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Scotland Independence Frustrates Spain Prior to Catalonia Referendum

Scottish independence could set a precedent which would inevitably trigger "a domino effect", inspiring similar separatist movements across the EU, political analysts warn.

MOSCOW, September 10 ( RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - Scottish independence could set a precedent which would inevitably trigger "a domino effect", inspiring similar separatist movements across the EU, political analysts warn.

"For many in Brussels, the real enemy of an independent Scotland in the EU could be Spain first and foremost, and then other states such as Belgium, France, Italy and others who face sporadic regional problems with secessionist undertones," writes the Irish Independent.

By September 19 the question of Scotland’s independence will finally be resolved. If the Scotts agree to a definite “yes”, the precedent will cause a constitutional crisis in the UK, states the Independent.

Catalonia, a region in Spain, will hold its independence referendum in November, 2014, less than two months after the Scottish vote.

Although the forthcoming referendum in Catalonia have been proclaimed "unconstitutional" by Spanish courts, "Madrid fears a domino effect, losing not just wealthy Catalonia, but Basque country, Gallicia and other regions," emphasizes the Irish media outlet.

Italy, France and Belgium also have separatist minorities which are seeking independence. The result of the Scottish referendum would play an important role for the EU states and the European secession movement.

"If it [Scotland's separation] does happen, this European 'contagion' risk that you mention is very real," says Ian Bremmer, an American political scientist and the president of Eurasia Group, as cited by Business Insider.

Experts admit that as some of the EU member states fear the rise of separatism, encouraged by Scottish secession, they are likely to block Scotland's EU ambitions.

"That would be incredibly messy, precisely because countries like Spain and Belgium would have an incentive to bar Scottish membership given their own situations," Bremmer underscores.

However, Halsbury’s Law Exchange, a British think-tank, argues that Scotland's independence "will not be a precedent for other EU regions," as the referendum is being carried out in accordance with the constitution of the UK and has been approved by the British government. "This is to be contrasted with the position in Spain and other EU nations where separatist movements are deemed to be unconstitutional," the think tank's experts stress.

Policy analysts from Halsbury's Law Exchange disagree with the idea that some of the European Union members will oppose Scotland's EU membership. The would-be state is Europe's largest oil producer, experts note; it also possesses vast fishing grounds which European fleets utilize, including that of Spain.

The think tank cites ECJ Judge Sir David Edward QC, Professor Sionaidh Douglas Scott of Oxford and Honorary EU Director-General Graham Avery as saying that Brussels will not "permit Scotland to leave the EU" and will apparently find a "pragmatic solution" for the new member state.

Richard Whitman, an expert on European politics at the University of Kent in England, points to the fact that "relatively small states" have already become "the norm in Europe," referring to the Baltic republics, Luxembourg, Malta, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

"These places seem to exercise their sovereignty even within a global context, and that's a powerful message for secession movements looking to emulate their success," Richard Whitman says, as cited by the USA Today.

The European nations "are looking very closely at Scotland's vote," notes the expert, and eastern Ukraine is not an exception: the result of the Scottish referendum will evidently have an impact on Donetsk and Luhansk in their struggle for independence from the central government in Kiev.

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