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‘The Economist’: “it is wrong to insinuate” that Scotland and Catalonia “could never join the EU”

The prestigious publication reacted to the speculations on the inclusion of independent Catalonia and Scotland in the EU. “It is wrong to insinuate that newly independent states could never join the EU”, stated ‘The Economist’ in its latest edition. However, the British magazine also stressed that these two cases have no precedents in Europe and therefore warned that it would be “dishonest to pretend that accession would be quick or easy” for the two nations. Indeed, according to the EU officials quoted in the article, “it would take at least four to five years to negotiate and ratify” Catalonia and Scotland’s EU full-right membership. ‘The Economist’ also scolds the President of the European Commission for having compared the “peaceful referendums in western Europe” to the “violent break-up of a Balkan country”.

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21 February 2014 07:17 PM

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ACN

London (ACN).- “The prestigious publication reacted to the speculations on the inclusion of independent Catalonia and Scotland in the EU. “It is wrong to insinuate that newly independent states could never join the EU”, stated ‘The Economist’ in its latest edition. However, the British magazine also stressed that these two cases have no precedents in Europe and therefore warned that it would be “dishonest to pretend that accession would be quick or easy” for the two nations. Indeed, according to the EU officials quoted in the article, “it would take at least four to five years to negotiate and ratify” Catalonia and Scotland’s EU full-right membership. Besides, “there will be no instant betrothal to the EU, no dowry from Brussels - and no cheques guaranteed by other central banks”. The Economist also scolds the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, for having compared the “peaceful referendums in western Europe” to the “violent break-up of a Balkan country” during his visit to London last week-end. ‘The Economist’ considered that Barroso was taking sides and working against Scotland’s and Catalonia’s independence, and demanded him to “assess accession applications impartially”.


In the article entitled Homage to Caledonia (as a reference to George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’ and linking it to Scotland), ‘The Economist’ examines the circumstances surrounding the processes for independence in Catalonia and Scotland, and delves into the hypothetical European Union membership of these two territories as independent states.

“It is wrong to insinuate that newly independent states could never join the EU” stated the article which is doubtful that “Montenegro and Macedonia” would actually “be admitted faster than Scotland and Catalonia, which already apply the EU’s rules”.  However, ‘The Economist’ believes “it is still more dishonest to pretend that accession would be quick or easy, even in the best of circumstances”. The article also highlighted that the Catalan and Scottish cases were the first of a kind in the history of the EU: “A split would be unprecedented, even though several EU members were born of earlier secessions”.

Catalonia’s and Scotland’s EU membership would take “at least four to five years”

The article quotes “EU officials”, who state that “it would take at least four to five years to negotiate and ratify the accession of Scotland and Catalonia”. However ‘The Economist’ warned that “divorce means breakaways must live as singles, at least for a time” and that “there will be no instant betrothal to the EU, no dowry from Brussels - and no cheques guaranteed by other central banks” if the two territories achieve independence. “Scary or liberating, that is the meaning of independence” concludes the article.

But “in the end, the EU cannot turn down a breakaway region”

According to the British financial magazine, much depends on whether the separation is “amicable”, and the outcome “respected and accepted”. Scottish accession could happen “faster” for instance, because of the agreement between London and Edinburgh whereas Spain’s “refusal to permit a referendum in Catalonia suggests it realises that, in the end, the EU cannot turn down a breakaway region”.  

Barroso should “assess accession applications impartially”

‘The Economist’ scolded the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Durão Barroso, for recently stating that it would be “extremely difficult, if not impossible” for Scotland to join the EU and for drawing comparisons with the former-Yugoslavian states’ independence. Barroso referred to the Kosovo case, stressing that Spain has not recognised the new country and, according to him, it will likely do the same with Scotland. The British magazine reproachfully pointed out that “Mr Barroso claimed he did not want to interfere in the Scottish debate but that is what he did - and he may have gone too far”.

“As the man who runs the Commission, he is entitled to set out his views of European law. But he should not judge the likelihood of a successful application” or “speak on behalf of Spain” since “the Commission’s job is to assess accession applications impartially” explained ‘The Economist’.

Cameron’s is “admired” in Catalonia for “letting Scotland vote”

The article explains that the British Prime Minister David Cameron “is admired in Catalonia” for “letting Scotland vote in September on independence from the United Kingdom”. The publication also recalls that Catalans plan on holding their own self-determination referendum two months after Scotland’s “although Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has vowed to stop it”. It is “proof, say Catalan nationalists, of Britain’s deep democracy and Spain’s lingering authoritarianism”, states the article.

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  • A picture from 'The Economist' website featuring the article 'Homage to Caledonia' (by The Economist)

  • A picture from 'The Economist' website featuring the article 'Homage to Caledonia' (by The Economist)