Devomax and EU

Thoughts on #devomax debate from international & EU perspective via @KirstyS_Hughes

Hard to separate foreign/external policy from domestic policy, yet more so for EU policy. States will deal with UK when making treaties whatever its constitutional set-up.


There are federal states that give sub-states some power over trade or migration (notably Belgium, Canada) but requires clear federal interactive structures. Prof Michael Keating @CCC_Research leading expert on this
2/… Despite SNP rebuffs to devomax this week, Scottish govt has produced several papers on strong devomax in Brexit context, notably its first Scotland’s Place in Europe paper in 2016 and subsequent papers on migration & other topics

Scot gov idea of Scotland in EU single mkt & UK was never tested, as dismissed by UK govt. No-one I’ve talked to in EU thinks EU wd have agreed to this post-2016 or to a more limited version of NI protocol for Scotland which is v specific to island of Ireland, peace process


Being in single mkt & not EU wd mean strong regulatory border Scotland-rUK & taking EU rules instead of UK rules – no single internal UK mkt. Countries like Spain, France etc wd not give this degree of autonomy to a substantial 3rd country sub-state, nor want to set precedents

EU has a lot of diffferentiation internally & to some extent externally. Excellent summary by @AlynSmith & @davidmartinmep Clear this is linked to interests of EU member states – overseas territories, micro states, specific contexts eg Gibraltar, NI.

6/… Even in 2014, devomax wd have been highly limited unless major changes in how UK took decisions in EU; EU laws affect wide range of domestic policies. Asymmetric federalism unlikely to help v much here.

Where does this leave devomax on international/EU side? There is considerable scope for Scotland as a sub-state to have, as it does, an external affairs policy. More cd be devolved on this. But there is no obvious route to being a third country sub-state in EU single mkt


There is no way, if indy Scotland was in EEA or EU, to avoid substantial regulatory border with rUK (& customs one if EU). Starmer/Brown cd suggest some increased powers over trade/migration but while Labour accepts Brexit, then only route back to EU or to single mkt is indy.

We live in an interdependent world. Domestic & international policies overlap enormously: climate change, trade, human rights, migration & more. Any serious devomax debate wd need to take account of this. EU membership wd still need independence.

Thanks to