>> Three flags side by side that have never been further apart. Scotland potentially poised to leave Britain, as it prepares to leave the EU.>> Keep up.>> But if Scotland does ditch one union, how easy is to keep the other? Alistair MacDonald is Reuter's Brussels Bureau Chief.
>> It seems very unlikely that Scotland would then be able to extricate itself from the United Kingdom before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. So the timing sequence almost necessarily means that Scotland will have to leave the European Union before coming back in.
>> So, what then? As a new state, it would have to apply for membership like anybody else. The fact it meets several criteria already and has EU laws would mean a speedier process than others like Albania or Turkey. But independence could create hurdles too.>> It will have to negotiate with the government in London on how to divide up the economy, how to divide up the national debt.
It would have to create, in some form, its own currency or its own central bank, its own economic system, its own political institutions. Many of them exist but many of them don't.>> Last time around, Scotland said it wanted to keep the pound, but in theory, new members have to sign up to the euro.
Negotiations would also have to deal with tricky issues like access to fishing rights and EU budget contributions. The interests of the individual members could pose a problem too. Spain, for example, faces its own separatist its threat from Catalonia and would have the power of veto.>> The key to Scotland being accepted by Spain, in particular, to join the European Union, is that it has to show that the constitutional process by which it has become independent within the United Kingdom is totally different from the example of Catalonia trying to break away from Spain.
>> It took Sweden less than two years to join in the mid 90s but that was an already established independent country. For Scotland, it's thought even the fastest of fast tracks would take at least three years.