More Uncertainty for an Independent Scotland in the European Union

Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland dismissed concerns that an independent Scotland would be forced to join the Euro single currency as part of EU membership despite no evidence to support his statement. The European Commission has already stated that should Scotland become an independent nation, it would have to reapply for membership and would not be granted automatic entry.

Salmond countered this by saying that things would be different after the 2014 scheduled independence referendum. If the referendum votes in favor of independence, Scotland would have two years still as part of the UK to negotiate with the commission as an existing member, before the expected 2016 date of actual independence, which coincides with the Scottish national elections.

Salmond views it is ridiculous that fish-rich, oil-rich, and renewable energy-rich Scotland would be denied automatic entry, especially considering that it already conforms to all EU laws and regulations. This, despite fellow EU members Belgium, Spain, and Cyprus stating that they would block automatic entry for Scotland and that Scotland would have to "get to the back of the queue." The main motivation for this has been to deny Scotland automatic entry so as to discourage independence movements from their own respective regions.

Regardless of whether or not Scotland will get independence, uncertainty surrounding an independent Scotland and EU membership is raising questions on how well-conceived independence plans are. Despite Scotland having a devolved parliament, allowing for a quick and relatively simple political divorce from Westminster has yet to be clearly laid out. Examples include the residency rights of Scottish people living in other parts of the union, and Scotland’s largest financial institution — the Royal Bank of Scotland — being 83% owned by the UK government.

It would appear that the pro-independence campaign is simply pushing for a hasty "yes" vote based on a simplistic ideal of Scottish independence. The people are being manipulated into voting on an ideal of what an independent Scotland might be like, rather then a plan on what it will be like.

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Steven Bywater

Steven Bywater is an alumni of the University of Leeds and Nankai University with a background in international marketing and Asian studies. Based in London, he works as a marketing professional on the commerical side for the European and African operations of one of China's largest state media agencies. Of English, Dutch-Afrikaans and Taiwanese-Chinese heritage, Steven has traveled the world and worked across Asia, Australia and Europe. His current projects includes bringing Chinese media in line with internationally recognised circulation auditing procedures and to develop both print and digital Chinese media products for overseas markets.

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