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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

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steepholm steepholm
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Salmonds in Both!
Thanks to everyone who helped me out re. the NRA. Now I have another question rattling round my cranium.

nwhyte has linked to an interesting legal opinion piece on the ramifications for Scotland's (and possibly the rest of the UK's) continued membership of the EU, in the event of a Yes vote for independence.

Now, in the few discussions I've read and heard around this issue it's frequently been said that there is no precedent for a break up between Scotland and RoUK - that it's a situation the treaties don't explicitly anticipate. No doubt that's true; but is there no relevance in the example of the FRG's union with the DDR, to become Germany? In that case, a whole country (the DDR) that hadn't previously been part of EU territory became part of the EU, without any of the usual protracted negotiations that accompany accession. There was no suggestion - that I remember, at least - that the membership rights of the FRG would not be transferred to the new state in its entirety.

I hasten to add that I've no objection to Germany being a member of the EU, but on the face of it that seems a far more legally problematic manoeuvre than the splitting of an existing member country into two parts, and saying that the two parts continue to be members in their own right.

What have I missed?


The EU membership applies to the State as a legal entity, doesn't it? If Scotland seceded, it would be creating a new legal entity. How this entity would be treated would depend on the principles laid down when the EU was formed and every time it's been added to and how those principles were then turned into local legislation etc. This means that the situation of Germany may well give no precedent at all. It could also mean (wild guessing here, for I am on the other side of the world) that it's not impossible that the UK would remain a member and Scotland would have to seek admittance. It all depends on what the UK's original conditions etc of acceptance were, I suspect.

I ought to admit, this is a convoluted way of saying "I really don't know, but I'd like to."

I suppose it depends in part on whether the united Germany we know today is the same entity that used to be known as West Germany (having simply absorbed the East into itself), or whether the merger created a new entity. If the former, then yes, no new legal entity would have been created.

All the same, it seems strange that states can be instantaneously fast-tracked into the EU in that way, without the EU per se having any say in the matter, while an amicable split between nations already within the EU can result in one or both being expelled.

In law, the Federal Republic of Germany extended its territory to include the former DDR and Berlin. So it is very much the same entity.

It is not at all clear that "an amicable split between nations already within the EU can result in one or both being expelled"; what is clear is that any such discussion will be very politicised and in a context which we cannot precisely predict.

There have actually been cases of members of the EU or its predecessors shedding territory which then definitely left the EU: Greenland and Algeria come to mind.

Thanks for clarifying.

I must admit I hadn't thought of Algeria! I don't suppose they particularly wanted to be in the Common Market at the time of independence, but I wonder what would have happened had they wished to stay?

I don't think anyone was losing sleep over that possibility...

I'm guessing that what it is really about is fiscal and economic probity. The Eurozone would need to know what Scotland's policies are going to be re governance, central banking, stock markets etc.

Presumably Scotland would have to obey the club rules, whatever they are. As I understand it, though, Salmond is not keen to join the Eurozone - and that's likely to be one of sticking points, since any "new" member has to sign up to the single currency.