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Main focus of Thursday, September 18, 2014


Scottish vote on independence

The Scots could end their 300-year-old union with England with the referendum. (© picture-alliance/dpa)

Around four million inhabitants of Scotland will vote today, Thursday, on whether their country should become independent of the United Kingdom. According to the most recent surveys it will be a close run. Some commentators warn that a "yes" will only bring more instability for the Scots and the rest of Europe. Others praise the respectful and democratic decision process behind the referendum.


Irish Examiner - Ireland

Going solo more difficult in times of crisis

Ireland's fate in the financial crisis should serve as a warning to the Scots not to go it alone, the liberal daily Irish Examiner points out: "The Scottish nationalists have, like any movement fuelled by emotion, insisted that Scotland's natural resources are abundant enough to support their ambitions, that they can continue to use sterling as their currency, and that an independent Scotland would be a welcome member of the EU. Those assertions are untested. So, if a friendly neighbour may offer a comparison, one where we learnt a very bitter lesson, Scots should consider how they might have fared had they been in our powerless position the night our tottering banks had to be rescued [on 28 November 2010]. Would they prefer to rely, as we had to, on the expensive kindness of strangers or on a relationship, for all its faults, that has stood the test of time? (17/09/2014)


Lietuvos žinios - Lithuania

Separatism the last thing Europe needs now

Given the tense geopolitical situation in Europe, independence for Scotland wouldn't just be dangerous for the UK, the conservative daily Lietuvos žinios warns: "Since the times of US President Woodrow Wilson [from 1913 to 1921] we respect the democratic right of peoples to self-determination. On the other hand Scotland splitting off from the UK would be the first major redefining of borders in Western Europe since German reunification, and it would doubtless encourage separatist forces in Belgium, Spain and other regions of the continent. And the increasingly tense atmosphere resulting from [Europe's] relations with Russia is not exactly a good starting point for secessionist processes." (18/09/2014)


La Vanguardia - Spain

Brits show world how to do democracy

On the day of the Scottish referendum the people of Catalonia, also striving for independence, regard with envy the mutually respectful dialogue between London and Edinburgh which is lacking in Spain, the Catalan daily La Vanguardia observes: "London always responded to the growing support for independence with a willingness to talk and negotiate. And on Sunday it reinforced this stance with a document signed by the leaders of the UK's three major parties (Cameron for the Conservatives, Miliband for Labour and Clegg for the Liberals) in which they undertake to strengthen Scotland's autonomous powers and maintain the present levels of public investment. Therefore regardless of the referendum's outcome Scotland and the UK can be proud of carrying out an impeccable democratic process, in which the delicate matter of secession has been tackled with the best tools: mutual respect, dialogue and a willingness to make compromises." (18/09/2014)


Jornal de Negócios - Portugal

Cameron and the EU have already lost

No matter how the Scots vote, it's already clear that British Prime Minister David Cameron and a short-sighted EU are the losers, the liberal business daily Jornal de Negócios comments: "All the hysteria about the Scottish referendum proves that Europe is not only incapable of fighting the economic crisis and preserving democratic values, but also of understanding the rising tide of nationalisms. ... Political mediocrity rules the day. This became more than apparent during the 'Scottish campaign' [with which the unionists around Cameron aimed to bring the Scots' on to their side in recent days]. ... David Cameron's desperate campaign with its belated and empty promises has thus turned him into a loser. If Cameron is defeated he will be the one who allowed the UK to collapse. If he wins he will be the one who gave Scotland far too much power within the UK. But the biggest loser is Europe's short-sighted policy." (18/09/2014)


Journal 21 - Switzerland

Statehood largely irrelevant in the EU

In today's Europe the question of whether Scotland becomes independent is far less important than is being suggested, the online magazine Journal 21 believes: "Thanks to the EU we live, whether formally or not, in a Europe without borders as regards our money, our economy and our national borders. This has brought clear advantages to most Europeans in terms of quality of life: living, working, doing business, studying, travelling and holidays have all been liberated of time-consuming formalities and obstacles between states. … More than just a few Scots seem to actually believe that 'living in their own country' would substantially improve their quality of life. In actual fact most of them will go on living just as they have done so far after September 18, regardless of the outcome of the vote. Borderless Europe makes state borders largely irrelevant for the daily lives of individuals." (17/09/2014)


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