Would the EU treat an independent Scotland like East Germany?

With Brexit dominating the news, one SNP MP has compared Scotland to East Germany in relation to EU membership. Would an independent Scotland become a member ‘overnight’?

The Claim:

 

“For when you’re told SNP campaigned to leave EU in 2014 - No we didn’t! EU accepted E.Germany, which met NO EU regs, overnight after their Ref.”

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP MP

Twitter, 8th December 2018

    The facts

  • East Germany, officially called the German Democratic Republic, existed from 1949 until German reunification in 1990.

     

  • At the time, West Germany was part of the European Economic Community (which later became the European Community and subsequently absorbed into the European Union).

  • The European Union (EU) was formally established in 1993 following the signing of the Maastricht Treaty a year earlier. East Germany was never part of the EU.

     

  • All EU members which have joined the bloc since the Maastricht Treaty are legally obliged to adopt the euro once they meet the criteria.

What the experts say

“When part of the territory of a Member State ceases to be a part of that State, e.g. because that territory becomes an independent state, the treaties will no longer apply to that territory.

 

In other words, a new independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the Union and the Treaties would, from the day of its independence, not apply any more on its territory.”

Viviane Reding

Vice-President of the European Commission

Letter to the Scottish Parliament, March 2014

 

Scotland in Union Fact Check Conclusion:

Given the EU didn’t actually exist at the time, it could not have accepted East Germany ‘overnight’. But, more importantly, this was a case of a country unifying with another. That is the complete opposite to separating into a new entity.

Quite simply, Dr Whitford is comparing apples and pears. The European Commission has made it clear that an independent Scotland would become a third country with respect to the EU and would have to apply to join.

And the treaties couldn’t be clearer: all new member states must meet the necessary criteria, including a budget deficit of no more than 3 per cent of GDP.  The latest official figures put Scotland’s deficit at a whopping 7.9 per cent – four times higher than the UK.

The only way to get that down is by both hiking taxes and slashing spending on already-stretched public services such as schools and hospitals – meaning deeper, harmful austerity. All member countries must also commit to eventual membership of the euro, and an independent Scotland would not enjoy the UK’s opt-out. Whatever your views on Brexit, independence is not the answer.

Would the EU treat an independent Scotland like East Germany?

Dr Whitford is comparing apples and pears. The European Commission has made it clear that an independent Scotland would become a third country with respect to the EU and would have to apply to join.

Considering the EU didn't exist at the time and the clear message from the EU is that Scotland will have to apply for membership, it's clearly false!

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