Scotland and Brexit: shockwaves wil spread across the EU

Policy Briefing

Picture of Dr. Kirsty Hughes
Dr. Kirsty Hughes

Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe

As the UK’s political and constitutional crisis, after its Brexit vote, proceeds apace, huge attention is now going to Scotland and whether it will hold another independence referendum, with the aim of staying in the EU. This Spring, Dr Kirsty Hughes, Associate Fellow at Friends of Europe, charted the political and constitutional challenges Scotland now faces, in our in-depth policy paper.

If the Scottish government goes ahead with a second independence referendum and it is successful, then the UK’s union would dissolve at the same time as Brexit. Three parallel sets of talks would need to happen – the rest of the UK (rUK) with Scotland on separation, rUK with the EU on Brexit, and Scotland with the EU on becoming an independent member state.

In the end, Scotland is confronted with four main choices in the face of Brexit:

1) Leave the EU with the rest of the UK;

2) Move rapidly to a second independence referendum with the aim of staying seamlessly in the EU

3) Challenge, block and stall the Brexit process, creating a deep political and constitutional crisis

4) Leave the EU with the rest of the UK, and argue for Scotland to have the power to negotiate a closer, differentiated relationship with the EU than the rest of the UK may choose.

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