Thursday, January 19, 2012
Last week, Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, announced that he intends to hold a referendum in 2014 on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. Such a split would pose many complicated questions regarding Scotland's membership in the European Union as well as other international treaties and organizations. If Scotland is considered a wholly new state, it may have to apply for membership. Alternatively, the other member states of the EU could treat Scotland as an automatic member since it already belonged as part of the UK. The EU treaties don't clearly address these questions and there is no precedent. If Scotland did split off, it would significantly affect the financial benefits and burdens of EU membership for both Scotland and the UK. However, the likelihood of that happening does not appear to be great. News reports indicate that the majority of the Scottish population is not in favor of independence.