Nicola Sturgeon seeks referendum for Scottish independence after Brexit

The last days were not so tranquil as far as the British politics are concerned. Theresa May, recently announced in a Press Conference in Brussels that she will trigger the Article 50 of the European Union Treaty before the end of March. After this statement, the Prime Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that she will hold a second independence referendum after Brexit happens.

The Scottish people are in favour of the European Union and this can be easily understood by seeing the results of the British referendum in June when the 62% of Scottish people voted to remain in the EU constitution.

It is undoubted that a second referendum for independence will not be an easy procedure for Scotland. Many argued that Theresa May might block Sturgeon’s decision in order to keep the country united after the Brexit.

The European Union may have good intentions regarding Scotland, however, nobody can guarantee that if Scottish people decide to become an independent country they will be immediately a member state of the European Union. Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland to keep being a member state of the EU and more especially part of the Single European Market but this is going to be extremely difficult if not impossible. Firstly, Theresa May will not let Scotland leave the United Kingdom easily. Thus, if Scotland gains its independence it will not consist part of the European Union automatically. As Theresa May had mentioned ‘Scotland will be leaving the European Union. It will leave the European Union, either as a member of the United Kingdom or were it independent it’s very clear with the Barosso document, that it would not be a member of the European Union’.

Theresa May is not the only person that could be a potential barrier for Scotland’s independence and by extension an inhibitor to its membership in the EU. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, claimed that if Scotland becomes independent then he will set a veto and he will not allow to the country to enter automatically the European Union constitution. He stated that a country which would obtain independence from the EU would remain out of the EU. Of course, Mr Rajoy does not keep this strict position because he wants Scotland out of Europe and the Single European Market. His main concern is the domestic situation in his country. For many years, the Catalans are demanding their independence and to secede completely from Spain. So, if Scottish people finally vote and become independent and remain in the European Union then definitely the Catalan people will seek their own independence as well. This is the main reason that Mariano Rajoy does not want this separation of Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

It is obvious that Scotland believes in the European institutions and wants to continue being part of them after Brexit. Theresa May, now, has not only to achieve the best possible agreement with the EU but also needs to secure the unity of Great Britain. On the other hand, Nicola Sturgeon with her decision to hold a new referendum in Scotland sparked a substantial controversy in Europe among her counterparts and mainly to those who are afraid that specific populations of their country will follow Scotland’s example.

Iraklis Mitalidis



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