Scotland’s Place in Europe After Brexit: Between a Rock and a Hard Place? A Legal Scoping Exercise

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. Background: Scotland’s place in the UK. – III. Scotland as part of the UK: the legal options around a special deal. – III.1. EU membership for Scotland as part of the UK? – III.2. Scotland in the single market as part of the UK? – IV. Scotland as an independent country. – IV.1. The path to an independence referendum. – IV.2. Accession to the EU. – IV.3. Accession to EFTA/EEA. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: The UK's decision to leave the EU poses a particular challenge for Scotland where 62 percent of the population voted in favour of remaining. This has led to calls – amongst others by the Scottish Government – that Scotland should be allowed to either stay in the EU or at the very least in the EU's single market. In a first step this On the Agenda provides an analysis in how far a differentiated solution for Scotland as part of the UK would be legally possible and whether it would be practicable; in a second step the On the Agenda discusses the legal conditions under which an independent Scotland would be able to either join the EU or stay in the single market.

Keywords: Brexit – Scotland – differentiated integration – secession – European Economic Area – European Free Trade Association.

European Papers, Vol. 2, 2017, No 1, pp. 183-200
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/146

* Senior Lecturer in EU Law, Edinburgh Law School,


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