Patrick Donahue and Arne Delfs’s Bloomberg article suggests general disarray across Europe at the prospect of a Scottish vote in favour of independence, with the Germany that is becoming the central power of Europe and a Spain facing even graver separatist issues being highlighted.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is counting on Scots to reject independence and hasn’t made contingency plans for a U.K. split, underscoring a lack of preparedness across Europe before tomorrow’s referendum.
While Merkel has avoided weighing in on Scotland’s future, German policy makers view independence as an ill-advised choice for Scots and are concerned it would spur separatism in other European Union countries such as Spain, according to three government officials in Berlin who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
The possible breakup of the EU’s third-biggest economy has been low on Europe’s agenda as leaders focused on the Ukraine conflict and the advance of Islamic State militants in Iraq. While the “yes” campaign for Scottish independence gathered steam, Merkel spent days campaigning in three German state elections.
“Everybody seems to have underestimated what Scottish independence may mean,” said Joerg Forbrig, an analyst at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin, citing questions about the future of U.K. nuclear weapons and Scottish membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. “Nobody wants the disintegration of any European countries, be it Scotland or Catalonia.”
All surveys suggest the contest over Scotland’s future tightened in the final days of campaigning. Four of the five latest polls showed the anti-independence Better Together group backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and the main U.K. parties leading the “yes” campaign by 52 percent to 48 percent, excluding undecided voters.
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The British pound has lost 3.1 percent against the U.S. dollar since the start of August as polls showing a growing “yes” vote led to market uncertainty. The yield on Spanish 10-year bonds climbed the most in 15 months on speculation the vote could stoke the Catalan region’s bid for autonomy.