Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Yes Scotland would be 'part of EU but lose UK deal'

Union Jack and Saltire Image copyright AP
Image caption Voters in Scotland will go to the polls in September to decide on their country's future

A group of MPs has said an independent Scotland would be accepted into the EU but lose most of the special arrangements which the UK has.

The Scottish affairs committee added that after a "Yes" vote it was "inconceivable" that English students in Scotland would be charged fees.

The Scottish government said independence would give Scotland its own voice in Europe.

Voters go to the polls on 18 September to decide on their country's future.

They will be asked the yes/no question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

The report on Scotland's EU membership is the latest in a series by Westminster's Scottish affairs committee.

It concluded that in the event of a "Yes" vote, Scotland would "lose all or most of the special arrangements presently enjoyed as part of the UK".

The committee listed those as;

  • the budget rebate
  • an opt out from joining the Euro
  • large structural funds
  • and Justice and Home Affairs opt outs.

It also claimed that Scotland might have to spend an "interim period" outside of the EU as talks with the rest of the UK and Europe would take longer than the 18-month period earmarked for negotiations.

On the issue of charging English students to study at Scottish universities, the MPs said it was "inconceivable" that that would be allowed to continue.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The issue of English students paying fees at Scottish universities is part of the post-Yes EU debate

The committee's chairman, Ian Davidson, said: "It seems the Scottish government has drastically under-estimated the time, complexity and cost of negotiating a new position in the EU, as well as the factors weighted against Scotland in any such negotiations.

"It is simply not credible that the Scottish government would achieve the terms of entry that it seeks and especially not from the weakened position of its self-imposed deadline.

"The Scottish government has not acknowledged the true scale of the difficulty it will encounter in seeking better terms than have been achieved by other recent applicants."

'Important part'

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government's Secretary for External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said Scotland was an important part of the EU and with the powers of independence, Scotland would finally be able to speak for itself.

She added: "Despite their hostility to the idea of an independent Scotland even these MPs have had to accept that an independent Scotland will be welcomed into the EU.

"With the UK's own legal expert describing the Scottish government's 18 month timetable as realistic, a position supported by Graham Avery, honorary-director of the European Commission and with Labour's most senior MEP accepting that as a member Scotland could maintain a position outside of both the Euro and Schengen this report is out of date.

"The reality is that Scotland is an important part of the European Union and with the powers of independence Scotland will finally be able to speak for ourselves on issues such as farming, fisheries and opportunities to boost jobs to secure the right deal for Scottish industries."

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