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The Edinburg Agreement is an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK Government over the terms of the 2014 referendum on Scottish Independence. Yes you read correctly, Scotland is going to see about becoming independent from the UK. Easier said than done however when you consider the legal consequences that would follow. We aren’t talking about the situation in Sudan where the independent state of South Sudan was created in 2011. This is immensely more complicated but the Scots don’t seem to think so.
Legal opinions are being released in a series of UK papers intended to help make the case that Scotland should remain part of the UK. One of the legal issues is what exactly happens to the status of Scotland if it becomes independent. Well one would imagine that it is then a new state that would be recognized by the international community and have the ability to enter into treaties with other nations. These are a few of the requirements for a self proclaimed country to be recognized as an independent nation state according to international law. But then technically, this new Scotland is not a party to any treaties yet, only the UK is. If Scotland is a brand new independent nation state, wouldn’t they have to apply to be members of the EU and the UN just like all other countries do? Isn’t that the way it goes? The UK thinks so and the Scots do not. In fact they both find each other exceptionally arrogant that each one would have the opposite views on this legal issue.
Another important point brought up is what to do with all the treaties that the UK is a part of. Scotland, as an independent country, wouldn’t just continue to be a part of those treaties as they are specifically between a country and the UK. We are talking about every valid treaty that the UK has been a party to having to be reviewed and re-signed by this new nation state of Scotland. Does Scotland get to pick and choose then what treaties it wants?
Another criticism by the UK is brought up by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon whose statement was in response to Scotland’s belief that their place in the EU would not be affected by independence. She stated “[i]f they believe this and if they think that they keep all the rights of the UK, does that mean that they keep all the liabilities as well, including the UK national debt?” Very good point Ms. Sturgeon. This is beginning to sound like a young teenager that wants to be independent but still use his father’s credit score when going to the bank for a loan.
1) According to international law, would Scotland have to apply to be a member of the European Union and the United Nations if it gains independence? Please cite to the law or case you are using for your answer.
2) If Scotland gains independence, what about all those treaties that the UK is a party to? Specifically the beneficial ones that Scotland would like to remain a part of. Do they have to review and sign as an independent state? That could take years between negotiations and legal work. Is the party that UK signed with under any obligation to automatically allow Scotland to sign on according to international law? Is there a legal alternative to cut all the red tape?
3) Scotland wants all the benefits but none of the hardships. What about the UK national debt? Scotland is accountable for some of that debt, between national security, the wars over the past 10 years, basic costs of national governing, does Scotland just get off without having to pay a bill? What happens if they try that and the UK refuses to grant independence until they do? Civil war? War of Independence? Can they become independent without the permission of the UK?
4) Would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies, that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!!
Source: Financial Times