Why Scotland is at least seven years away from rejoining EU – Alex Cole-Hamilton

The Covid pandemic and a no-deal Brexit are the most important issues just now, writes Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP.

By Alex Cole-Hamilton
Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 4:45 pm
The path to rejoining the EU via Scottish independence would not be smooth, says Alex Cole-Hamilton (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
The path to rejoining the EU via Scottish independence would not be smooth, says Alex Cole-Hamilton (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)

I fought Brexit tooth and nail and lost.

While my party has a long-term goal of keeping pace with the EU until one day we can persuade our fellow citizens to rejoin it, right now, our focus has to be dealing with Covid and its aftermath, while avoiding the cliff edge of a no-deal Brexit.

It is the best way forward. The Nationalists are divided about whether to even include Europe in their offer on the ballot paper for their divisive referendum. Leading figures in their movement don’t want it.

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Even if they could agree, it would take an age. The SNP would need to win a majority at Holyrood, battle for permission to have a referendum and then hold it and win it and that alone would take three years with a lot of ‘ifs’ along the way.

Then there’s the messy divorce and establishment of a new nation – at least another three years before an independent Scotland would then hold a referendum on EU membership (another year).

We’re talking seven years at least before we even ask to join. Then there’s accession. Most applicant states take a good bit of time to complete the process, and we’re not talking months.

Then there’s the Copenhagen criteria for joining. These ask for a national deficit of three per cent – ours (even before the economic trauma of independence) is currently eight per cent.

They wouldn’t have us for years.

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