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Check points at border if Scotland breaks away from union?

Passport controls may have to go up near the Scottish border if it votes for independence, the UK’s Europe Minister said.

David Lidington said Scotland would not necessarily inherit the UK’s opt-out of the Schengen Agreement which permits freedom of movement around most of Europe.

The opt-out means EU citizens are still subject to passport checks at UK borders and they may have to be established along the border at Gretna.

Mr Lidington made the remarks yesterday as he visited the Scottish Parliament to discuss developments in the eurozone with MSPs.

Speaking in a post-committee briefing, he said opt-outs like Schengen, and also of the euro currency, “require not just a bilateral agreement between the UK and an independent Scotland, it would require the agreement of all of the other member states as well”.

He said: “The fact that the UK has an opt-out from Schengen means that we are able to maintain the border controls that you don’t have on the borders between Schengen countries.

“Logically, if Scotland were in Schengen, every Schengen country has to dismantle border checks with other Schengen countries, and have border checks with other EU states that are outside Schengen.

“That is why, for example, if I fly to Munich from London I have to go through a passport check before I can transit to a plane connecting to Poland.

“So there’s a logic in the way that Schengen is organised, and that is a clear problem that Scotland would have to face up to.”

He said Scotland’s membership of Europe is not “something that can simply be assumed”.

He said: “Membership is something which requires the unanimous agreement of every other member state. The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union. We have our accession treaty. We are a signatory to it and are bound by European law.

“Now, I can quite see that if Scotland wanted to leave the UK, and I hope it doesn’t, it would probably want to be in the European Union. But that is something that would have to be negotiated and would require the agreement of every member.”

Mr Lidington said “The UK would continue to exist” without Scotland, with “three of the countries still belonging to that union”.

The Scottish Government wants to hold a referendum in 2014.

Have your say

I agree they should have border controls,then they could stop all the worlds waifs and strays,sleeper terrorists from all over the world, all the bogus asylum seekers and all the war criminals from former yugoslavia and africa currently residing in England from leaving, after all any normal country that thinks about the peace and security of it's citizens would not allow them to come here in the first place would they ?.

Posted by James O on 27 February 2012 at 09:02

I live in northern ireland but have lived in carlisle before,I believe if scotland gets independence it will do more harm than good not only for trade and commerce for carlisle but i believe it would restart the troubles in northern ireland. Since the republic of ireland became independent from the uk in 1922, areas around the border of northern ireland have became poverish to save the least due to the low fuel duty and low corperation tax in the south, i think because england will have no oil/ depleated stocks it will push up fuel tax to compensate for the supply slump from the north sea as a result people in carlisle will go over the border to get their fuel.
Not only that but the uk has been through 2 world wars and alex salmond is doing what hitler failed to do by braking up the union.

Posted by Dylan on 26 February 2012 at 14:28

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