New referendum, new foreign policy: this is how Scotland wants to replay its independence card

New referendum, new foreign policy: this is how Scotland wants to replay its independence card

Since the Scottish National Party of nicola sturgeon Won another term in the elections to the Scottish Parliament in the spring, securing an additional seat has led to a steady increase in diplomatic access.

Starting with a bustle of foreign diplomats eager to join the authorities in Edinburgh as well as London; Everything from Prime Minister Sturgeon (renamed “Elsie McSelfie” by some detractors to her love of photographs on social media as “Elsie McSelfie”) with world leaders and climate change activists at COP26 in Glasgow, towards a new focus on external relations Indicates a new referendum for independence.

The game is headed by the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs Angus Robertson, foreign Minister Actually of the country The veteran politician, a former foreign correspondent based in Vienna, is one of Sturgeon’s most loyal lieutenants and has returned to the fore since May’s elections.

“The Scottish Government is very excited that the rest of the world understands what is happening in Scotland, that we are open for business and that we are working hard to recover from COVID,” Robertson said in an interview with Euronews. “As well as the fact that there are particularly interested governments in the future of Scotland and the United Kingdom who want to know what is happening in relation to the next referendum on independence”.

New referendum for 2023

While most polls still show that most Scots are opposed to independence and in favor of staying in the UK, the Scottish government’s plans for a new referendum in 2023 are expected to ride a trend that Robertson says will again also shows a shift in consensus towards supporting independence. Compared to the 2014 vote.

“If it comes to choosing between a pro-European and EU member state, an independent Scotland or Boris Johnson’s mini-Brexit Britain, I think people will vote for independence,” he says.

“We have many reasons why good foreign relations are important and we look forward to improving them when we become a sovereign state.”

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However, the “perfect storm” of continued domestic electoral success; relatively weak political opposition to Holyrood; The damaging impact of Brexit on Scottish businesses; The scandal-prone government of Boris Johnson in Westminster; And the notion that Nicola Sturgeon handled the COVID pandemic reasonably competently did not bring about the huge wave of support for independence that the SNP had hoped for.

Robertson says that the Scottish government has yet to pass legislation to prepare for the referendum and that somehow the UK government has to accept it, before moving on to a real campaign that reassures as many people as possible. That’s freedom. The correct answer is for Scotland.

He says a detailed debate on independence will help persuade an estimated 20% of undecided or previously opposed voters to go to the “yes” camp.

Increased presence in Copenhagen, the beginning of a new mission in Warsaw

Before entering the political and legal minefield of another independence referendum, the Scottish government is making its moves in European affairs.

Although purely ‘foreign policy’ matters are reserved for Westminster, there are several areas where Scots can work more openly with international partners.

The Scotland House network, with offices in London, Dublin, Brussels, Berlin, Paris, Washington, Ottawa and Beijing, brings together business, education and culture development initiatives under one umbrella. It was first established by a Conservative-led Scottish government and has since been supported by successive administrations in Edinburgh.

As part of a new coalition partnership with the Greens, the Scottish Government will upgrade its current commercial office in Copenhagen to full Scotland House status and establish a new office in Warsaw.

“There are things we want to learn and there are undoubtedly things we can contribute to, even helping our neighbors and friends in Northern Europe,” says Angus Robertson, author of Green Energy Technology as a Special Area. And citing infection.

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“We have historical ties throughout the region and we have many reasons why it is important to work together now,” he says.

“I think everyone in Europe is very happy to have an active participant in Scotland and we have an excellent dialogue with friends and neighbors internationally, which is how diplomacy works. It is based on human-to-human relations. Is.”

The European Vision of a Changing Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon’s diplomatic efforts went unnoticed in European capitals, especially after the 2016 Brexit referendum when a majority of Scots voted to remain in Europe.

A resounding electoral victory – with numbers that would be the envy of politicians of any European democracy – culminating in a perfect performance at COP26 in his hometown crowned an extraordinary year for the Scottish leader.

“I think it’s a very carefully thought out strategy and it’s the right way to go,” says Prof. marlene wind, director center for european policy at the University of Copenhagen. “It’s a way to appear as a leader, to go as far as possible on the world stage, to create a sense of being the head of a nation that doesn’t want to identify with that clown Boris Johnson.”

Professor Wind says Brexit has “absolutely” changed Scotland’s perception of EU leaders, even though none of them will publicly support independence.

“I think there’s a sense behind the scenes that Brexit has really changed things when it comes to a country.” [la Scozia] Those who voted to stay, those who voted with great confidence to stay in Europe,” he added.

But when it comes to planning and timing another independence referendum, Pawan is cautious, especially without raising public enthusiasm.

“It is also very important not to be pushed too hard, because they already had a chance at independence and cannot continue with the referendum in which they eventually lose.”

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A new approach to international business

In addition to two new Scotland House outposts, in the cards to play for for 2022, the Scottish Government has also worked to develop tailor-made engagement strategies for bilateral relations. United States of america,China, Canada, India I Pakistan,

A joint review of Ireland-Scotland relations was held this year in collaboration with the Irish Government, the first of its kind; And an Arctic politics that sees Scotland’s role in the Far North differently, almost like a regional neighbour.

The high profile role he played in COP26 was the icing on the cake.

“You’re showing your country to the world on a bigger issue,” he says. Stephen Gethins, former member of parliament for lo Scottish National Party and now a professor at the university St Andrews,

“Who can show this better than the leader of the country? And even more so when Boris Johnson and the UK international are very bad,” he says.

Gethins, whose book “Nation to Nation: Scotland’s Place in the World” was published earlier this year, argues that the UK will be more effective internationally if it “plays the whole team” and foreign policy in particular. Involve the Scottish Government in the discussion of When international agreements on issues such as climate change need to be implemented and implemented by decentralized administrations.

“In many ways, the UK is particularly centralized in terms of foreign policy,” he says, citing Denmark’s formal agreements with the Faroe Islands and Greenland as an example, where relations in the semi-autonomous regions have significantly improved. Freedom is. International.

In the UK, he says, there is “an enormous amount of ambiguity” when it comes to matters of foreign policy.

“And where there is ambiguity, there is opportunity.”


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