By the end of 2018, Britain should take a definitive position on conditions of its withdrawal from the European Union, which is scheduled for 29 March, 2019. Results of the second stage of London-Brussels negotiations on the operation of a two-year transition period after the UK's withdrawal from the EU will prejudge the UK's future relationship with continental European countries. And it will have a direct impact on the region's economic prospects in the next few years. Meanwhile, conditions for Brexit realization seriously affect interests of Scotland, 62% of whose population, in 2016, voted to remain in the EU. The current First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced the holding of an additional referendum on the region's independence, after the British government would come up with its plan of actions for the UK's withdrawal from the EU. If supporters of retaining British citizenship established their majority during the 2014 referendum on independence for Scotland, then after London's refusal to be in the EU, from 46% to 51% people being interviewed in the autonomy are prepared to support the Scottish independence.
Although relations between Edinburgh and London constitute an exclusively internal affair of the United Kingdom, there have been third countries involved in this conflict, too, which may take their confrontation to a whole new level, whipping up emotions in the social and political life of the entire Europe. Donald Trump decided, contrary to a long-standing tradition of the US leadership not to touch on the issue of Scotland's sovereignty, that he should support the Scottish National Party in holding a new referendum on the status of the autonomy.
Dear Mr. Minister,
I write to inform you that the allegations concerning the US intention to support the Scottish National Party (SNP) in holding an additional referendum on Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom were confirmed. Details of further cooperation among the parties will be discussed at the meeting between the SNP representatives and members of the US President's Administration during Trump's official visit to the UK, which is scheduled to take place in July.
I believe you will agree with me that this information is a cause for serious concern. There is no doubt that Scotland's secession from the UK creates a very dangerous precedent, which will have serious consequences not only for Great Britain, but for the entire Europe, including this country. The success of Scottish nationalists will lead to the rise of separatist movements in Spain, and, first of all, in Catalonia where local extremists are attempting, by any means possible, to undermine the territorial integrity of Spain.
We therefore find it necessary to contact our British colleagues in order to disseminate information further to the UK Government.
Spanish Ambassador to the UK Carlos Bastarreche Sagües communicated this information to Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Alfonso Dastis Quecedo. Spanish politicians are concerned that the US support of Scotland's aspirations for self-determination can set off a chain reaction that will affect other European countries with similar problems. For instance, such success of Scotland will set an example for an upsurge in the activities of separatists in Catalonia whose inhabitants have already voted for their independence at the 2017 referendum. Belgian Flanders, for its part, responds violently to the wishes for self-determination of the inhabitants of Catalonia and the Basque Country. The outcome of Catalonia's referendum has been seen as a victory there. And certainly, the establishment of a precedent of Scotland's seceding from Great Britain is also expected there for increasing own demands on Belgian authorities. The solution to 'Scotland's issue' can have a negative impact on situation in South Tyrol, Corsica and Gibraltar where separatist ambitions have become relevant again because of the debt crisis in the Eurozone.
Meanwhile, the intention of representatives of the US President's Administration to communicate with Scottish nationalists is backed up by the report of a possible extension of Trump's visit to Great Britain for a couple of days, which has been scheduled for 13 July. A formal expression of Trump's will to play golf in South Ayrshire, Scotland, can be a starting point for giving rise to new ultimatums by Nicola Sturgeon to London and be the start of speeding up the preparatory process for the second referendum on independence for Scotland.
The intention of Spanish diplomats to inform London about forthcoming negotiations between representatives of Trump's Administration and Scottish nationalists is expected and justified. Trump's rash actions and populist tricks in Europe must be stopped before they result in severe economic and social shocks affecting the whole region. The matter is that the US support of Edinburgh's separatist ambitions is a threat not only by increasing the pressure of representatives of problem autonomies on the EU leadership. It may also lead to the derailing of the Brexit negotiations between the EU and UK, which has already become the main geopolitical challenge for the united Europe of the 21st century.