Separation anxiety: the state of independence movements in Europe
The apparent resurgence of the independence movement in Catalonia finds echoes among minority nationalist groups in Europe.
The Scottish National party’s plan to hold an independence referendum in 2014 places Scotland at the head of Europe’s separatist pack. While public opinion polls suggest the “no” campaign would prevail were a vote held today, attitudes may change as the referendum draws near.
Much of the SNP leader Alex Salmond’s efforts to date have been devoted to persuading Scots that there are few risks in breaking away from the UK, and that much would remain the same. His strategy was torpedoed this week from an unexpected quarter when José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, indicated an independent Scotland would not automatically qualify for EU membership and would have to apply like any other candidate country – a view with implications for those Catalans and others who wish for greater autonomy.
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