Scotland’s transition into the EU could be fast tracked
Recent changes in Tory-led Brexit negotiations could benefit Scotland’s reintegration into the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).
The cost of Brexit has led to the likes of Boris Johnson stating that they (the EU) can ‘go whistle’ for payment. There were also rumours that talks could breakdown over the purported 80 billion Euro bill (Telegraph, 2017). However recent reports that Philip Hammond is ‘winning the internal Tory battle’ to ensure that a ‘status quo’ transitional period, may see the UK continue making payments to the EU, rather than settling with a large exit fee (The National, July, 2017).
The ramifications for this would also see Scotland remaining in the EEA, until Brexit has been done and dusted which would likely be in 2022. In this sense, Scotland would not be dislocated from the EU in the same way and a ‘standstill’ Brexit position could assist with a smoother transition for an independent Scotland (The National, 2017).
The First Minister for Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, reassessed her view on the timescale for calling a second independence referendum, after the results of the snap UK General Election, last month. She advised that it was essential to see the ‘lie of the land’ after a Brexit deal was concrete. Consequently, an ‘indyref2’ would not occur until after the UKs departure from the EU in March 2019 (The National, 2018).
Hypothetically, which appears to be the key word in current global politics, Scotland could hold a second independence referendum in 2020, meaning that a ‘standstill’ Brexit position would see Scotland remain in the customs union and single market, until Brexit was finalised in 2022. This would ensure that Scotland’s transition into the EU would be dramatically less complex and smoother (The National, 2018). Given that politics changes drastically from week to week, these plans would be based on possible divergences that may become more evident over time. At the moment, Westminister’s direction appears to be parting more significantly from the Scottish Parliament’s progressive view as each day passes. Therefore, if this trajectory continues, Scotland may vote to leave the UK and continue to be an EU member state, perhaps adopting a brand new currency to trade on the global markets (Financial Times, 2017).