The referendum on independence for Scotland puts the EU in an unprecedented situation which is worth assessing on the basis of a series of legal, political and diplomatic considerations. Yves Bertoncini takes a stand.
1. The EU has no choice but to adopt a prudent stance with regard to “regional” aspiration to independence
2. States proclaiming their independence would have to negotiate their membership of the EU
3. The circumstances surrounding the creation of potential new states will have a major impact on their future ties with the EU
At the end of the day, a victory for the “yes” vote in the Scottish referendum would prompt the EU to pursue one of three possible courses of action: to embrace a new member state; to negotiate the kind of “special relationship” with it that it has established with the members of the European Economic Area or with Switzerland; or to classify it as a country benefiting from the “European neighbourhood policy”. So in effect it would not be an outright “leap in the dark” for the EU, but it would plunge it into negotiations that it would very much prefer to avoid in view of the breadth and scope of the other economic, social and geop0litical challenges that it is going to have to face over the coming months.
This Tribune has been published on the French edition of the Huffington Post and on EurActiv.com.