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Our Relationship with the rest of the UK

What will the relationship be between an independent Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom?

Independence will enable Scotland to create a new and equal relationship with the other nations of these Isles. We will be able to update our partnership so that it meets the needs of the people of Scotland.

Under our proposals, we will keep our close links of family and friendship through an ongoing social union and will continue to share the Queen as head of state, as 16 Commonwealth countries already do, and we will share the pound as our currency.

Independence will end the parliamentary union so we will no longer send MPs to Westminster. Decisions about Scotland’s future and about our economy and society will be taken in Scotland. We will be equal partners within the European Union and the common defence partnership in NATO.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will independence mean that Scottish people require a passport to travel to England?

No. Just as no one from the UK needs a passport to travel to Ireland now, there will be free movement across the border between Scotland and England.

The Common Travel Area has existed since the 1920s and currently allows freedom of movement for nationals of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It will be in the interests of all partners for an independent Scotland to remain in the Common Travel Area.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Our Relationship with Europe

How will Scotland become an independent member of the European Union?

Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will immediately enter into negotiations with Westminster and EU member states to ensure that an independent Scotland achieves a smooth and timely transition to independent membership of the EU.

Scotland will negotiate the terms of membership of the EU during the period we are still part of the UK and, therefore, part of the EU. There is, within the EU Treaties, a legal framework by which Scotland, a country that has been an integral part of the EU for 40 years, may make the transition to independent EU membership in the period between the referendum and the date on which Scotland becomes an independent state. Article 48 provides a suitable legal route to facilitate the transition process, by allowing the EU Treaties to be amended through ordinary revision procedure before Scotland becomes independent, to enable it to become a member state at the point of independence.

There is no Treaty provision that would require Scotland to leave the EU on independence. It would also be against the self-interest of the EU collectively, and of the Member States individually, to seek to deprive Scotland of EU membership given that Scotland is an integral and highly valued part of the single market. Throughout its history the guiding principle of the EU has been enlargement of its membership, not contraction.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Why will an independent Scotland wish to be part of Europe?

Scotland has been a constituent part of the EU since the accession of the UK in 1973 and benefits greatly from the peace, security and economic opportunities provided by membership of the European Union. Over these 40 years Scotland’s economy and society have become an integral and fully integrated part of the EU single market.

The best way for Scotland to be represented in the EU is as an independent nation, with our own seat at the top table. This will allow Scottish Governments to represent Scotland’s interests in areas like fisheries, which have not been given sufficient priority by Westminster.

Scotland’s citizens enjoy freedom of movement and the right to work and study in other member states. The ability to trade within a single market of 500 million citizens is of central importance to our strategy to stimulate growth by increasing international trade. Around 158,000 EU citizens have also chosen to live and work or study in Scotland.

The European Union continues to be Scotland’s top overseas export destination – the value of exports destined for countries within the EU is estimated at £11 billion in 2011.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Is the proposed transition period between the referendum and becoming independent in March 2016 enough time for Scotland to become a recognised independent member state of the European Union?

Yes. Scotland already complies with EU laws, people in Scotland are already EU citizens and Scotland is already a member of the EU.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would an independent Scotland’s voice in Europe be weaker or stronger?

Stronger. Scotland currently has a limited voice in Europe. The Scottish Government is permitted to make an input to Westminster discussions about EU proposals that impact on devolved matters, but Westminster is under no obligation to take account of the views of the Scottish Government when determining its position at EU-level negotiations.

Independence will give Scotland our own voice in Europe, participating at every level in the EU policy process and ensuring that Scottish governments are able to promote and protect Scotland’s national interests in EU affairs.

As an independent member state the Scottish Government will be able directly to promote our economic and social interests and protect our citizens by participating on equal terms with all other member states in EU affairs. Scottish Ministers would participate fully in meetings of the Council of the European Union and Scotland would have increased representation in the European Parliament, thereby increasing Scotland’s voice in the two legislative bodies of the EU.

Where Scotland’s interests coincide with the interests of the rest of the UK, together we will form a more powerful voice for action. When Scotland has a distinct view, we will have a new ability to build alliances and make our case, ensuring that what is right for the people of Scotland is heard.

The current Scottish Government firmly believes the only government capable of properly representing Scotland’s interests in the EU decision-making process is a government elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland be forced to join the Euro?

No. In order to be considered for membership of the Eurozone, countries need to choose to include their currency in the Exchange Rate Mechanism II and there are no plans for Scotland to do this. No country can be forced to join the Euro against its will.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

When will Scotland begin negotiations to join the EU?

Following a vote for independence in the 2014 referendum, the Scottish Government will immediately enter into negotiations with Westminster and EU member states to ensure that an independent Scotland achieves a smooth and timely transition to independent membership of the European Union.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How long would the process of EU membership take?

The negotiations to secure the transition to independent EU membership will be conducted between the date of the vote on 18 September 2014 and 24 March 2016 when Scotland becomes an independent state. During this period Scotland will remain part of the UK.

These negotiations will include discussions to determine the specific terms, and where necessary any transitional arrangements, under which an independent Scotland will take its place as a full EU member state.

Scotland has been a member of the EU for 40 years and already complies with its body of law. The 18 month period between the referendum and the planned date of formal independence provides sufficient time for discussions settling an independent Scotland’s terms of EU membership. In the current context of devolution the Scottish Government has already demonstrated its capacity to transpose and implement the provisions of EU legislation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How does this predicted timescale compare to the process for previous accession states?

Scotland will not be an accession state. We will negotiate the transition from being an EU member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the EU from within the EU. The predicted timescale compares well with the most similar sets of previous circumstances. For example, the transition to EU membership for East Germany during its reunification with West Germany took 11 months from the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will Scotland’s membership of the EU require the agreement of all member states?

Yes. The terms of Scotland’s membership will be agreed with the EU and the necessary Treaty amendments will be taken forward with the agreement of member states.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland continue to qualify for a European rebate?

The EU budget has been agreed until 2020 and the Scottish Government will not seek to re-open budget discussions until the next funding cycle, at which point we will be negotiating as a full member state. Prior to 2020, the division of the share of the UK rebate will be a matter for agreement between the Scottish and Westminster Governments and the Scottish Government will argue for an equitable share.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What impact will the Conservative Party proposal to have a UK referendum on EU membership have?

It is the view of the current Scottish Government that the only real risk to Scotland’s membership of the EU is the referendum proposed by the Prime Minister.

The Scottish Government does not wish Scotland to leave the EU and does not support the Prime Minister’s plans to hold an in-out referendum on EU membership.

Following a vote for independence, Scotland will become an independent EU member state before the planned in-out referendum on the EU in 2017. However, if we do not become independent, we risk being taken out of the EU against our will.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Customs

Will independence have a negative effect on trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Europe?

No. As part of the EU, Scotland will remain part of the EU single market.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Membership of International Organisations and International Obligations

Would an independent Scotland become a member of NATO, the United Nations and other international organisations?

Following a vote for independence the Scottish Government will formally declare Scotland’s intention to become a member of NATO following normal procedures. Similarly we will also signal our intention to be a member of the United Nations at that time.

Given that Scotland, as part of the UK, already meets membership requirements, we do not expect any barriers to Scotland’s timely membership of international organisations.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How much would an independent Scotland contribute to the budgets of international organisations such as the United Nations?

Scotland’s contribution to the budgets of the United Nations and other international organisations would be agreed as part of the membership process for each organisation. It is important to remember that Scotland already contributes to the budgets of these organisations, through our taxes, as part of the UK’s contribution.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How would Scotland afford international organisation memberships?

Scotland already pays a share of the UK’s membership fees for international organisations. Other states of a similar size to – and smaller than – Scotland are members of international organisations. Our membership costs would be appropriate to our size and would be determined by the funding protocol for each organisation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would Scotland have a seat on the UN Security Council?

An independent Scotland would not expect to have a permanent seat on the Security Council. Like other nations, Scotland would from time to time be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council according to the existing system of election for non-permanent members by the General Assembly.

The current Scottish Government would intend to support the rest of the UK remaining a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will independence make Scotland’s voice weaker or stronger internationally?

Stronger. Today, Scotland’s Government and Parliament do not have an automatic right to speak directly on the international stage. The fundamental advantage of independence in foreign affairs is the ability always to put Scotland’s interests first. Our overseas network of embassies and consulates will be working to promote Scotland’s interests, in particular to develop opportunities for trade and investment.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What principles would an independent Scotland follow in regard to foreign policy?

The current Scottish Government’s foreign, security and defence policies would be grounded in a clear framework of promoting sustainable economic growth, participating in rulesbased international co-operation to secure shared interests and protecting Scotland’s people and resources.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What international legal obligations that currently apply to the UK would an independent Scotland have to adhere to?

As an independent nation Scotland will continue to meet all legal obligations that flow from our membership of international organisations and treaties.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What will the status of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) be in an independent Scotland?

An independent Scotland will continue as a party to the UNCRC and would reflect the Convention’s principles in domestic legislation and policy.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Membership of NATO

Will Scotland be a member of NATO?

It is the intention of the current Scottish Government that Scotland will be a non-nuclear member of NATO. Following a vote for independence the Scottish Government will formally declare its intention to become a member of NATO. Given Scotland’s key strategic position in Europe, we expect Scotland to be welcomed as a valued partner.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Why would NATO want Scotland as a member?

Scotland is situated in a position of strategic importance, close to the Arctic channels of the High North and with the Atlantic Ocean to its west. An independent Scotland will therefore be a key partner in NATO’s air and naval policing arrangements for northern Europe, and it is in both Scotland’s and NATO’s interests for an independent Scotland to work closely with, and to be a member of, the alliance.

Comparable non-nuclear nations can and do make significant contributions to NATO operations and deploy capabilities that are proportionate but effective – for example Denmark has had a leading role in the delivery of anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and both Norway and Denmark made significant contributions of air power to the operation in Libya.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would Scotland look to participate fully in NATO activities with the exception of being a nuclear power?

An independent Scotland will take its NATO membership seriously. The present Scottish Government’s policy is that this will involve committing resources and contributing to NATO’s collective defence activities and humanitarian relief missions. At all times, Scotland will work within the UN and NATO charters.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Is membership of NATO consistent with removing nuclear weapons from Scotland?

Yes. The Scottish Government’s opposition to the possession of nuclear weapons is entirely consistent with the position of most NATO member states. Only three NATO members are nuclearweapon states and 20 out of the 28 current member states neither possess nor host nuclear weapons.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would membership of the alliance result in NATO bases or activity being located in Scotland?

Scotland will seek to play a constructive role as a member of NATO and we intend that Scotland will participate in NATO exercises and training operations, as all members of the alliance do. There are no NATO bases in Scotland as part of the UK, so it is unlikely that there will be in an independent Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Why would an anti-nuclear Scotland wish to become a member of NATO as a nuclear alliance?

An independent Scotland working within NATO will be a positive contributor to international peace and security. This position would be similar to the majority of NATO member countries who neither possess nor host nuclear weapons.

NATO’s Strategic Concept states that the alliance is “resolved to seek a safer world and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons” – an aim that the current Scottish Government shares.

Scotland’s membership of the alliance will bring significant benefits for defence and security co-operation within our region, and will demonstrate a clear commitment towards working in close, responsible and peaceful co-operation with Scotland’s neighbours and allies.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will NATO members with nuclear-armed vessels be allowed to enter Scottish waters or dock at Scottish ports?

It is our firm position that an independent Scotland should not host nuclear weapons and we would only join NATO on that basis.

While the presence of nuclear weapons on a particular vessel is never confirmed by any country, we would expect any visiting vessel to respect the rules that are laid down by the government of an independent Scotland.

While they are both strong advocates for nuclear disarmament, both Norway and Denmark allow NATO vessels to visit their ports without confirming or denying whether they carry nuclear weapons. We intend that Scotland will adopt a similar approach as Denmark and Norway in this respect.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would Scotland provide forces to NATO as part of a collective defence (Article 5) operation?

Yes, subject to our domestic approval arrangements. As a NATO member, Scotland will support collective defence operations (Article 5 operations), in accordance with the UN Charter, where a member of the alliance is the subject of an armed attack.

In order for NATO to invoke Article 5, each member state must be in agreement. It is for each member state to decide and agree what role they take in any military response. No member state is compelled to take part in such operations.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Could NATO membership commit Scotland to taking part in military operations that it did not agree with?

No. It is for each member state to decide and agree what role they take in any military operation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will NATO membership make it more difficult to secure the removal of Trident?

The removal of Trident nuclear weapons from Scotland will require negotiation with Westminster and liaison with NATO. But the aim of the current Scottish Government is clear – to secure the speediest safe removal of Trident from Scotland and to join the 20 (of 28) countries who are members of NATO without either possessing or hosting nuclear weapons.

We believe that a non-nuclear independent Scotland operating within NATO will be preferable, to the UK, NATO, and our other neighbours and allies, to a non-nuclear Scotland outside of the alliance.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How long will it take to join NATO?

Following a vote for independence in 2014, Scotland will notify NATO of its intention to become a member of the alliance in order to begin negotiations for Scotland’s transition to becoming an independent member of the alliance.

It will be for NATO to confirm the detailed arrangements and timetable for Scotland’s transition towards membership as an independent country.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Have there been discussions with NATO about Scotland’s membership?

Yes. The Scottish Government has opened contact with NATO regarding an independent Scotland’s membership of the organisation.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Foreign Policy and Representation

How would an independent Scotland represent itself internationally through embassies and consulates?

An independent Scotland’s overseas network will be comparable to that of other nations of a similar size. The current Scottish Government’s proposed overseas representation for an independent Scotland is set out in Chapter 6. A crucial part of the role of our overseas offices will be to look for opportunities to promote Scottish goods and services directly. The Team Scotland approach will be built on and with independence our government departments, the private sector and our diplomatic missions will work together to promote Scotland.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will diplomatic missions be shared between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK?

An independent Scotland will be represented overseas by a network which works in the national interests of Scotland. The current Scottish Government is open to the sharing of services and facilities with the rest of the UK or with other countries where this is of mutual benefit. Such arrangements already exist between the UK and other nations, such as Canada.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would an independent Scotland recruit staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Scottish foreign and diplomatic service?

The Scottish Government will ensure that all its services are provided by qualified staff, who may have a range of backgrounds and experience. Recruitment opportunities may arise from existing open recruitment policies and the possibility of inward transfers, where that is appropriate.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What size would the foreign and diplomatic service be in an independent Scotland?

The current Scottish Government estimates the running costs of its initial proposed network of 70 to 90 overseas offices at £90-120 million. This is expected to be below Scotland’s population share of the UK’s total expenditure on overseas representation in 2016/17. Scotland would also be entitled to a fair share of the value of assets.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How would an independent Scotland’s diplomatic interests be represented in the period before it established its own diplomatic missions?

The existing Scottish Development International (SDI) network of 27 overseas offices provides a firm foundation for independent Scottish international representation. Over the past five years SDI has increased Scotland’s presence in emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia. The current Scottish Government proposes that the existing SDI network remains following independence, co-locating with the new diplomatic and consular services. Where SDI is currently located in a country but not in its capital city, a Scottish embassy or political mission would be established to supplement and complement the work of the trade offices.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

When will an independent Scotland have its own diplomatic missions up and running?

The Scottish Government intends that Scotland will have an overseas network in place from day one of independence, building on our existing overseas offices and an appropriate share of existing UK assets.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will I get help abroad if I am Scottish?

If I get stuck in Spain, will you rescue me? An independent Scotland will establish a network of overseas offices which will provide the same range of support and assistance to Scots abroad as currently provided by the UK. In addition, as EU citizens, Scots will have the right to request consular assistance from all other EU member states, including the UK.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Under Scottish Government proposals to allow dual nationality, would people living in Scotland claiming dual Scottish/British nationality be allowed to call on the support of British embassies and consulates abroad?

As EU citizens, Scots would have the right to request consular assistance from all other member states, including the UK. If travelling on their British passport, people with dual nationality would be entitled to call on the support of the British embassy or consulate, just as a person with dual Scottish and Irish citizenship could choose to travel on their Irish passport and request assistance from the Irish embassy or consulate.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

International Development

How much will an independent Scotland spend on international development?

This is currently decided at Westminster and Scotland contributes to this spending through taxation. In an independent Scotland it will be decided by governments elected by the people of Scotland.

The current Scottish Government is committed to spending 0.7 per cent Gross National Income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance. The current Scottish Government also proposes to bring forward legislation to enshrine this as a binding target. Over the longer-term, we would work towards spending 1 per cent of GNI on aid.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How could an independent Scotland afford that level of funding for international development? Is this an affordable commitment?

This is one of the immediate priorities of the current Scottish Government for the first budget of an independent Scotland – the budget priorities of the current Government, and the proposed actions to raise revenue and reduce spending to support these priorities, are set out in Part 2 of this document. To put it in context, meeting our international aid obligation of 0.7 per cent of GNI will amount to just 70p out of every £100 of GNI. As well as the existing £9 million Scottish Government aid budget, Scottish taxes currently contribute to the UK international aid budget. The Westminster Government has committed to meet the target of 0.7 per cent of GNI within this financial year.

The 0.7 per cent target is calculated as a percentage of a country’s GNI, therefore the size of the country is not relevant – the target is to spend an appropriate share of that GNI. As a country’s economy becomes richer or poorer, so its contribution rises or falls.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What impact will independence have on existing Department for International Development programmes?

The Scottish Government intends to work with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure that there is a smooth transition phase for programmes on the ground in developing countries. There will be continued funding support, where appropriate, to those DFID programmes which span the independence period to avoid any disruption to those programmes and their recipients. International Development is just one of the areas where future Scottish and Westminster governments can choose to work together to complement each other’s activity. Scotland is likely to also be a significant donor to multilateral organisations reflecting similar priorities as the UK in this area.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How can the Scottish Government justify spending money on international development – why aren’t we spending this money at home?

In 2012, an estimated 6.6 million children under the age of five – 18,000 a day – died from mostly preventable diseases. This huge preventable loss of life remains an urgent global problem which must be taken seriously.

Scotland is one of the wealthiest nations in the world and one of the purposes of independence is to make sure that wealth works better for the people who live here. However, we also recognise our wider international responsibilities and believe that investment in development internationally is the right thing to do.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

At the moment, the Scottish Government’s international development funding goes directly to Scottish-based organisations and not directly to governments. Will this change if Scotland becomes independent?

It is the view of the current Scottish Government that funding through civil society should remain a dominant feature of future Scottish development programmes.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

To which countries would an independent Scotland provide international development funding?

These would be decisions for governments elected by the people of Scotland.

The current Scottish Government would consider this as we approach independence, with the Human Development Index as a central criterion in that decision-making process. We expect a geographically focussed aid policy in line with developing best practice and will develop open and objective criteria for the selection of partner countries. Ultimately, these decisions will be for the government of the day, but we hope to secure a degree of consensus regarding the criteria used to select partner countries to ensure stable and effective long-term partnerships with a small number of countries.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Will an independent Scotland focus on gender equality as part of international development?

Women and girls make up the majority of the world’s poor and bear a disproportionate share of the burden of poverty and responsibility for caring for others. This Government is doing everything we can to promote equality in Scotland and we would want an independent Scotland’s international policies to do the same.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will the focus on gender equality work in practice?

Gender equality and the empowerment of women are United Nations Millennium Development Goals in their own right. They are also critical to the delivery of other key development goals including in education and health. It would therefore be right for an independent Scotland to put gender equality at the heart of its development work.

The present Scottish Government would ensure that policies put in place will be in line with international commitments and recognised good practice on gender equality.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will Scottish people know that money being spent overseas by the Scottish Government is making an impact?

Scottish Governments will report to the Scottish Parliament regularly on Scotland’s development impact.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

How will we know that the ‘Do No Harm’ approach is being implemented?

To provide policy coherence and as an expression of the values driving our foreign policy, we propose that Scottish Government policies, on all issues, will do no harm to developing countries, will not undermine our international development aims and will ideally contribute to international development success. This Government is committed to reporting to the Scottish Parliament on a regular basis on Scotland’s development impact, including on our commitment to deliver a ‘Do No Harm’ approach.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.