HC 643 The foreign policy implications of and for a separate Scotland

Written evidence from Professor Richard Rose, Director, Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

11 1.0 The important questions that the Committee raises are a mixture of known knowns such as the UK's right to a seat in the UN Security Council;, and known unknowns, such as specific terms of separation,how amicable or acrimonious negotiations about separation are, and assessments in Brussels and Washington of the consequences of separation.

1.1 The number of unknowns underscores the importance of a diplomatic rather than adversarial handling of any negotiations about the transition to separation. In today's world, the interdependence of policies--what one country does depends on what another does--means that independent states are continuously engaged with many states about policies of mutual interest. Whereas control of services already on the ground in Scotland would merely have to be transferred, independence would require Scotland creating almost from scratch the full panoply of representation currently provided by the UK government.

2.0 SCOTLAND's resources match those of many EU or UN member states with one major exception: as a devolved region it does not have the representation abroad that is normal for a 21st century independent state. To confirm its independence, as a matter of urgency it would need to:

2.1 Establish and staff major embassies in up to two dozen national capitals, plus representation at the IMF, UN, etc.

2.2 Assuming admission to the European Union, establish and staff an Office of Permanent Representative in Brussels eight to ten times larger than its existing mission.

2.3 Political parties will need to recruit candidates to meet the likely increase in European Parliament seats from six to twelve.

3.1 For the UNITED KINGDOM, the separation of Scotland would have no effect on its legal status and leave membership of international bodies unaltered.

Its international standing would only be affected if negotiations for separation were badly handled.

3.2 The UK's already complicated relation with the European Union would be further complicated if it chose to raise detailed objections to an application for EU membership from the Scottish government.

3.3 UK intelligence relations with the US should not be affected.

3.4 A Scottish government demand for the removal of Trident submarines from Scotland would have a significant fall out for UK defence policy overall.

4.0 Political negotiations for the departure of Scotland from the United Kingdom must be bilateral. However, the unusual character of negotiated independence in today's world and the international visibility of both the UK and Scotland would attract a large international audience. Diplomatic spectators would not have a prior commitment to one side or the other. Countries would wish to be on good relations with the new Scottish state as well as with the UK. It would be in the UK's interest to take into account relevant third-party reactions as negotiations evolve.

4.1 As for the EU, the UK government's current policy is to distance itself from further or existing EU commitments, while the Scottish government takes the opposite position, common to small states, of seeing the EU as offering equal legal status with large states.

4.2 EU policy favours enlargement. Compared to the eight states that are candidates or potential candidates for EU membership, Scotland rates more highly than seven in terms of commitment to democracy, GDP per capita, population and avoidance of corruption. Thus, Brussels would likely view a Scottish application for membership favourably. Given such unprecedented circumstances as EU laws already applying in Scotland, Scotland might seek and receive exceptional treatment. The process adopted for considering Scottish membership would be a political decision made collectively by EU institutions. It would be predisposed to accept recommendations agreed jointly by the UK government and Scotland during the negotiation of separation.

4.3 In EU law the UK could veto Scotland becoming a member state, but this would not be to its diplomatic advantage at a time when it is seeking allies in placing curbs on the EU's expansion of its political and economic powers. The UK's position would be weakened if the government was simultaneously seeking to repatriate powers from Brussels to Britain as a result of the current FCO review of the effects of EU membership on the UK.

4.4 The UK's nuclear defence policy would be called into question by Scotland becoming independent. Negotiations about transitional arrangements for the redeployment of UK nuclear submarines to an English base would re-open the question of what type of military capability Britain requires in future and what military capability it can afford. Insofar as UK military installations in Scotland are of value to NATO, then the United States would take an interest in the outcome of negotiations and would be free to engage in bilateral negotiations between Washington and Edinburgh as well as with London

5.0 If Scotland became independent, it would immediately need to establish its own diplomatic representation abroad, since the UK government would no longer provide representation.

5.1 There is no fixed rule about how many embassies and Ambassadors are enough and countries the size of Scotland do not try to have representation in the majority of UN member states. Nordic states such as Denmark and Finland have several dozen embassies abroad and some form of representation or consular service in up to two dozen or more countries. By starting from scratch, Scotland could attempt innovative forms of representation. Nonetheless, whatever was done would require a substantial capital investment, recruitment and training of staff, and involve significant recurrent costs. It would have to be done as a matter of urgency concurrently with creating new ministries in Edinburgh to take over responsibilities for powers that are currently not devolved.

5.2 The pressure for consensus in European Union decisionmaking and rules for super-majorities when votes are counted mean that individual countries, whatever their size, must form alliances on an issue by issue basis in order to have their positions incorporated in an EU decision.

5.3 The lack of the "hard" power of military force and a large Gross Domestic Product forces small states to rely on "smart" power, that is, a conscious strategy of engaging with other countries in order to call attention to common interests that may be pursued for common advantage. While Scotland has the advantage of being an internationally known "brand" that may help to open doors abroad, this is insufficient to seal deals.

5.3 In order to create understanding of its position as an independent state and to establish working relationships on issues of mutual concern, Scotland would need representation in all or almost all of its 26 other member states; it would want representation in Commonwealth countries where the Scottish diaspora can be found; in important oil producing countries; and in major trading partners or potential trading partners, such as China.

5.4 It is a diplomatic truism that to represent a country it is necessary to be present, whether or not the EU committee meeting is one in which a country has an interest. It is necessary to monitor Commission preparations of proposals; the reaction of home departments affected by a specific Commission proposal; and the position that other countries are likely to take on an issue that makes them suitable partners in an alliance based on common interests. All of this takes time and skilled staff.

5.5 The allocation of seats in the European Parliament disproportionately favours small states; thus, Scotland's MEPs would double in number. However, the work of the Parliament is organised by multi-national Party Groups. At present, Scotland's six MEPs belong to four different Groups and doubling the number would not necessarily change this. The extent to which Scottish voices would be strengthened with more MEPs depends less on the number of Scots in a European Parliament of 751 MEPs than it does on the abilities of the individuals whom parties nominate and Scots elect.

6.0 The above is based on my decades of research in the UK, the EU and Washington on changing institutions of government and the relation of domestic and international politics. Immediately, the memorandum draws on an ESRC-funded study to be published by Oxford U. Press next spring, Representing Europeans: a Pragmatic Approach, and research on the role of Small States in the European Union, organised by the European University Institute, Florence and funded by the Fundacao Francisco dos Santos, Lisbon. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author.

19 September 2012

Prepared 17th October 2012