Simon James in today's Financial Times throws out some interesting comparisons between Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence and a possible independent Scotland's role within the European Union.
I've mentioned before that within the European Union there is no precedent; what happens should a part of a member state decide to break away- does it automatically retain membership or would it have to apply as a completely new entity?
The SNP without any real evidence to back-up their argument reckons the former, a Brussels bigwig has said "no".
Anyway, that link with Kosovo.
Six nations within the EU are presently withholding recognition of the new "state"- Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Belgium and have effectively vetoed a common EU stance on the issue. The first four countries are very sensitive of the secessionist pressures within their own borders and are not happy with the example that Kosovo could set for places like the Basque Country in Spain or Erdely in Romania.
In the event of a breakaway Scotland, there is no guarantee whatsover either in hard legal facts or in the event of having to rely on "realpolitik", that Scotland will simply dawdle into the EU as an independent nation. And,as the article points out, that uncertainty is important- 50% of Scotland's trade is with the EU and it makes the SNP's "Scotland in Europe" dream look somewhat presumptious.
Read the rest of the article here.