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PalenQ Apr 7th, 2014 06:25 AM

If Scotland Goes Its Own Way...Impact On Tourists?
This September Scotland will vote Yes or No on outright independence from the U.K. And the Yes vote I guess is gaining on the No vote raising the very real specter of an independent Scotland.

Q - what if any implications would this have for foreign tourists?

Would Scotland join the EuroZone or Schengen - necessitating border checks I guess to enter or leave the Schengen zone?

Or would it be just about like now? No real border checks, etc. Same money as England, etc.?

curious as to how Brits feel about the implications of a Yes vote.

PatrickLondon Apr 7th, 2014 06:54 AM

One of the more heated parts of the debate is the extent to which all these questions remain formally unresolved until after the vote, or/but to which it is unthinkable that there would be that much difference, after all the necessary negotiations and consequent legislation following on a Yes vote had been concluded.

The current EU position is that no other member state wishes to voice much of an opinion (with the SNP interprets as meaning they have no objection to allowing Scotland's status to be the same as the status quo). However, this situation has never been faced before and would obvously be taken as a precedent in respect of Catalonia, Flanders, etc.; it turns on whether an independent Scotland would be treated as a new applicant (i.e., required to join the euro).

The current UK government position is that any sort of joint management arrangement for a currency union would be unworkable. The SNP says not, but since I've seen no public statement as to how they see it working (one or two members of relevant Bank of England committees, appointed by the Edinburgh government? Would Scottish voters prefer that to directly electing 50-odd members to Westminster?)
However there are hints that if it came to it, there might be some deal in return for allowing the nuclear submarines to stay at Faslane.

It <i>might</i> end up with a relationship akin to that between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Or it might not. Or there might be further devolution short of independence, in the event of a No vote (especially if there's a narrow margin).

Watch this space. Even if there's a yes vote, expect no formal changes to be in place before 2017.

ira Apr 7th, 2014 06:57 AM

How about giving Scotland the same status vv the UK as Puerto Rico has to the US?

Cowboy1968 Apr 7th, 2014 07:09 AM

You find a wide variety of options among Europe's countries.
If you want to focus on free trade with the EU without becoming a Member State, you can join the EEA (like Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein).
If you want to ease traffic or travel you can become part of the Schengen common travel zone without being an EU member (like the Norway and Iceland), or without even being an EEA member (like Switzerland).
You have areas which are in the EU but not part of the Customs Union (like Spain's Canary Islands) or not in the EU and also not in the Customs Union (like Switzerland).
The options are numerous and much more diverse than simply being in or out of the EU or Schengen.
But I doubt that an independent Scotland will join the Schengen area soon as it probably has no real benefit, compared to a country on the continent where much more traffic is trans-frontier.

flanneruk Apr 7th, 2014 07:17 AM

To answer PalQ's questions:

- The SNP doesn't want to join the Euro, and Scotland can't, immediately after independence, qualify to join the Euro. Strictly speaking, it's a non-question, since as Patrick points out it's not at all certain an independent Scotland would be allowed into the EU, and the EU doesn't allow proper countries (ie, not a microstate) to use the Euro unless they're members. Its use by a proper country without EU approval is inconceivable: the markets wouldn't offer credit to a country using the Euro "illicitly"

The SNP wants to use the pound: the British government (HMG) doesn't want it to. It's possible (though HMG denies this) that in the event of a yes vote HMG might allow Scotland to use the pound as a negotiating concession in return for UK nuclear submarines to remain berthed in Scotland.

- The SNP is campaigning against Schengen membership, and wants an independent Scotland to join the UK-Irish Republic Common Travel Area. This is uncontroversial - but it does mean US visitors won't get their passport stamped arriving in Scotland from Britain or Ireland

- what does it mean for tourism? If the SNP objectives are met (Scotland becomes a mini-Norway, but warmer and with less oil) Scotland will be more attractive just because it'll be an interesting curiosity. If the "no" campaign fears are realised (Scotland's economy slumps), it'll be Greece without the sunshine, cheap ouzo, Mediterranean diet or interesting ruins.

To answer Ira's question:

Of all the options for Scotland considered by the SNP, no-one was interested enough in Puerto Rico even to consider it. The SNP has a well thought-through set of proposals for what it laughingly calls "independence" (dependence on Britain, the US and the EU of an intensity that would have got Robert Bruce to burst a blood vessel), and it's that or the status quo.

flanneruk Apr 7th, 2014 07:44 AM

" it turns on whether an independent Scotland would be treated as a new applicant (i.e., required to join the euro)."

I think Patrick's slightly off on this.

- There's legitimate debate about whether Scotland would have some kind of automatic right to join the EU (the SNP argues it's a member already), and this is really a political question. Ultimately, the issue is whether all 28 EU members are prepared to allow Scotland the same rights that would have to be granted to breakaway buts of other EU countries. Personally, I think it's simply impossible for all 28 to agree on this: the rump UK probably will vote for Scotland, but one of Italy, France, Spain, Germany or Belgium is almost certain to vote against.
- If Scotland is allowed into the EU, and if it accepts it can't have the pound (both huge ifs), the need to satisfy the Euro membership criteria of fiscal responsibility is a technical one, and likely to be insisted only all current Euro members: the Euro absolutely doesn't want a new Greece.

Scotland can't qualify, because it won't have a record of independence - and its current very high level of dependence on public-sector employment would make it tough to bend the rules a bit. It may well have to serve a period of probation, either with a temporary currency of its own or somehow freeloading on the pound or euro.

There is,though, the complication that Scottish-headquartered banks and insurance companies make up a large proportion of Britain's financial industry. It's possible that an independent Scotland with a dodgy currency could damage the UK more than an independent Scotland using the pound but behaving irresponsibly (the SNP was cheering for the Scottish banks driving themselves into bankruptcy before the recession). It's also possible that the Scottish banks might destabilise the Scottish economy if they move their HQ's to England - as they will be tempted to if Scotland votes yes and England continues to want Scotland out of the pound.

Unless Scotland votes no, the Scottish currency issue is likely to dominate politics in the British Isles for the next few years

Rubicund Apr 7th, 2014 07:51 AM

"This September Scotland will vote Yes or No on outright independence from the U.K"

"Outright" is not even close. They will be anything but if the vote goes "Yes". Then the problems will start.

bilboburgler Apr 7th, 2014 08:11 AM

For tourists it will be a minor issue, for me I would feel betrayed. After so many years carving up the world together it would be odd to see Scotland (without many of the Scots who live in England) rejecting the benefits of working together. I've enjoyed working up there and so many people from Scotland lived my childhood home that the local kids had a Scottish accent (this was the south coast of England).

Still to amuse.

"The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!"
Boswell: Life of Johnson

PalenQ Apr 7th, 2014 08:16 AM

How about giving Scotland the same status vv the UK as Puerto Rico has to the US?>

I think that they already have more an autonomous status even than Puerto Rico - their own Parliament handling many matters without any UK imput on designated matters - allowed by Westminster.

and unlike Puerto Rico Scotland has MPs in Westminster.

hetismij2 Apr 7th, 2014 08:29 AM

I don't see how people in Scotland can make an informed choice in September when there are so many things to be decided upon.

As far as tourism goes, apart from some disgruntled English boycotting the country I doubt a yes vote would have much effect for quite some time.

PalenQ Apr 7th, 2014 08:34 AM

But it would be cheaper for those English who want to 'go abroad' - a sojourn abroad in Scotland!

bilboburgler Apr 7th, 2014 08:40 AM

I doubt there will be any disgruntled English. I worry at the rise of nationalism. Not a pretty political position to be held within Europe. Too many graveyards built on it.

In terms of cheaper or not, I guess it will depend on how the currencies float. In Ireland there is a certain amount of fuel smuggled across the border and with tax avoidance comes crime and the terrible things that come with that. I had hoped that Great Britain might have been saved from that waste as well.

PalenQ Apr 7th, 2014 08:49 AM

I read that at least at some time in the near past dairy farmers in Northern Ireland moved herds of cattle across the non-physical border with the Republic or Ireland and had them counted for EU subsidies in both countries! Maybe this could be a boon for say sheep farmers in the Borders area?

Or are EU farm subsidies a thing of the past?

tipsygus Apr 7th, 2014 09:09 AM

A Poster earlier mentioned Switzerland not being a member of the EU and the EEA as i understand things Switzerland is a member of the EEA.

PalenQ Apr 7th, 2014 09:11 AM

Switzerland is but may not be for long news reports say - no open borders for this capital of money laundering and unethical banking practices.

flanneruk Apr 7th, 2014 09:42 AM

Switzerland isn't in the EEA, though it is in EFTA.

It has gazillions of special treaties with EU, and is in Schengen (as are all the EFTA countries), but it's not in the EEA.

nytraveler Apr 7th, 2014 11:05 AM

I don't think you can "give" Scotland anything. I think it's what the voters decide they want.

Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the US at the moment - but everything is now up in the air. Personally I beleive it should be a state - and I believe that's the choice that got the most votes in 2012.

Josser Apr 7th, 2014 11:12 AM

Whatever happens, something will have to be done about the "West Lothian question ". At the moment, English members of Parliament can't vote on Scottish matters, but Scottish members can legislate for England.

almcd Apr 7th, 2014 11:36 AM


flanneruk Apr 7th, 2014 12:59 PM


For what?

One of the few things the "yes" and "no" campaigns agree on is that passports won't be needed for travelling between Scotland and the UK, the Irish Republic or the other islands in NW Europe that (as the SNP plans for an "independent" Scotland) have the UK monarch as head of state.

The reason Schengen isn't an issue in the debate is not that it's of no benefit to Scotland, but that the consequent necessity for passport control between Scotland and the rest of the Isles would manifestly be as destructive to Scotland as hitching up with the absurd Euro - and would be cause marginal damage to the rest of us..

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