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July 19, 2016


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This article in Newsweek looked at the possible mechanisms: http://www.newsweek.com/how-scotland-and-n-ireland-could-retain-eu-membership-474931

I found them interesting, but I think we are missing something here - there is no need for Scotland to represent the UK in the EU or for Scotland and Northern Ireland to rotate their representation on the Council.

Just exclude London from the definition of "England" under the putative "England and Wales Treaty". Voila, the actual seat of government remains in the EU along with the UK government ministers (who can then represent Scotland AND Northern Ireland). So keep Scotland, Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and London in the EU and take the rest out.

The London exclusion is unnecessary and unworkable.

Unnecessary, because the issue that needs to be solved is parliamentary sovereignty. It matters not where the parliament is located. The problem is that a parliament dominated by English representatives has the ability to overrule the Scottish assembly.

Unworkable, because nobody is going to put a tariff border around London.

Given it's been a year since the referendum I had looked back at some of the old postings and something struck me....

yes, the London exclusion would be unnecessary and unworkable. But then so is the need for the Scotland and Northern Ireland to remain in the EU...

As the threat of the UK breaking up over Brexit seems to have receded (for now) then no solution may really be necessary. However if Brexit starts to bite, then perhaps the threat will reappear.

Perhaps then the solution is a kludge in the EEA and EFTA. It would be the "Liechtenstein solution" for Scotland and Northern Ireland (perhaps modified). So The UK leaves the EU and EEA. The UK rejoins EFTA. Signs up to the EEA, BUT much as how the EEA only applies to the territories of the EU member states which are actually in the EU (so the EEA does not apply to the Cayman Islands, Aruba or Denmark for instance), it also only applies to the territories of the EFTA-EEA states which they have agreed should be in the EEA. So for example Svalbard (a Norwegian territory) is not in the EEA by virtue of Protocol 40 of the Agreement.

The UK could then ratify the EEA agreement as an EFTA state with a new protocol allowing it to exempt "England and Wales" from the agreement (but perhaps allowing it to negotiate a separate free trade agreement with the EU that applies with regards only to England and Wales). Since as an EFTA-EEA member the UK would not have representation at Brussels in either the Parliament or Council, then the issue of London having an indirect veto over a club in which it didn't belong wouldn't really arise.

There would be a host of other potential problems however, but the indirect veto in the EU would not be one of them.

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