Scotland might keep the UK in Europe

Saltire_Union JackKirsty Hughes, writer and commentator on European and international politics, asks whether Scottish ‘yes’ voters could deprive the eurosceptics of victory in the EU referendum.

Much of the debate on how Scotland will vote in the EU referendum has focused on whether a Scottish ‘yes’ and an English ‘no’ might trigger a second independence referendum – with England leaving the EU and Scotland staying in as a new member state.

But there is another possibility – which could create its own constitutional outcry amongst the sceptics. And that is that a Scottish ‘yes’ could turn an English ‘no’ into a UK ‘yes’. This is not as unlikely as it may seem – a strong Scottish ‘yes’ and a narrow English ‘no’ would see Scottish voters saving the UK’s four decade long participation in the EU. Continue reading

Could An Independent Catalonia (Re)Join The EU?: The Debate Is On

CataloniaFollowing the regional elections in Catalonia on 27 September 2015 which saw victory for pro-independence parties, Maria Mut Bosque, Lecturer in International Law and EU Law at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, examines the legal possibilities open to Catalonia as it considers its future with the European Union. The issue of secession in EU member states was discussed in the run-up to the Scottish independence referendum a year ago, but many questions still remain unanswered.

From the perspective of international law, a territory must fulfil the following requirements in order to be considered a state: defined territory, a permanent population, government institutions and sovereignty. There is no mention of how sovereignty is acquired and this often varies in practice on a case-by-case basis: some states attain sovereignty through armed conflicts, whereas others have done so through peaceful negotiations. International recognition is a declarative, rather than a constitutive aspect; in other words, international recognition is not a legal requirement for the constitution of a state. The fact that it is not a legal requirement, however, makes it no less important, as international recognition is crucial to establish relations with other subjects of international law, such as states or international organisations. For a new state, failure to attain international recognition from the entire international community would imply maintaining only relations with those states and organisations that recognise it. Failure to obtain recognition from any other states or international organisations would result in isolation and marginalisation. Continue reading