Scottish independence: ‘Rump’ UK would cease to be one of Europe’s ‘big three’

The United Kingdom could lose its status as one of the main players at the EU if Scotland voted for independence. Picture: TSPL
The United Kingdom could lose its status as one of the main players at the EU if Scotland voted for independence. Picture: TSPL
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THE “rump” UK would cease to be one Europe’s `big three’ powers if Scotland votes for independence in 2014, senior foreign policy experts have warned.

• UK would lose influence on world stage without Scotland, academics warn

• EU status could affect relationship with US

• Scotland could follow Nordic model

London could also lose its vital influence with the US as its current position as a defence “agenda-setter” disappears and it falls behind the military clout of France.

Scotland could wield international influence as part of the EU rather than pursue it’s own “global reach”, according to Dr Andrew Blick, a senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Political and Constitutional Studies, King’s College London and Professor Richard Whitman an Associate Fellow at Chatham House.

They are part of a joint University of Kent/Federal Trust project investigating EU foreign policy and say the UK would have a “significantly diminished role” in Europe after Scottish independence.

“The UK would cease to be one of the EU’s ‘big three’ member states alongside France and Germany and may face a diminished capacity for influence within EU institutions,” they state in a submission to Westminster’s foreign affairs committee.

“One impact may be to experience diminished opportunities for leadership and coalition building within the EU on issues of UK national interest.”

London’s claim on significant leadership positions on EU institutions, such as President of the European Council or the European Commission and the expectation of nominating influential Commissioners would also be damaged, according to the academics.

“Further, the UK may experience a loss of influence with the United States if its capacity to exercise influence on EU policy-making is diminished,” they add.

“Of key concern would be the UK’s capacity to exercise its current level of influence on the direction of the European Union’s defence policy. A rump UK with a reduced military, and capabilities subordinate to those of France, would lose its position as an EU defence policy agenda-setter.”

Scotland could follow the foreign policy of many Nordic countries, the submission adds.

“Scotland, like some Nordic states, could well become a power which seeks to wield its international influence acting as a part of the EU, rather than attempting to achieve independent global reach,” they add.

“The rump UK might do well to consider this stance also.”