Building a new scotland: borders

The Scottish Government’s latest paper in the series preparing for independence puts Rejoin the EU at the heart of its plans. EMiS supports this but remains steadfastly neutral on the question of independence itself. Here is a brief summary of what the paper says on Borders and Freedom of Movement

  • “We propose that an independent Scotland should apply to re-join the European Union, opening our borders with Europe, and with Northern Ireland, again.”
  • Rejoining would mean Scottish citizens regaining their right to Freedom of Movement (FoM): they would be able to live, work, trade, and travel in 30 other European Economic Area countries. Freedom of Movement opens up economic and life-changing opportunities for Scots across our continent. And their pets!
  • “For Scottish businesses, access to a talent pool drawn from a combined UK and EU population of 515 million will be a major competitive advantage.”
  • FoM would allow workers from across the EEA to come freely to Scotland,  filling the thousands of vacancies in our economy  and starting to repair the damage to our economy caused by a shortage of skills and staff. This would promote a growing population with more economic activity, more people paying taxes to fund our public services. The requirements of the Settled Status scheme would be removed and EU citizens in Scotland would have full equality of rights and protections with Scottish passport holders.
  • “People in Scotland, with membership of the EU and an arrangement called the Common Travel Area (CTA), would be able to travel freely across these islands, including in the UK and Ireland.”
  • Scotland would be responsible for its own borders while its border with England would become an EU border. Arrangements for managing trade across that border would need to be negotiated in accordance with EU law and with the UK. But Scottish citizens would be able to travel to and live and work freely in England, Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because Scotland would remain within the CTA.
  • “Being in the CTA means that there would be no new passport or immigration checks at any of an independent Scotland’s land, sea or air border points with the UK and Ireland for those travelling within it.”
  • •This point needs more explanation. It may mean that an independent Scottish Government would not introduce any new checks at its borders, including at the land border with England. But the UK might insist on checks on its side of that border to control non-CTA citizen immigration.
  • “In joining the EU, an independent Scotland would adopt what is called the Schengen acquis, a set of common obligations and rights EU countries adhere to, in so far as it concerns cooperation between police, customs and border authorities.”
  • There is no suggestion that Scotland would join the Schengen passport-free travel area to which many EEA countries belong. Membership of that element of Schengen would not be compatible with the CTA.

Featured image: DeFacto, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons