If Scotland votes for independence in its referendum on Sept. 18, it will not be allowed to join the European Union for five years.
New European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker said last night that the EU needs to take a break from admitting new countries. “Under my presidency of the commission, ongoing negotiations will continue … but no further enlargement will take place over the next five years,” Juncker said, according to the BBC.
The exile period shouldn’t be a surprise. José Manuel Barroso, Juncker’s predecessor, said the same thing. It would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to join Europe, The Telegraph reported.
The statement deals further bad news to the pro-independence “Yes” movement, which wants to separate Scotland from Britain. Currently, pro-union “No” voters have the edge in opinion polls, 45%-34%.
It’s a psychological blow, also. It means that an independent Scotland would have to join a humbling line of B-List countries that want entry into Europe’s single market, including areas in the Balkans, Moldova and Ukraine. Croatia was the last country to join; Serbia also now wants in.
More importantly, it would further cripple an independent Scotland economically. The single European market means that goods and business are traded across borders without taxes, tariffs, and fees, usually in a single currency. Businesses in an independent Scotland outside Europe might find a country-by-country swathe of red tape taxing their imports and exports.
And North Sea oil and gas won’t be much help either. We told you earlier this week that basically, it’s running out and won’t form a significant percentage of GDP in the future.
Juncker seems to take a dim view of Scottish National Party chief Alex Salmond’s dream of leading a new nation. “One does not become a member of the EU by writing a letter,” he said last week.
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