Today’s Independent, 16th October 2012, in looking at some of the issues given rise to by a ‘Yes’ vote in 2014 says, under a section called ‘Border/Passports’:
‘Home Secretary Theresa May has said that border checks might be necessary between the UK and an independent Scotland. However, the SNP is intent for an independent Scotland to join the EU, so the Schengen Agreement would guarantee free cross-border movement.’
The UK and Ireland were not signatories to the Schengen Agreement, known as the ‘open borders’ agreement, allowing unimpeded transit between signed up members states.
So in the scenario of an independent Scotland given membership of the EU at whatever stage – assuming the EU is still in existence – and signing up to the Schengen Agreement itself, would not see free cross border movement because the rest of the UK is not a party to that agreement.
It would mean, for example, any UK origin flights coming into a Scotland that was a Schengen signatory with some passengers in transit for another Schengen state would have to disembark and reembark those passengers at the Scottish airport to put them through passport controls.
This could have a detrimental impact on route development for HIAL airports, with the current thinking focused on a three or more destination route, each of which destinations with passenger traffic that wants to get to the others.
HIAL airports would naturally look to UK and Irish airports to provide one of those two or three destinations in a proposed chain – and neither of these are Schengen states.