An independent Scotland could return to the European Union within five years, a new report has claimed.
The EU Blueprint: Pathway for Scotland’s Accession to the European Union under Independence, written by Brussels expert Anthony Salamone, claimed that Scotland meets the required “Copenhagen criteria” to rejoin the EU.
It points out that Scotland has been a member of the European Union for more than forty years, meaning it is in a strong position to join again.
“Scotland was previously part of the European Union for nearly five decades,” it explains. “On that basis alone, the Scottish economy is manifestly capable of forming part of the Union economy and responding sufficiently to its associated demands and forces. The Republic will therefore be in an extremely strong position to satisfy the economic criteria of the Copenhagen criteria.”
Salamone urges Scotland to avoid joining the European Free Trade Association as it would be a “time-consuming process” and would suggest a “lack of commitment to the Union”.
But it also adds any membership to the EU is likely to spark a border between England and Scotland. The author says it would be “unfortunate” but also claims it would be “manageable”.
The report suggests avoiding a referendum on membership, but instead asking the Scottish people to approve the deal it reaches with the EU instead.
Under such a deal Scotland would be eligible to be represented by 14 MEPs – the same number as Denmark, Finland and Slovakia.
Salamone suggests that the Scottish government sets a target of four years to return to the European Union once it becomes independent.
The report says: “Just as Ireland did not leave the European Union because the UK left it, so Scotland should not refrain from joining the EU because rUK is not a member.”