Academic lays out extra option for Scotland outside the EU
SCOTLAND’s “obvious route” in the event of a hard Brexit would be to join the European Economic Area (EEA), according to an academic specialising in European Union trade and human rights law.
According to Steve Peers, who is a professor of EU constitutional law and commissioned expert for the European parliament and commission, Scotland would benefit from not joining the fiscal constraints of EU single currency while still participating in the single market.
He also stated that in the case of a so-called “hard Brexit” with the UK shut out of most trading blocks and options Scotland could use the EEA as a “waiting house” for future membership before or after independence.
“The most obvious route for Scotland to consider would be membership of the EEA, along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.” Steve Peers
Steve Peers, professor of EU and human rights law at the University of Essex, said: “The most obvious route for Scotland to consider would be membership of the EEA, along with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
“The EEA provides for participation of these non-EU countries in the EU’s single market freedoms and all the EU legislation related to them, as well as most EU employment and environmental law. But Scotland would not be covered by EU laws in other areas, notably agriculture, fisheries, tax and justice and home affairs – although, like Norway and Iceland, it could sign separate treaties with the EU on these issues.”
“There would be no obligation to join the EU single currency, and most significantly Scotland would be free to sign separate trade agreements with non-EU countries because the EEA does not cover the EU’s customs union. This is particularly important because it means Scotland could seek to retain a closer economic relationship with the rUK than the rUK might have with the EU.”
The comments also follow news in summer that a post-Brexit UK would receive a “hostile reception” from other countries in the EEA if they tried to join.
“The EEA provides for participation of these non-EU countries in the EU’s single market freedoms and all the EU legislation related to them, as well as most EU employment and environmental law.” Steve Peers
Following the result of the EU referendum on June 24, the Scottish Government has emphasised its commitment to continuing full membership of the EU, citing the outcome of the vote in Scotland which saw 62 per cent of the vote secured for remaining.
The EEA, sometimes referred to as the single market, includes all the countries that are part of Europe's free trade area, with the exception of Switzerland. All members of the EU automatically become members of the European Economic Area, giving them access to the single market.
However, three European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) members, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, are part of the EEA too. Switzerland, the one EFTA member not in the EEA, has made separate bilateral trade agreements with the EU to allow it to participate in the single market in some areas.
Picture courtesy of Tom Dennis Radetzki
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