Merkel ally and EU Parliament committee chairman raises false hopes for Nicola Sturgeon

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readDec 30, 2019

Scotland could rejoin EU in “shorter” timeframe, says top EU lawmaker.

Yesterday the Chairman of the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee — and an ally of Chancellor Merkel — gave an interview to a major German news organisation, which has been reported overnight as suggesting that Scotland could rejoin the EU “very quickly”.

No doubt Mrs Sturgeon and the SNP will be using this story in their continuous propaganda fight for another referendum on independence for Scotland, as a result of Brexit.

Mmmmm did he though? Did he actually say that Scotland could rejoin? Let's all take a look.

Readers and Mrs Sturgeon may wish to consider the following.

No, Scotland would not be able to join the EU quickly

  1. Mrs Sturgeon would do well to review what Herr McAllister actually said:

2. David McAllister MEP is half-German and half-Scottish, born in Berlin to a Glaswegian father

3. He holds German and British nationalities

INTERVIEW WITH DAVID MCALLISTER MEP BY REDAKTIONSNETZWERK DEUTSCHLAND

The key excerpt on Scotland joining the EU as an independent country

Interviewer: ”Could Scotland become a member of the EU again very quickly after a referendum on independence?”

Herr McAllister: ”That is currently a theoretical question. The first requirement for this would be that Scotland becomes an independent state. Since the EU legal system is part of the United Kingdom in Scotland, an admission procedure would probably be shorter than for a country that has to gradually move closer to the EU in legal, economic and political terms.”

NOTE: At no time did Herr McAllister suggest that Scotland could join the EU quickly.

Here is what he said in full.

McAllister on Scotland’s independence: EU membership would be easy

Scotland will leave the EU with the rest of the UK next month.

The Scottish government, however, insists on another referendum on independence.

An independent Scotland could easily be reinstated in the EU, says David McAllister (CDU), chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr McAllister, the UK will leave the EU in a month. How do you feel as a Brit and a German?

I think Brexit is a historic mistake that will have serious consequences for the United Kingdom. It is and remains a sad thing. Nevertheless, it is important to respect this voluntary decision and to look ahead. Now it’s about shaping our future relationships.

Great Britain wants to regulate its future relations with the EU by the end of 2020. Can it be done?

This timeframe is extremely ambitious. In any case, a detailed free trade agreement is not feasible in a few months. By mid-2020, the British side could apply to extend the transition period by up to two years. But Prime Minister Johnson categorically ruled that out.

Boris Johnson is under pressure from two sides. On the one hand, he has to conclude an agreement with the EU. On the other hand, Scotland wants to be released into independence. Is Johnson the Gravedigger of the United Kingdom?

Boris Johnson faces huge challenges. There is tension between the four nations in the UK. The majority of Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain in the EU during the Brexit referendum in 2016. And now Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to know again. Your Scottish National Party (SNP) has won 48 out of 59 constituencies in Scotland in the general election. Ms Sturgeon calls for another referendum on independence. A new round in this fight has started.

Your father was a Scotsman. Where do you stand on the question of independence?

I visit Scotland every year and watch the Scottish media every day. Among my friends and acquaintances are both supporters and opponents of independence. The topic is discussed passionately.

Then what do you say?

I’m holding back diplomatically. This is a British or Scottish affair.

London should allow a Scottish independence referendum. Will that happen?

The Scottish government is calling for another vote on independence in 2020. It appears that Prime Minister Johnson will not respond. His government says that this demand is a “harmful distraction” from important things. The new initiative for another referendum should be seen against the background that the Scottish Parliament will be re-elected in May 2021. Ms Sturgeon wants to create a political mood. If the SNP wins the election, political pressure on London will continue to increase.

Could Scotland become a member of the EU again very quickly after a referendum on independence?

That is currently a theoretical question. The first requirement for this would be that Scotland becomes an independent state. Since the EU legal system is part of the United Kingdom in Scotland, an admission procedure would probably be shorter than for a country that has to gradually move closer to the EU in legal, economic and political terms.

Can the EU Parliament help?

In the end, the European Parliament decides by the majority on the admission of each new Member State. Regardless of that, it is now about completely different questions. The UK is leaving the EU, but we remain connected in many ways. So I am already being contacted by Scottish institutions whether I can be their contact person in Brussels after the Brexit. Scottish universities, for example, would like to continue participating in EU research funding and the Erasmus + academic exchange program. In Brussels, I have a close connection to both the UK office and the Scotland House. This will remain so.

Johnson also seems to continue to hope for EU money. Most recently, he told Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar that the EU should pay to build a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland. What do you make of it?

A bridge over the Irish Sea is an exciting vision. The project would be structurally and financially very demanding. A reliable feasibility study is a prerequisite for a serious debate. That the EU should finance this bridge seems to me to be a not very serious proposal.

(He was joking about the EU Paying for it but don't tell the Germans they don't do humour)

( And chief Irish clown fell for it as well )

What would Scotland be facing?

  1. The SNP would need to get permission to hold another referendum — and win it
  2. Scotland would then need to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country
  3. This process alone will take years
  4. Scotland would then need to meet the EU’s criteria for joining
  5. Currently, it is nowhere near meeting the financial conditions for membership
  6. Then Scotland could look forward to a decade of negotiations with the EU

How long does it take a country to join the EU?

It took the EU’s 28th member state (Croatia) 12 years to join the EU.

Croatia signed the initial ‘Stabilisation and Association Agreement’ with the EU on 29 October 2001. It then took 12 years of negotiations and dramatic and forced changes in the country’s public finances before it was finally able to join the EU on 01 July 2013.

There are so many obstacles in the way of a theoretically independent Scotland joining the European Union, it’s hard to know where to start.

Above — purely in terms of the basic process — I have debunked any claims by the SNP today that Scotland could quickly join the EU after Brexit. Indeed this is not what Herr McAllister said. As a German who is proud of his half-Scottish ancestry, he merely indicated a hope that Scotland’s EU accession process might not take as long as it usually does.

[ Sources: Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND) | EU Commission ]

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Graham Charles Lear

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