The decision of a majority of people in England and Wales to leave the EU has been met with fierce opposition in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Politicians in both parts of the United Kingdom seek arrangements to counteract the result of the referendum. These measures question the constitutional framework of the UK and might ultimately lead to its dissolution.
Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, travelled to Brussels this week. There, she explored alleyways for her country to possibly remain in the EU and made the case for an independent Scotland. The spokesperson for Europe of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Alex Salmond, commented on the party leader’s journey: “The negotiations that she is opening across Europe with European leaders, with European institutions, while Westminster is in chaos, are to try and establish how you secure Scotland’s position on Europe.”
Similar efforts are in progress in Northern Ireland, where 56 per cent of the population voted to remain. Deriving from this result, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of the nationalist Sinn Féin Party sees “a very special place” for the part of the UK he represents. Meetings with the Irish Prime Minister have been arranged to discuss what this special place could look like.
A referendum to replace the referendum
A possible way to ensure that both Scotland and Northern Ireland do not leave the EU – preferred by both the SNP and Sinn Féin – is to hold a different kind of referendum in their respective countries. A referendum in Scotland would be held on the independence of the country, whereas in Northern Ireland people would be asked whether they preferred to live in a United Ireland or not.
Both referendums – if resulting in a positive outcome – would shatter the constitutional framework of the UK. The United Kingdom as we know it would cease to exist. So even if a future British Prime Minister would be able to negotiate a speedy exit from the EU, turmoil within the UK will not cease for a long time to come.
Gastautor :Jan Anjuson (:Jan Freytag)