Scotland as a Good Global Citizen: A Discussion with First Minister Alex Salmond
In a historic referendum set for autumn 2014, the people of Scotland will vote to determine if Scotland should be an independent country. The decision on Scottish independence will carry with it far-reaching economic, legal, political and security consequences for all of the United Kingdom (UK). The debate about Scottish independence will also be watched closely across the continent of Europe. An independent Scotland would have to review its relationships with the rest of the world, including its priorities in foreign and diplomatic affairs and its memberships of international organizations such as the European Union.
On April 9, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) hosted First Minister Alex Salmond, MSP, leader of the Scottish Government, for an address on Scotland’s future as an independent nation. In his remarks, First Minister Salmond discussed the Scottish values and principles that would shape a modern, independent Scotland and the choices and opportunities that would characterize Scotland’s contributions to the world. The Right Honorable Alex Salmond has served as first minister of Scotland since 2007. He first became a member of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and has served as the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) since 2004. Salmond was first elected as a member of the UK Parliament in 1987 and served until 2010.
Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, provided introductory remarks, and Fiona Hill, director of CUSE, moderated the discussion.
To subscribe or manage your subscriptions to our top event topic lists, please visit our event topics page.
I question whether the U.K. and EU will become political and economic rivals, as geography, history, financial interests, security concerns, and shared values will necessitate continued close cooperation in some form for the foreseeable future. My bigger concern is the all-consuming nature of Brexit, which could prevent the U.K. especially and the EU from engaging effectively against international rivals. Brexit already dominates debates in London, with a divided Cabinet and parliament having limited bandwidth to engage on global challenges. Even if the U.K. parliament ratifies a Brexit deal, the two sides must then embark on equally complicated and domestically contentious negotiations about their future relationship. In some form, Brexit will afflict Europe for years and risks detracting attention from emerging threats.