Friday, 15 February 2013

From Russia with Love



Summary of main points of interest in a Pravda article dated February 12th 2013:
The most negative consequence of Scottish independence for the UK would be loss of influence resulting from loss of population and territory (8.5% and 32% respectively).
The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, believes that Scotland, in the event that it votes for independence, would achieve an internationally recognized settlement by March 2016. The Scottish National Party insists that the country would remain in the European Union throughout negotiations, a priori excluding other options, and that it would then hold a referendum on joining the Eurozone.
If the UK, which is not part of the Eurozone, does not want to be in the EU, why should it be concerned about Scotland aspiring to be a member? As for confirmation of membership of other international organizations (UN, NATO, WTO, IMF), the matter would be resolved expeditiously and without fuss, because there are no doubts about the legitimacy of the Scottish referendum.
The Scottish Government is optimistic. It has published a road map reflecting its intention to resolve all the issues involved in the restructuring of national status by March 2016. First Minister Salmond attracted international experts for the drafting of the plan. The authors of the document expect negotiations between the London and Edinburgh governments, and discussions with other parties and civic groups, on the terms of independence. These would lead to division of assets and liabilities and new global connections for Scotland as well as preservation of the monarchy there.
First Minister Salmond told BBC Scotland that since World War II 30 countries have gone through a similar procedure with a referendum and gained independence, with the average term for achieving their goal being 15 months. Salmond added that, while the initiators of the No campaign were stamping their feet and saying this could not be done, he could assure them that it could. He promised that by the end of 2013 a White Paper on independence would be published, which would serve as a prototype for the Scottish constitution.
Although the population of Scotland is approximately 8.5% of the population of the UK, it pays 9.6% of all taxes collected by the UK government. Scotland's share of the expenditure part of the UK budget is only 9.3%, however. The Scottish Government maintains that, with an independent Scottish maritime economic zone, it would have the right to claim 80% of the revenues from oil fields in what is currently the UK sector of the North Sea.