CATHERINE STIHLER asks a Question To Which The Answer Is “None of your business”


The SNP’s position on Europe is nothing short of farcical.

In May of this year I wrote to the Scottish Government, under a Freedom of Information Act, asking for the legal advice they had been given regarding entry to the EU if Scotland became an independent country. It had struck me that if those in government were so certain about automatic EU entry then they would also have the evidence to back their assertions up.

Instead of being able to back up their case with clear legal certainty, my request was refused as it was deemed “contrary to public interest”. How can a request to clarify such an important issue for the future of Scotland be against the public interest? Is this what openness means to nationalists in power? I am now appealing the decision.

Meanwhile in the European Parliament I am also asking for clarity from the European Commission who has responsibility for the application process of new member states.

It will be no surprise that the European Commission’s standard response so far has been that this is a “hypothetical question”. However in 2007 the former EU Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, explained that if Scotland gained independence, it would be the rest of the UK – less Scotland – who would be considered an existing member of the EU.

With neither the Scottish Government nor European Commission willing to be clear with the Scottish people it remains our responsibility as Labour representatives to seek the truth.

Catherine Stihler is a Scottish Labour Member of the European Parliament. Follow her on Twitter at @c_stihler_MEP.