THERE would be “nothing to prevent” Scotland rejoining the EU after independence, but it could involve “tough negotiations”, according to a political analyst.

Niklas Bremberg, associate professor in political science at Stockholm University, also said the process by which Scotland may leave the UK could provide an important precedent for other places such as Catalonia.

Speaking ahead of the launch of a book comparing Catalonia and Scotland, Bremberg said the process by which either of the places potentially achieved independence would be “extremely important.”

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He said: “Not only for Catalonia in the case of Scotland going first, or Scotland in the case of Catalonia going first. 

“But it would also be important for other places across Europe in terms of the way in which this would be a negotiated process – where there would be a clear outcome of a referendum that would lead to a negotiated process, where it would also be clear the outcome would take into account people not in favour of independence.

“That would be the key thing to focus on – the process in which independence would be achieved, which would have a huge impact.”

Bremberg and co-author Richard Gillespie, of the University of Liverpool, will launch ‘Catalonia, Scotland and the EU: Visions of Independence and Integration’ at an online event tomorrow held by Edinburgh University’s Centre on Constitutional Change.

Bremberg said if Scotland was to become an independent country and sought to rejoin the EU, there might be certain issues around which there would be “tough negotiations”.

“Scotland would be in a weaker position now to secure opt-outs from, for example Euro membership, or other policy areas of the EU that certain actors in Scotland would maybe want to see opt-outs from,” he said.

“If Scotland were to become independent and seek EU membership, I wouldn’t see anything that would prevent that from happening.

“But it might be that in terms of the way in which Scotland would enter the EU, it would have less leverage.”

Bremberg said Scotland appeared to have learned lessons from the unilateral push in Catalonia “not being well received” by the international community.

A symbolic vote held in Catalonia in November 2014, took place in defiance of Spain’s constitutional court which ruled the vote illegal.

In 2017, pro-independence parties managed to get a law for a full referendum passed in the regional parliament, which was banned again by Spain’s constitutional court. The poll was marred by violence as Spanish police used force to try to stop it.

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“It is very clear that very few important actors in the EU and Europe at large were favourable to the unilateral moves we saw in Catalonia,” Bremberg said.

“The sense that some actors in Catalonia were pushing for independence unilaterally and against the rule of law and without first seeking constitutional change.

“That was something which was very negatively perceived. I think that is something of course the SNP leadership and people in Scotland appreciate and know.”

He said one common theme linking the independence movements of Scotland and Catalonia was the idea of a nation being held back by constitutional arrangements.

“A lot of people that are supportive of independence in those two places are doing so also because they are aligning or thinking about independence as a way to pursue a different political project,” he added.

“There the issue of democracy and self-determination becomes more important, rather than a sense of ‘deprived nationhood’.”

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Bremberg said it was hard to see the path by which Catalonia would be able to achieve independence.

“At least in the Scottish case you can always go back to the treaty of 1707 and say there is a way in which the United Kingdom was done and there is a way in which it could be undone,” he said.

“In Catalonia it’s more difficult to see that – the history and the way in which the Spanish constitution is set up at the moment, it allows for less opportunities in that sense. 

“From a very general outlook you could see the path towards Scottish independence would be easier if a negotiated settlement could be agreed between Edinburgh and London.”