With the pro-independence parties gaining a majority in the Scottish Parliament, a complex legal, political and social struggle began for Scottish independence from Britain, as well as a new setback for Boris Johnson’s government. Independence experts estimate that secession will hurt Scotland’s economy and, if it goes ahead, make it far poorer than when it was part of Britain. The cost of Scottish independence for its economy would probably be In addition, re-joining the EU after independence will have little effect on reducing these costs, and in the short term, its economic losses are likely to outweigh those of maintaining a common market with the rest of the UK. But Scottish First Minister and SNP Leader Nicolas Sturgeon said rejoining the European Common Market meant building a stronger economy.
Financial Crisis in the Eurozone
Although the European Union was formed with the aim of increasing cooperation and union between European countries, the financial crisis and dire situation of some member states is now threatening the main goals of the union which initiated its existence. The current financial crisis in Europe is the biggest problem the European integration process has faced since its inception. The purpose of this study is to examine the dimensions of the financial crisis in the European Union and to analyse its possible consequences on the outcome of European integration and the common foreign policy of the European Union.
The European financial crisis, which has been raging since 2008, has become an existential threat to the EU. In fact, the roots of the crisis must be sought in three factors: economic globalisation, crisis in the US and its spread to European financial markets, and financial indiscipline upsetting the economies of countries in the Eurozone. Europeans, having experienced the financial crisis of the 1930s, are well aware that if the situation is not contained, the consequences will not be limited to financial institutions and markets, but can affect the political and social environment of the region as a whole.
The direct outcomes of financial crises are a growing recession and increasing unemployment rates, the immediate consequences of which have been seen on the streets of European cities in the form of protests and social unrest. The defeat of the ruling parties during the election season and the fall of their governments (as happened in France, Greece and Italy), as well as the spread of distrust and discouragement over the need for European integration, are the first major costs of the
With the spread of the European financial crisis to most European countries, the two products of European integration – a Europe without borders and a single currency – have been hotly criticised by far-right parties as the supreme symbols and indicators of European social integration, and sympathised with by many citizens. A Europe without borders has facilitated business and employment for Europeans by facilitating legal and illegal immigration; and the single currency, through its various national budgeting and planning systems, had made debtors and debtors.
Has the EU Financial Crisis Been Defused?
Although members of the Eurozone have worked hard over the past five years to contain the short-term tensions of the crisis, it remains to be seen how they can unite their national economies. The roots of the current crisis lie not in the unbridled extravagance of the bankrupt public and private sectors, but in the fundamental imbalances within the euro area. This means that setting a single monetary policy and exchange rate for a diverse group of national economies is inherently problematic. As a result, various schemes, such as austerity, national budget management, financial federalism, financial rescue programmes, and the allocation of large funds to rebuild the credibility of national institutions alone are not enough to solve the problem.
The first signs of a financial crisis appeared on the European financial market less than a decade after the launch of the euro. Shortly after the economic collapse of the United States and Britain in 2008, European economies also began to diverge. Debtor governments came under immediate, unyielding pressure by international markets. Domestic markets fell, interest rates rose as did the foreign debts of southern European countries, and their growth rates stalled or were negative in some cases.
In contrast, Germany experienced unprecedented economic growth after a short hiccup. The immediate result of this apparent rift was to bring the euro’s credibility into question. To put it more clearly, the violation of the euro, the prosperous countries led by , upset the balance by increasing or decreasing inflation rates in their countries. Commerce was to the benefit of one and to the detriment of others.
The outcome of lowering inflation rates in Germany to below the 2% red line set by the European Central Bank by lowering wages and controlling interest rates, coupled with a reverse movement by the southern members of the Eurozone, has been a staggering trade surplus for Germany to the detriment of those countries with a significant trade deficit.
As a result of these ups and downs in the inflation rates of European economies, the euro has created a 25% overall gap in economic competitiveness between Germany and its European partners over the past decade. In short, Germany today has a trade surplus of $200 billion a year, surpassing even China. Forty per cent of this surplus comes from Germany’s trade with Eurozone countries. Interestingly, German banks and investors transferred this surplus capital by accepting a large, long-term risk in the form of low-interest loans to the same southern European countries which are now bankrupt due to German monetary policies in the EU. In fact, Germany has acted like China in Europe by pursuing a policy of monetary contraction in its economy, except that its membership in the Eurozone has kept the country safe from the criticisms that China is generally subjected to.
Short-Term Pain Relievers
To address the impending crisis and bridge the gap, European leaders, in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, began setting up funds in May 2010 with reserves of around €800 billion. The European Permanent Stability Mechanism is one of these initiatives aimed at helping debt-ridden countries save the euro. The European Central Bank (ECB) has purchased crisis bonds in an unprecedented move that violates the provisions of the Maastricht Treaty in banning any bailout schemes. The EU has also restored stability to its financial sector. In recent months, the European Central Bank rescued the European banking system from the brink of collapse by lending €600 billion to European banks at the very low interest rate of 1%.
Despite all the measures which are being taken, it is not clear whether the euro will serve the long-term interests of debtor members. In these countries, the only strong argument for staying in the Eurozone has been that leaving it will have far more painful consequences, including the rapid flight of capital from the country, the massive bankruptcy of banks and investors, and the free fall of the national currency.
The efforts of European governments to resolve the acute liquidity crisis and establish an economic convergence has also been rather challenging for them. Because, as long as Eurozone members pursue different economic policies on labour costs, public spending, private sector behaviour and the issue of competitiveness, economic integration cannot be expected to be the mainstay of political convergence.
Many economic analysts accept to some extent the German view that the future of the euro depends on rigid reforms and austerity. Otherwise, it would not be wise for the Germans to commit to debtor states and provide them with more financial assistance and guarantees. This is why Berlin is asking governments to incorporate the provisions of the balanced budgeting system contained in the new EU financial package into their constitutions. However, assuming these constitutional amendments are made, two questions arise here for the debtor states as to which countries and which social strata should bear the cost of the austerity regime.
Because austerity and fiscal federalism do not have the capacity, especially for debtor members, to overcome the EU financial crisis; achieving economic integration requires a review by Germany and other high-income countries of their economic policies. Berlin has no choice but to increase its public spending, including wages and public consumption, at a faster pace. Such a move would close the competitive gap between Eurozone creditors and debtors and give countries struggling with persistent budget and trade deficits, mainly rooted in the south, the opportunity to boost production and exports.
Will the EU Financial Crisis End?
In short, the euro crisis will determine not only the fate of the euro, but the future of the whole of continental Europe. Recent developments have shown that the integration of the domestic policies of EU member states is a precondition for any beneficial and inclusive cooperation. This is a matter of logic within the European Union. Wherever fundamental national interests and members’ regulatory practices are integrated and exemplified in the business arena, governments have implemented rigid policies to coordinate their policies.
These policies themselves have remained stable in the face of the current financial crisis. In areas where EU member states have coordinated policy-making, oversight has also been generally voluntary and applied mainly at the national level. The outcome of the crisis, therefore, depends on how northern and southern Europe can fill the gaps that arise from the macroeconomic policies of each member state.
In this regard, it should be added that the euro crisis is the latest episode in the EU’s two-decade move to deepen convergence. When the Maastricht Treaty was ratified, many economic observers predicted that the EU would oversee policies related to social welfare, medical care, regional infrastructure, the Criminal Court, education, culture and language issues and, most importantly, taxes; that it will set financial priorities.
But time has shown that there is no such oversight, and Europe is just beginning to formulate policies that are the prelude to a centralised regulatory system. There is no doubt that European countries today have far more control over their judicial and internal affairs, immigration, intellectual property and social policy than Brussels. Now that the European Union is also seeking to develop a new centralised policy, few member states are willing or able to fully implement this policy. This is because not everyone is a member of the Eurozone, not everyone is a party to the Schengen Agreement, and not everyone is necessarily involved in all of the EU’s common foreign and defence policy processes.
Before the first signs of the financial crisis appeared in Europe, the process of convergence on the Continent was astonishing and admired by other countries, so that the European Union was going to become a model of convergence for other regions.
In fact, the union’s advances in national integration over the past two decades have brought to life all those ideas and perspectives that promised the formation of a federal Europe. The Schengen Agreement gave many Europeans hope for the European dream. The joint foreign and security policies promised the idea of a single Europe to societies on the Continent, and a single currency signaled the formation of a single market.
But all these hopes have turned into fear over the past five years. Many political developments, especially the emergence of right-wing parties, have seen the Schengen Agreement as a prelude to social insecurity in Europe and the influx of unemployed non-European immigrants of all languages and races into the Continent, endangering the security of European citizens. Anti-immigration has become a common feature in European societies and the need to review movement and immigration laws, especially in the Schengen Agreement, has become a common theme for extremist parties whose influence is also growing in European politics.
It can almost be argued that, since the formation of the European Economic Community in 1957, no issue has shaken the foundations of European convergence as much as the current financial crisis, to the extent that some analysts see it as an “existential threat” to what is called European unity. Over four years have passed since the start of the financial crisis and two years since the debt crisis of governments and banks in Europe.
The failure to contain the crisis in the first year or two was enough to plunge Europe’s economic and political climate into crisis, which seems to have swept across Europe now as a crisis of confidence engulfing the EU’s financial markets. It has also sunk into the union principle. At present, half of EU members harbour, to varying degrees, worrying indicators of a sick and stagnant economy in areas such as government debt, trade deficit, low economic growth and even negative and rising unemployment. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Ireland are among the most indebted members of the union.
Threats and Consequences of EU’s Financial Crisis
Undoubtedly, this financial and economic crisis has been accompanied by interconnected economic, political and social consequences. The first and perhaps most important, immediate consequence of the crisis is the existence of “gaps” within and between EU members. Within the crisis-stricken members, the question is which social classes should bear the burden of government debt and pay more taxes according to what rates on their revenues to the state treasury? Should tax increases apply to all social classes, or should only a small, wealthy section of the population accept the extra burden? The escalation of these pressures and demands in the form of various austerity regimes has been met with widespread protests by European citizens. Moreover, critics of austerity, underscored by neoliberals, believe that the exercise of such regimes will not necessarily lead to economic growth. According to a recent report released by the International Monetary Fund, a 1% reduction in public spending will slow the economic growth rate by 1.5%.
But the rift between the EU members seems to be deeper and more important than the internal rift. On the one hand, there are crisis-ridden, indebted countries who believe that from the very beginnings of the euro, the currency has served the advanced European economies since the German invasion to expand their exports to the detriment of southern countries. In order to implement austerity regimes, it is better for them to try to solve the current financial and economic crisis by giving more loans and financial aid to these countries. In contrast, powerful members of the German-led Eurozone have blamed the debt crisis on the indiscipline and haphazard financial situation of sluggish southern European economies and argued that the roots of the crisis lie in the rigid implementation of austerity by debtors and the establishment of a federal financial system to oversee the management of governments’ national budgeting systems commensurate with their level of revenue.
The second consequence is the emergence and strengthening of far-right and, to some extent, far-left currents in the domestic politics of EU members, all of which have a critical approach to European integration. By condemning their governments for their inaction in the face of the crisis, voters are gradually turning to extremist parties. Although this trend is not universal, its growth rate has been seen in some member countries in the union. Hence, we are now witnessing the emergence of discourses like xenophobia, anti-immigration, anti-unionism, and extremist nationalism in European societies.
In fact, nationalist parties in northern European countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway, seek to gain public support and votes by recklessly criticising their governments’ immigration policies. Although the nationalist parties in northern Europe won more votes in the national elections, they still did not have enough power to form a government. If the votes of the citizens for these parties increase over time, then they will be able to have a fundamentally negative and pessimistic approach to the European Union based on the European policies of their governments. These nationalist factions have often pressured their governments to either leave the union or reduce their cooperation within the union. In southern Europe, the rise of extremist parties has been far more pronounced. With the increase of the electoral vote for the far right and left in Greece, France and Italy, all of whom are critical of the general trends in European integration, it is possible that European citizens will become more inclined towards these parties if the current economic crisis continues to persist.
The third consequence of the current crisis is the weakening foundations of the welfare state in Europe. The crisis has reduced the ability of European welfare states to meet the long-standing demands of their citizens due to reduced government revenues. Today, European employees are living longer and retiring earlier, which has doubled the financial burden of pension funds and social security insurances. On the other hand, rising unemployment has reduced tax revenues and increased government spending in the form of unemployment benefits. In addition, the balance between mortality and birth rates has been disturbed in all European countries, which are facing a negative population growth. The reform of the welfare state, which is being emphasised by European governments these days, no longer means anything to their citizens: the reduction of government services and benefits, if realised, will lead to strong reactions by them on the streets or at the foot of permanent funds. In short, instead of becoming a tool for social development and welfare, the EU has now become a costly mechanism for little social progress in the eyes of the public.
It is natural that the credibility of the welfare states in Europe as a soft power or a civil power will diminish as their image fades due to the gradual inclination of union members to austerity policies. It is also clear that countries with sub-zero economic growth, declining social benefits and persistent high unemployment, will not be able to act as a model social welfare state on the world stage.
The fourth consequence of the European financial crisis is geopolitical in nature. As long as the EU is immersed in this crisis and economic, political and diplomatic threat, the desire of the EU to play an effective role in world politics will be significantly reduced, according to major international analysts. Given that military budget cuts will be one of the first topics on the agenda of European austerity regimes, this could undermine the foundations of transatlantic cooperation between Europe and the United States, since the United States pursues a policy of multilateralism with European financial and military assistance and cooperation, whether in crisis areas in the Middle East and North Africa or in geopolitical rivalries with China.
In addition to the decline in transatlantic cooperation in managing global affairs, another factor reducing the union’s diplomatic products and services. Clearly, in such circumstances, the priorities of the union’s foreign policy agenda will shift and economic interests will take precedence over democratic values and human rights issues.
Scotland’s Economic Outlook in the Post-Independence Era
Despite a landslide victory for Nicola Sturgeon in the election, she will likely have to rely on other parties, such as the Green Party, to form a government. “There is no doubt that the Scottish Parliament will have a majority in favour of independence,” she said. By any ordinary measure of democracy, this majority must live up to its commitment to the people of Scotland. “There is simply no democratic justification for Boris Johnson, or indeed anyone else, to prevent the Scottish people from choosing their future,” Sturgeon said. “This is the will of the country,” she said after the fourth consecutive victory of the Scottish National Party (SNP).
On this account, there is likely to be a sharp clash between the Scottish government in Edinburgh and the British government in London; the clash could mark the end of a 311-year alliance between the British Isles (Scotland, England and Wales).
An Independent Scotland can become a very successful country in Europe and be able to run its own affairs. The report prepared by the Scottish National Party entitled ‘Scottish economy and the issue of independence’ is a picture of the strong financial and economic foundations, natural resources and human genius of the Scottish region, all of which will serve the people of the region if full independence is achieved. Part of the report emphasises that the growing inequality caused by the policies of Westminster (London) and the mismanagement of the central government has increased unemployment and reduced economic growth in Scotland.
Over the past 30 years, the per capita tax paid to the central government by the Scottish people has been higher than in other parts of the country; if it becomes independent, the tax will be levied in Scotland itself. Moreover the export of food products from Scotland to different parts of the world is increasing every year and the value of these exports is over 12 billion pounds per year. Other Scottish manufacturing industries also generate around 5 billion a year.
This region is very rich and diverse in financial, human and natural resources. The geographical location and rich oil and gas resources of Scotland form a strong basis for its economic growth. However, Scotland lags behind many European countries, even though the latter do not have the comparative advantages of Scotland. The reason for this backwardness is that Scotland’s economic power is not yet fully in the control of the Scottish people themselves. The Westminster-based system of government has left Scotland behind in the last ten years, so much so that if it was independent, Scotland would now be billions of pounds ahead economically.
Is Scottish Independence a Costly Affair?
As the issue of Scottish independence became more serious, the central government issued several reports opposing it, stressing that Scotland’s secession from Britain would worsen the economic situation and the lives of the people of that region.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee added that Scotland’s independence would also reduce the remaining international influence of Britain (including England, Wales and Northern Ireland) in various areas. According to the report, the damage to Britain’s image in this matter is inevitable, and therefore the government should work to reduce this damage from now on; the State Department must minimise the damage to Britain’s image by taking the necessary steps and liaising with international organisations.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the Scottish Nationalist Party’s insistence on the need to evacuate British nuclear weapons from the Scottish region, also emphasised that the insistence on relocating the nuclear facilities in Scotland could have consequences for Britain and even Scotland as an independent country.
From the Scottish point of view, the choice has far-reaching economic, cultural and political implications for the region. The SNP and its pro-Scottish nationalists believe that the election will deal a severe blow to Scotland’s economy and trade with other European countries, undermining Scotland’s cultural system, such as democracy and freedom, as defined within the EU value system. The election also strained political ties between the SNP (ruling party of Scotland) and Liberal Democrats across Europe.
Prior to the election, EU member states were reliable trading partners for the Scots, and Scottish food and industrial exports to the EU flourished. But Britain’s withdrawal from the Eurozone free trade agreement has left Scots skeptical of Scotland’s sustainable development and economic future. Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP and head of the Scottish devolved government, has repeatedly accused Boris Johnson’s government of violating its obligations and disregarding Scotland’s political and economic interests in the bargaining agreement. Britain’s secession from the European Union has exacerbated historical disputes on the British Isles.
The emergence of choice has led to the resurgence of identity and historical differences within tkhe British geography. Prior to the election, Britain’s internal union was defined in terms of the EU value system, which lost its validity after its election, and Britain needs to redefine its national identity now. This factor may plunge it into an era of identity-value conflicts, as exemplified in recent weeks in Northern Ireland in protest of the election laws, as well as the growing voice of Scottish nationalists for independence.
The efforts of Boris Johnson’s conservative government to adopt neo-conservative and unilateral policies, such as a bill to increase police powers and the military budget, appear to be exacerbating social divisions during the pandemic. The emergence of internal security challenges for the Johnson government and its post-election monopoly system of government may well be expected under the circumstances.
What Experts Say
Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008, says supporters of Scottish independence have grown in recent months. The reason for this increase is the management of the “fear factor” by activists of the independence movement. This fear factor is the same as the fear of the economic dangers of secession from Britain, but at this point things are like a tap or a line. My message to the Scots is to be afraid, to be very afraid. The risks of separation will be very high. You might think that Scotland could become another Canada, but it is very likely that it would become another Spain; of course without the sun.
Comparing Scotland to Canada seems reasonable at first. After all, Canada, like Scotland, has a relatively small economy that does most of its trade with larger neighbours. Also like Scotland, it is on the left side of its neighbour. The Canadian experience shows that this situation works. Canada has a prosperous and stable economy and has successfully pursued leftist policies north of the US border. Is Canada paying for independence? Canada’s labour productivity is probably three-quarters that of the United States, and part of the gap is due to the small size of the Canadian market. Still, the Canadian economy is doing well.
But Canada has its own currency, which means that the Canadian government will not run out of currency. The Canadian government can save its banks if necessary, but Scotland cannot be independent, and that is the big difference. Can Scotland have its own currency? Perhaps, though Scotland’s economy is more dependent on Britain than Canada is on the United States. So it will be difficult to form a new currency. The problem is that the Scottish independence movement has made it clear that it wants to keep the pound as the national currency; but the combination of political independence and a common currency is a catastrophe; this was the story of the Spanish crisis.
If Spain and other countries that gave up their currency to join the Eurozone were part of a truly federal system with joint government institutions, their economic crisis would be something like the Florida crisis. The burden of the Florida crisis was on Washington, and its economy received a lot of help during the crisis. But Spain alone bore the brunt of its crisis. It was the result of a financial crisis in which fear of a banking crisis made crisis management difficult. The outcome of this situation was a terrible recession and a 50% youth unemployment. And this was not just a matter for Spain. All the countries of southern Europe and even beyond this region were in crisis. Even well-off Eurozone countries, such as Finland and the Netherlands, suffered from deep and prolonged recessions.
Brexit estimates that Scotland’s per capita income will fall by up to 2% in the long run. Post-election independence, meanwhile, will reduce Scotland’s per capita income by between 6.3 and 8.7%, depending on the trade barriers imposed on it. The economic shock from the two is expected to lead to an annual income reduction of 2800 per person.
A report, entitled “United Britain: Scotland’s Bargaining, Trade and Independence”, focuses only on trade costs, including their implications for Scotland’s financial arrangements and currency. It does not address the other economic consequences of its independence from Britain. The authors conclude that independence will hurt Scotland far more than it should, because Scotland’s trade volume with the rest of the UK is four times that of its trade with the European Union.
The cost of independence from Britain for the Scottish economy would probably be . In addition, re-joining the EU after independence will have little effect on reducing these costs, and in the short term, its economic losses are likely to outweigh those of maintaining a common market with the rest of the UK.
“This analysis shows that, at least in terms of trade independence, Scotland will be significantly poorer than staying in Britain,” said Huang, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong. Although many factors will play a role in shaping the outcome of another Scottish independence referendum, Scottish voters need to be aware of the costs and benefits of either. This report contributes to this awareness.”
Reacting to Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, Scottish First Minister and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said rejoining the European Common Market means building a stronger economy. The latest opinion polls suggest that many Scots are accepting that independence from Britain will come at a cost, but they no longer shy away from it. According to a Panel Base poll, only 22% of Scots believe they will have a better economy outside the UK, while 44% of those surveyed say the economy will decline as a result of secession. The same poll found that, with the exception of those still hesitant, 52% of Scots wanted independence from Britain.
The financial and economic crisis of the last few years has caused many problems for the European Union and has mostly affected Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Spain and especially Greece. The euro crisis, Europe’s biggest economic crisis since 1957, emerged among its members. Although the union has been able to contain the crisis to some extent since 2013 and re-enter a period of economic prosperity, it has so far failed to fully resolve it and its effects will be even greater in the future. In view of the above, the question that arises is what effect has the euro crisis had on the EU integration process?
The euro crisis, in addition to the political and social effects in some member states, has led to many economic problems, and divisions and gaps between the large and marginalised economies of the European Union. Although the economic crisis has eased and the EU has re-entered a period of economic growth due to its efforts to contain the crisis, its effects appear to be far-reaching and have somewhat shaken the EU’s integration process. The impact of the euro crisis on the convergence process of the European Union in the context of issues such as the devaluation of the Euro, the widening economic gap, the growth of divergence, rising unemployment, the spread of social unrest and the early fall of some governments, has led to the rise of extremist nationalism and Euroscepticism. The UK is out of the EU and the possibility of the collapse of the euro area is significant.
There is no doubt that the nature of economic and, of course, political power in the world is changing today. If until a few decades ago, globalisation meant expanding Europe’s sphere of influence to other parts of the world with the goal of gaining access to markets and raw materials, the global system has given rise to major economic competitors in Asia over the past two decades, especially China and India. The emergence of strong economic rivals and economic growth in East Asia and South America may be partly responsible for the current financial crisis in Europe, but there is no doubt that the roots of the other half of the crisis lie within the EU. At the time of the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, when everyone agreed to create a single currency, there was little focus, motivation or foresight to strengthen this monetary union with a financial union.
The differences of opinion among the proponents of growth-based policies and austerity measures to manage the crisis set aside, all European experts agree on one important point: the only way to deal radically with the current financial crisis is to prevent a recurrence of similar developments in creating a political union. In fact, the fiscal package as a complementary component of the monetary policy agreed between the members at the European Summit in Brussels in 2012 can only be effective if there is a political will throughout the union to implement its precise provisions. This financial platform, if finally approved, would federalise the structure of the union’s financial system, as member states would no longer be independent in setting budgets and taxes at the national level and would have to be supervised by the European Central Bank in accordance with its rules.
But the question here is whether the union, which was originally founded on the basis of a political rationality and not necessarily an economic one, has reached the final stage of converging with these financial and economic difficulties, or will possibly be making a U-turn? Perhaps the first time such questions were asked was when the draft European Constitution was rejected in 2005 by French and Dutch citizens.
EU officials replaced the draft with a new amended document called the Lisbon Treaty to manage the crisis and prevent it from spreading to EU areas. But the heat and psychological strain of rejecting the draft constitution has not subsided yet and is the target of questions. The course of mutual accusations by the affluent and weak members of the union about the sponsor(s) of the financial crisis, increasing speculation about the exit or expulsion of Greece, criticism of the Schengen Agreement facilitating the entry of non-European immigrants into the Continent, increasing negative public attitudes questioning the usefulness of the European Union according to opinion polls, the question of having a single European currency due to the existence of unbalanced and unequal economies next to each other and Britain’s exit from the EU, are all signs of a cold season for convergence.
However, the Scottish First Minister and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon said rejoining the European Common Market meant building a stronger economy. The latest opinion polls suggest that many Scots are accepting that independence from Britain will come at a cost, but they no longer shy away from it. According to a Panel Base poll, only 22% of Scots believe they will have a better economy outside the UK, while 44% of Scots surveyed say the economy will decline as a result of secession. The same poll found that, with the exception of those still hesitant, 52% of Scots wanted independence from Britain.