Scottish referendum result will have impact on 'whole of EU'

Guaranteed EU freedoms could be put on hold if the Scots choose separation from the UK, warns Catherine Stihler.

By Catherine Stihler

08 Sep 2014

Under EU legislation, we are guaranteed the right to free movement of goods, services and capital, as well as the right to live and work in any member state without undue obstacles.

However, these freedoms could be put on hold following the referendum, should the people of Scotland vote for separation.

The fact is we have been given no certain answers on what this outcome means for our membership of the EU. Although, having spoken to those who hold the power to make the decision, my view is we would need to apply to join the EU which could mean an untold amount of time where we would not be members.

"The fact is we have been given no certain answers on what this outcome means for our membership of the EU. Although, having spoken to those who hold the power to make the decision, my view is we would need to apply to join the EU which could mean an untold amount of time where we would not be members"

Scotland is being closely watched by every other member state as the outcome of this referendum will impact on the whole of the EU.

States with their own separatist movements have concerns about what it could mean for them; new and candidate member states have expressed concerns about Scotland's hopes for a fast track entry; smaller states are keen to see what Scotland can negotiate and the larger member states watch in interest as one of the EU's most powerful states risks becoming divided.

Every one of these member states will get a say on Scotland's membership and the terms it must meet. They can each veto something for domestic reasons which are extraneous to the matter at hand.

Who knows what this means for the rebate, single currency and immigration policy as they would all require tough and uncertain negotiations. Practical politics tells us an independent Scotland would not enjoy the benefits it does now.

The EU is fundamental to how our economy succeeds while the Survation survey of Scottish businesses, carried out in March, shows 70 per cent of firms said it would be 'essential' or 'important' for Scotland to remain part of the EU.

I would love to see the people of Scotland decide to embrace the European spirit of working together. This of course means continuing with our partners in the United Kingdom. As every major UK party has cleared the way for extra powers for Scotland, a vote to remain united is not a vote for no change.

"As every major UK party has cleared the way for extra powers for Scotland, a vote to remain united is not a vote for no change"

I strongly believe Scotland will continue to grow stronger and more successful as part of the United Kingdom and the larger European community. I think Dunfermline's Andrew Carnegie put it well when he said, "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision... It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."

One hundred years on from the First World War, the EU is proof we can learn from our mistakes and work together to make the world better for everyone. Yet, it was before that, over 300 years ago the British Isles started a new chapter of history and came together to build a common future.

I do not believe this story has come to its end and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for both our prosperous unions – the UK and the EU. To do this we need to vote 'no' to separation on 18 September.

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