Thursday, 1 November 2012

The possibility of border controls with Scotland

Will we need immigration controls if Scotland leaves at a referendum? So says the conservative North East MEP Martin Callanan, who I spoke with at length a few days ago. He makes the point that if Scotland goes for independence it will almost certainly not receive automatic entitlement to join the European community. As such it will be an independent country outside the Schengen Agreement on border controls. They will also neither automatically have the euro nor the pound.
Scotland would have to apply to join the European community. This may well be objected to by the Spanish and the French. Why? Because the Spanish do not want to let Catalonia have independence and be part of a united europe. The French face similar problems with the Corsicans, who want independence from France. Both these very powerful European countries do not want small regions leaving their country, and are sure to object to Scotland getting access to the European Union.
I think that that PM is right to give the Scots a choice.  But with such a choice comes consequences. And at the end of this if there would be independence, then a future Scotland would have no Barnett formula, no subsidised military bases, NHS or RBS. It might make the north east a very attractive place to be for the scots. But we would probably have to have border controls.
I remain committed to the great union that has led to us standing shoulder to shoulder against all the world, from the days before the empire and napoleon, through two world wars and beyond. To cast it aside would be wrong. We are better off together.