On September 18, Scottish voters took to the polls to determine whether or not Scotland would become an independent country. With the “yes” and “no” campaigns entering the final stretch and debate intensifying, recent polling showed the “no” vote’s lead may have been narrowing. The results of this vote will have consequences across the United Kingdom and Europe, where other areas with distinct national, historic, and linguistic identities are also considering independence. The Scottish referendum had the consent of the U.K.’s government and the debate has been open, transparent and comprehensive. But questions remain regarding the economic, political and security implications of the referendum.
On September 12, the Brookings Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America hosted a panel discussion to consider the pros and cons of Scottish independence and to elaborate on what either outcome would mean for Scotland, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States. Brookings Senior Fellow and CUSE Director Fiona Hill provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Panelists included Professors Charlie Jeffery and Juliet Kaarbo of the University of Edinburgh, Financial Times journalist Geoff Dyer and Brookings Fellow Jeremy Shapiro.