The Daily Telegraph has started to get a bit alarmed over the EU status of Scotland after Independence. The article below shows that the point is being used against the SNP because of their Europhile stance. As usual the status of England is underepresented but Ian Campbell's letter on Saturday has sparked some interest.
The terms of the Act of Union 1707 are clear. What was created by the fusion of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland was a new Kingdom:- "The united Kingdom of Great Britain”. The current full title of the UK is the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
So it is obvious to anyone who has a basic understanding of constitutional law that if the Kingdom of Great Britain is dissolved then, whatever our political masters might try to cobble together, the result will be a constitutionally different State. That new State will not have been a signatory State to the European Union. This is why as Mr Barroso has stated the new or “successor” States will be outside of the EU.
Focussing just on Scotland's position this was made clear by Lord Mackenzie-Stuart, a judge on the European Court of Justice (1973 -1988 ) and and the court's first British president (1984 - 88) "Independence would leave Scotland and something called 'the rest' in the same legal boat. If Scotland had to reapply, so would the rest. I am puzzled at the suggestion that there would be a difference in the status of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of Community law if the Act of Union was dissolved." (Scotland on Sunday, 8 March, 1992).
Such an outcome would be very good for any Eurosceptics (who are not fanatical Unionists!) because the end of the United Kingdom would therefore automatically result in the other "Successor States", like the newly independent England, also being out of the EU! This would apply to Northern Ireland too.
So if Scotland becomes independent, England would be free of the EU and free of paying our EU membership subs, currently £19.2 billion per year, and also free of paying Barnett Formula etc subsidies to Scotland of £32 billion per year (as calculated by the House of Lords)!
There is one curious wrinkle in the consequences of Scottish independence, which is that the Kingdom of England that would be left independent and as a "Successor State" incorporates Wales this is because the 1536 Act of Union between England and Wales predates the 1707 Union with Scotland.
"SNP acting like 'scoundrel' for rejecting Barroso's EU warning
SNP ministers have been accused of acting like a “scoundrel” as they refused to accept the European Commission president’s confirmation that a separate Scotland would be outside the EU.
John Swinney, the SNP Finance Minister, told a Lords committee that Jose Manuel Barroso’s statement it was “obvious” that an independent Scotland would have to apply from scratch was “without foundation”.
Despite holding no legal advice on the issue, he said there was nothing in EU treaties to support the president’s ruling that Scotland would lose the UK’s opt-out from the euro and the rebate negotiated by Baroness Thatcher.
But peers accused him of relying on “irrelevant” and “implausible” arguments, with one lord comparing the SNP’s objections to Mr Barroso’s reasoning to the “last refuge of a scoundrel”.
Lord Lipsey, a Labour peer, said it was “bizarre” the SNP expected them to believe a Scottish minister who had admitted taking no legal advice over the “considered” view of the commission president.
In another shift in policy, Mr Swinney claimed Scotland could negotiate membership in the “window” between a ‘yes’ vote in the autumn 2014 referendum and actual separation from the UK in 2016.
However, European Commission sources told the Daily Telegraph negotiations on EU membership could not begin until Scotland had become an independent country.
President Barroso wrote this week to the Lords economic affairs committee confirming a separate Scotland would "become a third country with respect to the EU and the treaties would no longer apply on its territory."
Mr Swinney claimed there was nothing in the EU’s treaties to support this view and it was significant the president had not specified the provisions under which Scotland would leave.
But Lord Lipsey pointed out EU treaties only apply to member states and it is therefore “not relevant whether there's a treaty reference because Scotland is not then a member state.”
“To retreat into clearly implausible references to what is referred to in the treaty to which you would no longer be a signatory because you are no longer part of the EU seems to me to be the last refuge of a scoundrel,” he said.
He questioned whether the SNP’s claims the president was wrong “can be sustained for a single second”.
Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, the former Tory Scottish Secretary, said the SNP was suggesting that the European Commission chief “doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.
Lord MacGregor of Pulham Market, the committee’s chair, questioned why the SNP had not approached the commission on the issue and said its rejection of the president’s opinion seemed to have been dreamt up “overnight”.
But Mr Swinney said: “Essentially, I don't agree with the contents of President Barroso's letter for the reason that I do not see the basis within the treaties upon which that remark is founded.”
He claimed it was “interesting” that the president’s letter made reference to the section of EU treaties that deals with applications from prospective members but not to the part that deals with countries leaving."