EU expert points out strength of small states

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The SNP is today welcoming comments from EU experts highlighting the strengths of small states at the EU’s top table.

Giving evidence in front of the committee today, Professor Michael Keating, who is director of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change, said: “The recent accessions have brought in more small states, so small states are clearly in the majority – that’s the normal thing to be.” These comments build on Prof Keating’s written evidence to the committee, in which he said that small states “are more likely to end up on the winning side in votes”; have a constructive, pro-European approach; and can better maximise opportunities presented by holding the Council Presidency.

Professor Baldur Thorhallsson, a Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland also gave evidence, stating he didn’t see “any reason” why an independent Scotland “should not be able to do as well as Denmark, or Sweden or Finland.”

Anders Wivel, an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Political Science told the committee that small EU member states that are well prepared and flexible enough to act fast can “gain influence early on”.

Brandon Malone, a Solicitor Advocate who is a member of the Law Society’s Constitutional Law Sub-committee, also gave evidence to the committee citing his support for the Scottish Government’s proposed timetable for EU entry.

Following the committee, SNP MSP and member of the Europe Committee Clare Adamson said: “Today’s evidence highlighted the opportunities that will open up to Scotland when we become an independent member state.

“Professor Michael Keating pointed out that small states make up the majority of EU members, and are more likely to end up on the winning side of votes. He and Professor Wivel said that smaller states can better maximise opportunities and gain influence early on. The possibilities that being an independent EU member will bring are endless, and there is growing consensus that Scotland will be a success.

“As part of the UK, Scotland currently loses out on support. Just last year, the UK Government’s decision not to award up to €230m of CAP funding to Scotland between 2014 and 2020 cost our farmers dear.

“Only independence gives us the opportunity to get the most out of being part of the EU. With the Tories intent on holding a referendum that could rip Scotland out of Europe, the only threat to Scotland’s EU membership is a No vote in September.

“More and more experts are backing our common sense approach to EU membership. A Yes vote next year will allow Scotland to make the most of being part of Europe, finally taking a seat around the top table.”