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Sionaidh Douglas-Scott

Sionaidh Douglas-Scott is Professor of European and Human Rights Law at Oxford University.

In July 2014, Jean-Claude Juncker was designated as new President of the European Commission. It may be that he will take a more neutral approach to the question of an independent Scotland’s EU membership than that of his predecessor, José Manuel Barroso, who famously stated that it would be: ‘extremely difficult, if not impossible’for an independent Scotland to join the European Union. The puzzle is why Barroso (and some other EU officials) should appear negative about the prospect of an independent Scotland’s continued EU membership. For while either side of the independence debate may have a strong interest in portraying Scotland’s future in the EU as either plain sailing, or as a via dolorosa, the EU itself should have no such vested interest. I write ‘should’, for in the EU, as in other areas of public life, the fractional and the partisan of politics all too often dominate over matters of principle.