Leaving the Court of Human Rights would damage Britain's standing and influence

Mooted Conservative proposals would seriously damage Britain’s standing and influence in the world according to Business for New Europe.

Reports that a future Conservative Government would pass a law to limit the role of the European Court are extremely worrying. It is strongly in the interests of ordinary UK citizens and any UK Governments to have clear and enforceable standards of human rights both nationally and internationally.  To undermine the system because we do not agree with a tiny minority of the court’s judgements would be short-sighted populism of the worst kind, and would seriously damage our credibility on the international stage.  How could the UK challenge human rights abuses elsewhere in the world if it signals that it is not prepared to work within the system – a system that the UK itself played such a big part in creating? 

(Read more)

Scottish independence: road to EU membership could be long and uncertain

A vote for independence would require Scotland to leave the European Union and apply for membership from scratch, because several Member States have reason to veto any short-cuts.

That is a key finding of a new report by Business for New Europe, which says that 2019 is the earliest that an independent Scotland could expect to re-enter the EU. 

The report concludes that: 

  • On becoming independent, Scotland would leave the EU, and would have to apply to join under the normal accession procedure - rather than the unprecedented, expedited route suggested by the Scottish Government
  • To bridge the gap, Scotland would need a temporary agreement to guarantee continued access to the Single Market.  This would require a three-way negotiation between the Scottish Government, the UK Government and the EU - running in parallel with UK-Scottish  negotiations on the terms of independence;
  • It would be next to impossible for Scotland to negotiate a budget rebate like the UK’s, and very difficult for it to keep zero VAT rates on food, children’s clothing and books
  • Scotland would also find it very hard to negotiate a formal opt-out from the euro, and if it did succeed in securing a currency union with the remaining UK – as the Scottish Government has proposed, although the UK Government has rejected that -  that very fact would seriously complicate negotiations on EU membership
  • If negotiations between the UK and Scottish Governments dragged on, or if Scotland pushed for special deals from the EU, the date of accession could slip into the next decade. 

The author of the report, Dr Daniel Furby, an EU expert based in Brussels, said: ‘If Scotland were to seek special terms of membership, such as a UK-style budget rebate or Euro opt-out, current EU members would ask why Scotland should receive better terms of membership than they do. The UK only won its rebate and opt-outs as full member of the EU, through many years of hard negotiation.’

Roland Rudd, chairman of Business for New Europe and RLM Finsbury, said: ‘There have been claims and counter-claims in the debate about Scottish independence.  But on the issue of Europe, one thing is absolutely clear.  An independent Scotland could not count on rapid and smooth entry to the European Union – or to get the terms of membership that the UK currently enjoys. There would be a price to pay.  And the more Scotland pushed for special deals, the longer the process could last.’    

(Read more)

Scottish Independence and EU Accession

BNE's report on the implications of Scottish independence for Scotland's EU membership.


A Europe that Works - A Business Manifesto for Reform

Business for New Europe's manifesto, which has been signed by over 260 business leaders, sets out the reforms the EU must make to become more dynamic and business-friendly.


Sign up

Get the latest campaign news, join our movement for change today!

Featured video