Arctic dream of Scottish independence

In a speech at the Arctic Circle Assembly last month, the Prime Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, again that the north of Scotland Closer to the Arctic Circle than London. The audience responded with laughter, just as they did two years ago when Sturgeon made the same argument, but she’s not kidding. Scotland is reinventing itself and is determined to make the most of its geographical location, which is becoming increasingly popular in geopolitical circles. Nordic countries have inspired Scottish national leaders for decades, who have referred to them as models for their social and environmental policies, or since Brexit. Model of the country’s future relationship with the European Union. The former Prime Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, argued that an independent Scotland would join the “prosperity arc” of Northern Europe.

The sturgeon government in recent years has tried to stress the importance of the Arctic. Its administration has many powers ceded from London, and there are no formal powers in foreign policy, although Scotland, like other regions or independent communities with powers ceded in the rest of Europe, develops its foreign relations. As part of these efforts, in 2019 I published a A detailed, systematic and concrete strategic framework for the Arctic, which sets out Scotland’s intent to work together and close to the Arctic nations, positioning itself as a partner in sustainable development and innovation in the region. Apart from the general framework, Scotland has only a few bilateral “strategic frameworks” specific to each country to guide its international relations. The Arctic Strategic Framework stands out as the only one focused on the region.

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This strategic framework places a strong emphasis on research, innovation, sustainable economic development and clean energy, and explains How can you strengthen the Scottish economy. Critical arguments against independence revolve around its impact on the Scottish economy and public finance. If the Scottish National Sturgeon Party (SNP) succeeds in convincing the Scots that they will not only survive, but thrive and this They have an alternative to LondonThey have a great chance of winning another referendum.

Therefore, the future economic benefits of closer cooperation with the North could enhance Scotland’s bid for independence. but some Strengthening cultural and social relations with the Arctic countriesTwo of them are members of the European Union. Scotland is socializing amongst the Arctic nations, which is important for an aspiring independent nation. If there was little sympathy in the EU for the nationalist cause before the 2014 independence referendum, Brexit has certainly eased things since then. If EU membership is not immediately available to an independent Scotland, He will have friends from the North Pole To do business and support each other.

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Marcus Lamilas. Barcelona

Sturgeon has attempted to use COP26 as a platform to make friends among progressive nations that take climate change seriously. The conference itself may be a failure, but at the Glasgow summit the Prime Minister called for more climate responsibility and Scotland has shown itself as a leader in renewable energydecarbonization and climate justice, even if it doesn’t really achieve its goals (and its government has been accused of sitting idly by over a proposal to build a new oil field off Shetland). I so sHe met Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, in an exchange he described as “embarrassing”; It is a good thing, he noted, that COP26 must be “deeply uncomfortable” for world leaders because there is still a lot to do. On the other hand, Boris Johnson did not include a similar meeting on his agenda.

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The selection of Glasgow as the host city was a deliberate move by the British government, as part of an effort to bolster pro-union sentiment in Scotland. The country voted to remain in the European Union in 2016, but had to Undergo a common result across the UKSupport for independence was strengthened after that referendum. If there is another vote on independence, it is unlikely to be held in the next few years. But if it does happen, the pro-independence sector can muster sufficient support, given Continuing good results from Sturgeon and SNP in surveys. Nor will the unpopular and endless Brexit battles with Brussels help that.

Photo: Election winner Nicola Sturgeon.  (EFE)
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Celia Maza. London

However, independence is not a top priority for the Scots, and if the Holyrood government Don’t focus on health and economic recoveryYou risk being punished at the polls. The public’s belief that decentralized administration has responded relatively well to the pandemic should not be rewarded by faltering voters, as seen recently in the Canadian general election. but, SNP plays in the long term. The Act of Union that united England and Scotland was passed in 1707; The country can certainly wait another decade or two. The SNP will move slowly and conscientiously in its nascent foreign policy, as in other matters.

Scottish foreign policy, like all SNP . policies, is focused One goal: achieving independence. Meanwhile, British action abroad lacks momentum and direction, and few take the main slogan, “Global Britain”, as a true vision for the future. The Scottish government has offered a silver platter a clear opportunity to Make a difference with London In matters of foreign and European policy, which indicates its willingness to assume the responsibilities that accompany the full state.

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* Analysis published in European Council on Foreign Relations By Joanna Hausa, “Scotland’s Arctic Dream of Independence”

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