Just how valuable to Scotland is the EU, for exports?

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readJan 1, 2020

Will the Scottish people really vote for an economic EU reunion?

Not if they are given the facts before any new “IndyRef”

The numbers don’t even stack up for the EU to accept a Scottish application to join

Let's look at the basic economic consequences of a newly independent Scotland trying to join the European Union.

Trust me this will be good. Read on McDuff as the saying goes.

Scotland and the EU

60% of Scotland’s exports go to the rest of the UK

Only 19% of Scotland’s exports go to the EU27

Scotland’s economy is a long way from being acceptable to the EU

Scotland’s deficit is 7 times that of the UK as a whole, and more than double the EU’s criteria

Before applying, Scotland would need huge expenditure cuts, a currency, and a central bank

It would also need a hard border with England and a border in the Irish Sea

It would have to commit to joining the Euro and accepting the Schengen open borders policy

It would have to apply EU tariffs on goods entering from the rest of the UK

The rest of the UK is by far the biggest export market for Scotland

60.1% of Scottish exports go to the rest of the UK

The rest of the world is the second-largest export market, with 21.6%

The USA is the largest non-UK and non-EU market, with £5.5 bn of total Scottish exports going there

The EU27 countries trail in the last place, with 18.3%

Here is what the EU itself says about countries wishing to join

“The Member States are expected to co-ordinate their economic policies and are subject to the Stability and Growth Pact on fiscal surveillance.

The new Member States are also committed to complying with the criteria laid down in the Treaty in order to be able to adopt the euro in due course after accession.

“Until then, they will participate in the Economic and Monetary Union as a Member State with a derogation from the use of the euro and shall treat their exchange rates as a matter of common concern.”

Just one of the EU’s many criteria — having government spending under control

Let's look at just one of the essential economic criteria referred to above. Protocol 12 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) stipulates.

“3% for the ratio of the planned or actual government deficit to GDP at market prices”

Scotland’s Net Fiscal Balance 2018–19:

A deficit of £12.6 billion — 7.0% of GDP — including an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenue

For the UK, a deficit of £23.5 billion — 1.1% of GDP

Scotland’s Current Budget Balance 2018–19 (excluding capital expenditure):

A deficit of £7.9 billion — 4.4% of GDP — including an illustrative geographic share of North Sea revenue

For the UK, a surplus of £18.1 billion — 0.8% of GDP

  • Source: Scottish Government: “Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland 2018–2019”, 21 Aug 2019

For Scotland to meet the EU’s membership criteria it would have to make
savage cuts in the devolved government’s public expenditure.

The Scottish National Party (SNP)

The SNP is Scotland’s largest political party. It has 62 MSPs (Members of the Scottish Parliament) in Holyrood, Edinburgh, which gives it three short of an overall majority.

In the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster, it has 47 MPs. This makes it the third-largest political party in the UK Parliament, although it must be said that Scotland is significantly over-represented thereby population.

The SNP manifesto 2019 on Brexit

“We will work with others across Scotland and the UK to escape from Brexit. In a UK context, we will support a second EU referendum with Remain on the ballot paper. And if it is the only alternative to a ‘no-deal Brexit, we will support the revocation of Article 50.

“The SNP believes the best future for Scotland is to become an independent member of the EU.”

Brian Monteith MEP is currently Chief Whip of the Brexit Party at the EU Parliament. Prior to that, he served eight years as an MSP in the Scottish Parliament, including four as a Convenor of the Public Audit Committee.

Here is what he has said about Scotland and the EU

“Some of the things Scotland could expect: it would need to resolve the problem of establishing its own currency with its own Central Bank so that it could agree to join the Euro at some point in the future (both are pre-requisites to joining the Euro).

“How would Scotland establish the reserves necessary for a Central Bank when it is already carrying a huge annual deficit and running up public debt every year?

“It would be expected to join Schengen — automatically creating the need for a physical border to process individuals travelling between England and Scotland; by accepting the single market and customs union it would anyhow require a border for goods. There is no Irish sea between Scotland and England to fudge the issue.

“Scotland would be a net contributor. Scotland’s valuable fisheries would be brought back within the Common Fisheries Policy, hitting Scottish fishing communities who were expecting to take back control. And there are many other issues.”

Brexit was never about trade or economics. It was always about freedom, democracy and sovereignty.

This is something the Remain campaign never understood.

When it comes to Scottish independence, I understand that for many Scottish people the issues are not economic, just as they weren’t for Brexiteers in the EU Referendum.

That said, there are some fundamental facts which the Scottish people deserve to know. Above I have tried to highlight some of these because they are so overwhelming.

I have tried to demonstrate some of the basic issues which would face Scotland in the event of another independence referendum, only five years after the one which the leader of the SNP called a “once in a lifetime decision”.

The big question for Scotland

The biggest question of all, of course, is why many of the pro-independence Scottish people would ever wish to gain independence from the rest of the UK, only to cede this very same independence to the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels.

This is the SNP’s avowed policy, and I will never understand the rationale for this. I suspect the majority of the Scottish people will not either, but we have learnt from the last four years of the UK’s Brexit machinations that state-backed propaganda is a powerful weapon which must be countered with a professional campaign.

Since this was written the EU met and confirmed that in the coming years a dramatic change would be happening. The EU which the UK left will no longer exist in the future — it will be even worse,

’Conference on the Future of Europe’ approves radical overhaul of the EU

  • End of unanimity and abolition of national vetoes
  • Launch of Joint Armed Forces of the Union
  • Transnational political parties — national parliaments will become more like local councils
  • European Parliament to have the right to propose legislation
  • More spending on climate change policies

Scotland wants to become independent from the present UK. Yet is becoming clear that Scotland like all 27 countries in the EU will no longer be Independent when it joins the EU. The EU in the future will take that independence away. They will set all new laws, no question about that, and they may even replace many of the old Scottish laws and there will not be a single thing the people of Scotland can do about it.

We often joke that the devolved governments are just councils much like they are in our large cities, they aren't, of course. However, once they leave one Union and join a new Union they are on course to be downgraded from a Government to just a council.

Has the SNP told the people of Scotland what Scotland will eventually become? Indeed do the SNP even know what is going to happen when the EU accepts their application to join the EU? I doubt they do and if they do they are keeping it very quiet from the people who reside in Scotland.

[ Sources: Scottish Government | EU Commission | Brian Monteith MEP ]

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Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.