World

How Scotland's 'No' vote resonates around the world

A pro-independence supporter is pictured in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, on 19 September 2014 following a defeat in the referendum on Scottish independence. Image copyright Getty Images

Scotland's historic referendum on independence has resonated across the world, with many countries watching its outcome closely.

BBC correspondents in Australia, Canada, India, Spain, Italy, Germany, and Romania take a look at how Scotland's "No" vote has been received and what it means for the countries they cover.

Spain - Tom Burridge

Catalonia is probably the place outside of the UK where Scotland's referendum had, and still has, most resonance.

Why? Because the Catalan government plans a Scottish-style vote on independence on 9 November, even though the Spanish government has called it "illegal".

Waking up on Friday, pro-independence Catalans, at least privately, cannot fail to be disappointed.

The Catalan president, who is expected to get the green light from the regional parliament in Barcelona to hold a similar vote, admitted to me last week that he wanted a "Yes" in Scotland to prove that there could be a successful referendum for independence in part of a fellow EU country.

Image copyright Getty Images

Catalonia's Foreign Secretary (a title that would raise many Spanish eyebrows), Roger Albinyana, told me that he was "not at all disappointed".

He is keen to point out that David Cameron allowed the Scottish vote. Mariano Rajoy will never give his approval to a vote here in Catalonia.

And for pro-independence Catalans Scotland was a "democratic success", a nation exercising "their right to vote".

However Catalans who passionately want Catalonia to remain part of Spain say the situation here is more complicated than, in the words of one activist, a "black-and-white, yes-no" decision.


Canada - Lee Carter

The victory for the "No" vote will please many of Canada's editorial writers, most of whom came down firmly on the side of Scotland staying with the union.

As the vote got closer, many other stories were gently shoved aside by major TV news networks, which had correspondents on the ground in Scotland providing minute-by-minute results. The interest was not surprising.

Nearly five million Canadians identify themselves as Scottish. And Scots have had a huge impact on Canadian culture and history.

Many of those who migrated to Nova Scotia (New Scotland) did so because they were forced off their land. Opinion in some of the communities there tilted towards the Yes campaign.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Canadian province of Quebec has voted twice on independence, in 1980 and 1995 (pictured)

The Scottish debate seemed to have much more traction in the French-speaking province of Quebec. Referendums on separation from Canada were twice held there (1980 and 1995) and twice rejected, albeit by an extremely narrow margin in 1995.

A group of Quebec "sovereigntists" who'd made the trip to Scotland to watch and learn from the process said they were hugely impressed by the precision and clarity of the "Yes" campaign.

But the group's leader, Alexandre Cloutier, admitted that the next referendum in Quebec could be a long way off. In April, the pro-independence Parti Quebecois was swept from power in the province by the federalist Liberals. And support for separation in the province wavers at around 40%.

Group members insist that despite the result, there are still many aspects of the Scottish vote that could inspire a new generation of Quebec separatists.

But weighing into the debate, Quebec's Premier Philippe Couillard said that while Scotland's referendum was an example of the same kind of healthy tension that exists in Quebec, all comparisons after that were "risky".


India - Andrew North

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Demands for a referendum persist in Kashmir, but the chances of it happening are remote

India's foreign minister didn't know Scotland was considering divorce, until an aide whispered in her ear. A more pressing concern for some Indians was what it meant for the price of Scotch.

There's also been some schadenfreude in the air, watching their former colonial master prepare to "partition" itself.

For many, the idea that the UK was about to give away some of its territory voluntarily - and because the British prime minister himself had allowed a vote - was hard to comprehend.

And if the Scots had voted "Yes", it would have set an uncomfortable precedent in Kashmir. India has never carried out its 1948 promise to hold a referendum there, and Kashmiris were quick to make the comparison with the Scots getting a vote.

So it's not surprising Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's initial reaction to the idea the UK could break up was "God forbid". It would have just made things too complicated.


China - Martin Patience

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There is a long history of discord between China's Uighurs and the central authorities

China's official reaction to the referendum's result was "no comment" because it was an internal matter for the UK.

But in the run-up to the vote, Premier Li Keqiang stressed that he wanted to see a "united" United Kingdom.

Privately at least, China's leaders will welcome the "No" vote.

They will have worried that an independent Scotland may have inspired China's own minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang - and given those in Hong Kong and Taiwan new ideas.

The narrative of the ruling Communist party is of a strong, unified China rising in the world. Any talk of separation or independence is crushed by force here.

With that in mind, many Chinese were astonished that London allowed the referendum to go ahead - never mind that it would allow the UK to split up.

Throughout the campaign, state media ran articles about how "too much democracy" had led to "instability" in the UK.

The message to Chinese readers was clear: China needs to stick together - otherwise it is inviting chaos.


Germany - Jenny Hill

"Scotland stays British!" proclaims Germany's most popular newspaper. For Bild, like every other paper and TV news programme here, there is only one top story this morning - and on the whole only one response.

"I'm hugely relieved," said one politician. "It prevents further fragmentation of Europe."

The government agrees - though the official line is less exuberant.

"We have always respected the fact that this referendum was called and that the central government in London agreed to this. And now we respect the outcome of it as well," said Angela Merkel.

Is she pleased with the result? The German chancellor was coy. "I will not comment on this but just smile."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption German politicians fear a UK referendum on EU membership without Scottish voters could make its exit more likely

Why? Politicians are looking ahead to a possible UK referendum on EU membership. Without Scottish voters, they think Britain's exit from the EU would have been far more likely.

But there are other considerations too. In a leader that ran two days ago, the broadsheet Sueddeutsche Zeitung expressed concern about the economic viability of independence.

On Friday morning the language was somewhat bolder. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine the nationalists were "promising the moon".

Among ordinary Germans, I've yet to find someone who supported independence.

Take Edgar. Every day he stands on the bank of the river Spree, leans on his stick and shepherds tourists on to his sightseeing boat. "Better together," he told me. "Of course they're better together."


Italy - David Willey

The final result of Scotland's independence referendum missed the early editions of Italy's morning papers, but Italian shares hit new two-year highs at the opening of Milan's stock exchange.

The "spread" between the price of Italian and German 10-year treasury euro bonds hit a three-year low - signifying increased confidence in Italy's financial credibility.

The leading daily Corriere Della Sera's headline ran: "UK remains united but will still change".

Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta tweeted (in Italian): "Scotland has decided. Good for us and for Europe. Now let's not ignore the intolerance and fears which encourage separatists."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption "South Tirol is not Italy" - The Scottish referendum serves as an inspiration for German-speaking separatists in Italy's South Tyrol region.

Italy's Northern League separatist party, which dreams of setting up a republic called Padania in the Po River Valley, is currently in the doldrums after losing heavily at the last elections.

Meanwhile a nascent movement for the independence of Venice, in times past a powerful European nation-state, is not taken seriously in Rome.

Newspapers in the German-speaking South Tyrol, which passed to Italy after World War One, said that the Scottish referendum had been an "incredible success" simply because it had been allowed to be held.

Listeners calling in to a leading radio talk show complained that in contrast to what happens in the UK, Italian politicians seem unable to carry out long-desired constitutional changes and electoral reforms.


Romania - Nick Thorpe

Ethnic Hungarians in Romania's Transylvania region have welcomed the Scottish referendum result.

"This will help our striving for autonomy," said the president of the Szekler National Council, which is campaigning for an autonomous Szeklerland - a region in eastern Transylvania comprising largely Hungarian-speaking territory with roots going back to the Middle Ages.

Image caption Szekler National Council is campaigning for an autonomous region in eastern Transylvania

"The world has changed. The Scottish government and parliament will certainly have more autonomy in the future. Romania should learn from this to engage in debate with us, as we are asking for much less than the Scots," Balazs Izsak added.

Approximately 800,000 Hungarians live in the two counties of Hargita and Covasna and a part of Mures county. Until the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, the whole of Transylvania was under Hungarian jurisdiction.

But Hungarians in Romania today are divided over the autonomy efforts, and Romanians on the whole reject any debate about the possibility.

The Democratic Union of Hungarians (UDMR), who form part of the current Romanian government, this week published their own plans for Szekler autonomy, based on the model of Italy's South Tyrol province.

Image copyright Getty Images

Leader Hunor Kelemen stressed the difference between the plan and Scotland's referendum.

The number of Hungarians living in Transylvania is falling by about 20,000 each year, and champions of autonomy argue that this is the best way to preserve the Hungarian community.

Ethnic Hungarians also fear a new regionalisation plan for Romania, which would administratively divide their region further.


Australia - Jon Donnison

A substantial proportion of the Australian population has Scottish heritage. As in Scotland, the issue of independence has divided that community.

The "No" victory will be welcomed by Australia's conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a staunch unionist and royalist who was born in London to English parents.

The result has seen the pound strengthen against the Australian dollar as well as a host of other currencies.

Image copyright Getty Images

The referendum has received widespread coverage here.

There is no real equivalent independence movement here although some in the mineral rich state of Western Australia have argued they should one day break away from Australia as a whole. But such a split is unlikely.


Analysis - Bridget Kendall, BBC diplomatic correspondent

The news that Scotland is not going to leave the UK will mean many governments are heaving a sigh of relief.

Some feared that Scottish independence might encourage other separatist movements. Others worried that it would turn the rest of the UK into a weaker and distracted partner.

But has Britain's global standing been affected nonetheless?

There is an argument that the UK, along with the rest of the West, is already in decline - its clout eroded by the rise of emerging giants like China, India, Russia and Brazil.

And the very fact of this referendum shows its power and prestige is on the wane, and its reliability as a partner has been undermined.

There is a worry too that new devolved powers promised to Scotland, and further constitutional change being called for elsewhere in the UK, may mean that the government in London will be too distracted to pull its weight on foreign affairs.

No vote relief for many governments