Scotland

Is being ‘Scottish’ a matter of birth, descent or residence?

Professor Jo Shaw
scotish citizenship

If Scotland votes yes next year, then the Scots will have to decide who they are - who gets to be a Scottish citizen? And can they still be a British citizen too? And if so, does that mean London gets a say? Jo Shaw explains...

This piece originally appeared in Open Democracy digital commons. 

Scottish citizenship: now is the time to start discussing it

Jo Shaw
Holyrood

A Scottish separation would be a unique event in the history of new state creation. The factor that makes it unique is that it would be the first case of the break up of an EU Member State, with both states aspiring – we assume – to EU membership. It is, of course, true to say that some of the state break-ups that have occurred in Europe since 1989, such as the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, the independence of the Baltic states, and the break up of Yugoslavia, have occurred under the shadow of EU law. But it is clearly going to be a different type of situation where the existing state is already a member of the EU, both succeeding states are likely to aspire to continued and uninterrupted membership, there are EU citizens exercising their EU citizenship rights in both states (and citizens from both those states who are exercising their rights elsewhere), and where EU law has now – as it has since 1993 – stepped into the political domain by requiring that EU citizens should be able to vote in local elections under the same conditions as nationals on the basis of residence in the host state.

I was recently invited to give evidence before the Scottish Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons.

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