottish law, and we're all EU citizens, which means that we can live and work anywhere in the EU.

2. Scotland has a massive sea area, where many other countries, notably Spain but 12 in total, come to fish. If we're not in the EU, then overnight thousands of Spanish fishermen lose the right to fish in the North Sea.

3. Scotland has more than 60% of the EU’s oil reserves, 25% of its offshore wind and tidal power potential, and 10% of its wave power potential. It seems likely that other EU countries would want to keep the powerhouse that is Scotland inside.

4. Scotland is net contributer to the EU, and we've been enthusiastic members for 40 years. We welcome foreign students to our top universities. We contribute to the success of the EU. We want to be in the EU (unlike, you might say, other countries)

5. Scotttish judge, Sir David Edward, one of the architects of the EU, and former judge at the European Court of Justice, has said that the EU will find a way to keep Scotland in the EU because it will want to. Sir Graham Every, Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre, in his official paper to the UK government, said the same thing.

So when East Germany reunified with West Germany in 1989 to become Germany, was Germany thrown out of the EU? No, because Germany wanted to stay and the EU wanted them to stay. So they found a way. And the way that they found was through Article 48 of the EU Treaty of Lisbon (which we're not going to go by the way because it's too boring unless you're a lawyer, and this is a site for short answers to independence questions). Suffice to say that that's what the EU experts say will be used. See the sources below for more.

The new president of the EU commission, Jean Claude Juncker, has said that he will accept the result of the referendum. He has also made it very clear that when he said that he didn't want any further expansion of the EU over the next 5 years, he wasn't referring to Scotland.

So when you see the glee on the faces of Better Together when they tell you that Scotland will get chucked out of the EU, you now know that the EU can't expel any country, and you can now ask yourself why the EU would want to expel Scotland anyway, when actually it'd do its best to make damn sure that it most certainly stayed in.



Graham Avery, Senior Member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre, Brussels: The foreign policy implications of and for a separate Scotland

Sir David Edward: International Aspects of Scottish Independence (Video, YouTube)

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Professor of European and Human Rights Law, University of Oxford: How Easily Could An Independent Scotland Join The EU?

Further Reading

HeraldLegal arguments that would keep Scotland in the EU after a Yes vote