By a Newsnet reporter
A newly independent Scotland will remain part of the European Union even if it has not been officially designated a new member, a leading academic has said.
Dr Nicolas Levrat, head of the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Geneva, has dismissed claims that Scotland could find itself outside the European Union in the event of independence and have to wait to re-apply.
He said that Scotland being ejected from the EU would violate the core values upon which it is founded, adding that the EU was not “one day in and one day off,” … “it doesn’t work like that”.
In the second of a series of conferences ‘Constitutions for Europe and New European States’, arranged on behalf of Newsnet Scotland and Independence Live TV, the Swiss based academic said that the so-called Veto, which No campaigners have claimed could be used by countries like Spain to block Scottish membership, “politically cannot be used”.
Dr Levrat also said the consequences of Yes vote on the citizenship rights of Scots, “will not be as dramatic as people pretend”.
He said: “So we can imagine where Scotland is not under the sovereignty of the UK, is not yet declared as a member state of the EU, but remains, because it was part of the UK, under the umbrella of EU law. That could be a solution.”
Levrat added: “We could imagine a situation in which the individual rights of people living in Scotland, of companies based in Scotland and so on would be preserved even though Scotland is not anymore under the effective control or sovereignty of the UK.”
The academic cited the example of Gibraltar which although not officially part of UK territory, still falls under EU law. Even if a newly independent Scotland wanted to leave the EU, said Levrat, it would have to wait two years before the process could be complete.
The intervention from one of the most respected authorities on the issue of the European Union is sure to be welcomed by supporters of independence.
The issue has dominated much of the initial debate on independence and along with currency has underpinned a key plank of the Better Together anti-independence strategy.
Dr Levrat’s comments follow statements from new EC president Jean-Claude Juncker who recently said the commission would respect the democratic wishes of the Scottish electorate. The intervention by Mr Juncker was widely interpreted as meaning a Yes vote would not affect Scotland’s EU status.
The Scottish Government has said it will negotiate a continuation of Scotland’s membership as a new sovereign state, in the eighteen months between a Yes vote and actual independence.
Pro-Union politicians have claimed that independence would see Scotland thrown out of the EU and forced to re-apply, with a waiting time of up to ten years.
View Dr Levat’s full presentation here