Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Friday, 21 february 2014 | Financial Times

English

Reply to the Financial Times, by Xavier Comas

We would like to recommend the following letter sent to the Financial Times by our good friend Xavier Comas, regarding the statements made by Mr. Barroso in the FT report “Barroso warns Scots over EU hurdles.”(Feb 17th).


Barroso spoke out of turn on Scotland’s choice
February 19th, 2014.

From Mr Xavier Comas.

Sir, As you report (“Barroso warns Scots over EU hurdles”, February 17), José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said during a BBC interview last Sunday that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for any new country to receive approval from all the member states to join the EU. But Mr Barroso is speaking out of turn. The Scottish independence movement is – and should be treated as – an internal affair of the UK so long as it does not violate the fundamental values on which the EU is founded, namely: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights of persons belonging to minorities.

It is true that the 1973 UK accession treaty to the European Communities was based on the premise that Scotland and its citizens were part of the UK. Therefore, if Scotland were to become independent, the terms of the UK permanence in the EU would have to be renegotiated. Yet, it would be foolish – and certainly not in anyone’s interest – to ask the UK to leave the EU and conduct those negotiations as an outside state. Yet the same could be said about an independent Scotland, particularly in light of article 9 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states: “In all its activities, the Union shall observe the principle of the equality of its citizens, who shall receive equal attention from its institutions, bodies, offices and agencies.”

The Scots are already EU citizens; therefore, the EU would violate its own principles should it decide to treat them differently from the rest of the citizens of the UK.

Clearly, having to deal with the splitting in two of one of its member countries would be a challenge for the EU; it has never occurred before, and the Union’s internal procedures do not contemplate such a possibility. But despite its many bureaucratic shortcomings, the EU can display remarkable realism in dealing with such challenges, as it did when it allowed the former Democratic Republic of Germany to join the EU as part of the Federal Republic of Germany without having to negotiate as an outside state.

Regardless of what some of its officials suggest, we must trust that the EU would ultimately act in accordance with its principles and mandates should Scotland, Catalonia, or other peoples seek to reestablish their independence.

Xavier Comas, Alna, ME, US


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

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