Saturday

26th Sep 2020

Voting under way in Scottish independence referendum

  • Polling stations will stay open until 10pm local time (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Over 4 million people are set to cast their vote in the Scottish independence referendum on Thursday (18 September), with a record turnout expected as 97 percent of eligible voters have registered for the poll.

Polling stations open at 7am local time and close at 10pm. Exit polls are expected immediately afterwards, while the final result should be known early Friday morning.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Opinion polls published in the last few days suggested the result will be too close to call, with the No camp ahead by two-three percent, which is within the margin of error.

If Scotland votes Yes, it will represent a political shock for the EU.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday called it a "torpedo below the waterline for European integration". He warned that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply for EU membership and that the process will take years.

Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel García-Margallo said that "it would start a process of Balkanisation that nobody in Europe wants," a reference to smaller states breaking off and becoming hostile to each other.

Madrid has weighed into the Scottish debate because it opposes a similar referendum from taking place in Catalonia. Local authorities want to hold a non-binding "popular consultation" in November.

In Spain, any such secession attempt would be unconstitutional. This contrasts with the UK, where the government in London has agreed that if Scots say Yes, the country can negotiate the terms of its break-up from the 300-year old union.

At a local standup comedy club in Glasgow on Wednesday, Spain was part of a special show about the referendum.

"Every year in summer, hordes of Scots board cheap flights to Spain. If Madrid opposes our independence, we'll just send more people, until they come around," one comedian said.

Another one quipped about the "Balkanisation" comment, saying that many Scots "now believe the weather will get worse if we vote Yes".

As for the EU prospects, he added: "we will not only leave the EU, but we'll be banned forever from the Eurovision song contest. Imagine how many Europeans will cheer for that."

A young comedienne joked that she is voting Yes "because when the US invades us for oil, I'll marry a GI. Then I'll get canned pineapple and nylon stockings all the stuff we don't get here on the black market."

Offshore oil in Scottish waters have been part of the campaign, along with the right to use the British pound if Scotland becomes independent.

The No campaign and business elites have warned that independence will create economic uncertainty and that Scotland will have no say over monetary policy decided in London.

Re-applying for EU membership also raises the question of the euro - as all aspiring members are required to adopt the common currency one day.

The UK and Denmark have negotiated an opt-out from the single currency, but all other countries are bound to join one day. The ruling Scottish Nationalist Party has said it will not adopt the euro.

It is instead looking to Sweden as a model, where the obligation to join still exists, but has been postponed indefinitely after Swedes voted against joining the single currency.

As for the use of the pound, as one comedian noted, the bills currently in circulation in Scotland have a Scottish marking that makes it difficult to use in England.

"Nothing will change. Have you tried using Scottish pounds in London? They look at it as if it were from Mars."

Feature

Scotland prepares for life after referendum

While the campaigns in favour and against Scottish independence are running full-speed ahead of the vote on Thursday, a non-affiliated 'referendum cafe' hopes to keep the political debate going even after the referendum.

Feature

Scotland on verge of 'independence lite'

Scottish people are preparing for a historic referendum that could partly end their union with the UK, but still seek to keep the pound and the British queen.

Opinion

The road ahead for an independent Scotland

The biggest post-independence decision for Edinburgh will be whether to apply for EU membership and with it, access to the single market.

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Berlin repeats support for EU human rights sanctions
  2. China's carbon pledge at UN sends 'clear message' to US
  3. Far right using pandemic to win friends in Germany
  4. Visegrad countries immediately push back on new migration pact
  5. Why no EU progress on Black Lives Matter?
  6. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  7. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  8. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us