Call for evidence and how to submit your response

Background

On 26th November 2013 the Scottish Government published its White Paper Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to an Independent Scotland which sets out is proposals for an independent Scotland in advance of the Referendum which will take place on 18 September 2014. On 27th November, the Scottish Government published a more detailed paper on Scotland in the European Union which provides more details on its proposals relating to the European Union.

The Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee is seeking the views of individuals and organisations on the Scottish Government’s proposals for an independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union.

The Committee has identified three key themes for its inquiry, which are set out in more detail below. In preparing a response to the Committee, you may wish to take into account these themes or cover other areas which you consider are relevant to the scope of the inquiry.

Scotland in the European Union

The White Paper states that the “Scottish Government, supported by the overwhelming majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament, believes that membership of the EU is in the best interests of Scotland.”  The Scottish Government further indicates that membership of the EU “provides the best international economic framework within which to optimise the economic and social gains of independence and tackle the global challenges that we face.”

You may wish to make reference to the following issues in any response on this theme—

  • What is the value of membership of the European Union for Scotland?
  • What are the potential alternatives to European Union membership for Scotland, for example    the European Free Trade Association?
  •  What are the factors that determine the role that small states can take in the international sphere?

The road to membership and Scotland’s representation in the EU

This theme relates to the process by which an independent Scotland would become a member of the European Union, the terms on which it would join and its representation in the EU following accession.

The Scottish Government has stated that its aim would be “to seek discussions with the UK, Member States and institutions of the EU to agree a process whereby a smooth transition to full EU membership can take place on the date on which Scotland becomes an independent State.”

You may wish to make reference to the following issues in any response on this theme—

  • The Scottish Government’s view that the general provisions in Article 48 of the Treaty of European Union is a “suitable legal route to facilitate the transition process”.
  • The implications of the Scottish Government’s proposal that it will approach EU membership negotiations on the principle of continuity of effect (i.e. that it is based on the EU Treaty obligations and provisions that the UK has previously negotiated, notably in relation to the budget rebate, Economic and Monetary Union, Justice and Home Affairs and the Schengen area).
  • Whether eighteen months is sufficient for “the terms of Scotland’s independent membership of the EU to be agreed and all the necessary processes completed.”
  • Whether there are any potential obstacles to Scotland’s membership that might arise during the negotiations.
  • Whether the proposals for transition to full EU membership may have any implications in terms of EU citizenship.
  • Whether there might be the potential for the Court of Justice to rule in relation to any aspects of the transition process.
  • Who would conduct the negotiations for EU membership on behalf of Scotland and how would the negotiations be managed.
  • What level of representation is Scotland likely to have in the EU institutions following accession.

 Small states within the EU

This theme concerns the influence that small states can have in the European Union. It examines the Scottish Government’s view that there is a growing body of evidence that the smaller EU Member States “are relatively more successful in Council negotiations by achieving legislative outcomes closer to their preferred position than are the larger Member States.” It also covers the Scottish Government’s vision for Scotland’s membership of the European Union. You may wish to make reference to the following issues in any response on this theme—

  • The ways in which small members states can influence decision-making in the European Union.
  •  How Scotland might position itself within the European Union.
  • What an independent Scotland’s vision and agenda should be in the European Union.

 How to submit written evidence

Please use the specific issues outlined above as the basis for your submission. You may wish to respond to any or all of the specific questions. Evidence should be reasonably brief and typewritten (preferably normally no more than 4-6 sides of A4 in total).

A leaflet has been produced on the Committee's call for evidence:

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is 24 January 2014. Written submissions on the road to membership and Scotland's representation in the European Union should be received by 16 January 2014, prior to the evidence sessions on 23 and 30 January 2014.  Owing to the timescale normally required for the processing and analysis of evidence, late submissions will only be accepted with the advance agreement of the Clerk.

The Committee prefers to receive written submissions electronically and in a form accessible by MS Word. These should be sent to: [email protected]

You may also send a hard copy of written submissions to:

 European and External Relations Committee

Scottish Parliament

Holyrood

Edinburgh

EH99 1SP

Policy for Handling Written Evidence

Before you submit your written evidence, please ensure that you have read our policy on treatment of written evidence. Written submissions will be handled in accordance with this policy.

We would also be grateful if, when using any tables or graphics in your submission, that you include a short paragraph explaining what the table/graphic shows. This helps readers with visual impairments.

 Contact

For details about the Committee’s work on this inquiry please contact Katy Orr, Clerk to the Committee, tel 0131 348 5234 or [email protected].