Makeover for policymaking

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2014 00:47 IST

Here are the major foreign policy implications in case Scots choose to break away from the United Kingdom:

1. Will the United Kingdom leave EU
The UK’s international standing would be diminished by Scottish Independence, but allies are more concerned about the prospect of a UK exit from the EU.The experts argue that many foreign govt officials were more concerned about the possibility of the UK leaving the EU.

2. Questions on defence might
Separation would raise serious questions at home and amongst allies about the UK’s defence capabilities. Given that the GDP of the remainder of the UK would fall by roughly one-twelfth in the event of Scottish secession, it is likely that defence spending would fall by a similar margin.

3. Policy makeover, need of hour?
A Yes vote would have constitutional implications for UK foreign and defence policy for which there are no precedents. In event of a Yes vote, number of constitutional questions pertaining to foreign policy and defence would need to be resolved before a Scottish declaration of independence in 2016.

4. No guarantee of NATO membership
The foreign policy priorities of an independent Scotland would differ and Nato membership for Scotland would not be guaranteed. Opposition to Scottish accession to the EU would likely come from those states fearing similar secessionist movements, not least Spain, Italy and Belgium.

5. Even ‘no’ will have major impact
A No vote would not end the matter or represent a return to the status quo ante. A No vote would still raise questions about the long-term future of the Union. The referendum has highlighted the strong and widely felt Scottish opposition to the basing of Trident in Scotland.

6. Respect the outcome
It is in the national interest that the outcome of the referendum is respected by all sides and that all issues arising out of the result are resolved as amicably as possible. The working group members stressed that it is vital that both sides respect whatever result the people of Scotland deliver.

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