Scotland's Future

Scotland’s referendum on 18 September 2014 is a choice between two futures.

Chapter 6 International Relations and Defence

  • For the first time, Scotland's national interests will be directly represented on the international stage
  • Under our plans, Scotland's foreign, security and defence policies will be grounded in a clear framework of participating in rules-based international co-operation to secure shared interests, protecting Scotland's people and resources and promoting sustainable economic growth
  • We will continue to be a member of the EU and will have a seat at the top table to represent Scotland's interests more effectively; we will not be at risk of leaving the EU against the wishes of the Scottish people
  • An overseas network of 70 to 90 international offices is planned, built on Scotland's existing capacity and our share of the UK's international assets
  • Scotland will recognise and act on its responsibilities, as one of the wealthiest nations on the planet, to international development
  • Our defence plans focus on a strong conventional defence footprint in and around Scotland and the removal of nuclear weapons, delivering a £500 million defence and security dividend in 2016/17
  • Scotland's security will be guaranteed as a non-nuclear member of NATO, with Scotland contributing excellent conventional capabilities to the alliance

Scotland's international relations

Why we need a new approach

Scotland has always been an outward facing nation, exporting goods, people and ideas around the world and welcoming ideas and people from other countries into our national culture. The current Scottish Government's ambition for an independent Scotland has deep internationalist roots and is based on a firm belief that, as an independent country, we will have a distinct and valuable contribution to make to world affairs. Scotland will be a committed and active participant in the global community of nations.

In the conduct of international affairs no country operates in isolation. The global and regional context creates the conditions and defines the range of choices and options that each state must address. Globalisation enables not only the greater movement of goods, people and ideas, but also the transmission of threats across borders, presenting an ever-shifting set of challenges and opportunities. In particular, demand for resources will increase over the next 20 years putting Scotland, a country with abundant fresh water, major oil and gas supplies and the potential to become a renewable energy powerhouse, at the forefront of global discussions.

An independent Scotland would be no different from any other independent country. Governments plan and act to ensure that their societies can capitalise on opportunities while adapting to face longer-term challenges, and reacting to more acute threats and emergencies, whether natural or man-made. An independent Scotland will perform these functions.

The impact of world events has increasingly important implications for both domestic and foreign policy. An international outlook has never been so necessary. As recent financial events have demonstrated, no economy is isolated from global economic conditions and every nation is increasingly dependent, to a greater or lesser degree, on the flow of international trade and investment and its relationships with others. The development of a coherent set of polices surrounding an independent Scotland's position on foreign affairs, defence and security will therefore be essential.

An independent Scotland would not need to replicate the structure of the Westminster Government or adopt its processes. Scotland's smaller size and specific national interests mean that we can adopt a more focused approach to the design and delivery of foreign and defence policies.

Under our plans, an independent Scotland's foreign, security and defence policies would be grounded in a clear framework:

  • participation in rules-based international co-operation to secure shared interests. Scotland will be an active member of global institutions and will be party to fair and reciprocal agreements which respect human rights. Scotland will also be an active participant in international development, in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals and other relevant international agreements. Given Scotland's place in the western world and our history of friendship with a broad range of other nations, our interests will largely coincide with many others in the international community. It is therefore in Scotland's national interest to be a member of multilateral institutions alongside partners and friends with common interests and to co-operate with other nations in pursuit of common concerns and promotion of common values
  • protection of Scotland, our people and our resources. This encompasses the role of defence and security capabilities in ensuring the safety of Scotland's territory, citizens, institutions, values and systems against factors which could undermine prosperity, wellbeing and freedom. It also includes the role of the Government's overseas services in protecting Scots abroad
  • promotion of sustainable economic growth. Using Scotland's place in the world and our approach to global affairs to develop Scotland's economy is key to ensuring the continued and increased prosperity of the nation. Promotion of the many other positive aspects of Scottish life will also be a significant component of this work ranging from highlighting Scotland's world-class universities, to capitalising on our cultural and environmental profile, building on our already impressive international reputation

Today, Scotland has no formal voice on the international stage. Instead, we are represented by a Westminster Government that has based its actions, too often, on different international priorities. We see that most clearly in matters of war and peace and in our relationship with the EU.

As the government of an independent country, the primary purpose of our international engagement would be the promotion and protection of Scotland's national interests. Currently these can only be a part of the UK's considerations and Westminster's policies will rarely be fully aligned with what is right for Scotland.

Where Scotland's interests coincide with the interests of the rest of the UK, together we will form a more powerful voice for action. When Scotland has a distinct view, we will have a new ability to build alliances and make our case, ensuring that what is right for the people of Scotland is heard.

This independence advantage will be of greatest benefit in our relationship with the EU. This Government sees close engagement with the EU as an opportunity for Scotland, rather than the threat it seems to be for some in the UK. In 40 years of UK and Scottish membership of the EU, Scotland has not had direct representation at Europe's top table, and the price has been paid by important Scottish industries, including our fishing and agriculture sectors. On these issues, Westminster's approach has too often been to the detriment of Scottish jobs and prosperity.

Distrust and disengagement has dominated Westminster's attitude to the EU for too many years. A new threat is now emerging: the growing possibility that, if we remain part of the UK, a referendum on future British membership of the EU could see Scotland taken out of the EU against the wishes of the people of Scotland, with deeply damaging consequences for our citizens and our economy.

While the UK seeks an ability to project global power, an independent Scotland can choose a different approach. If in government, we will direct our international efforts, first and foremost, into deepening and consolidating relationships with friends and partners, new and old, across the world and, through this, expanding opportunities for people and businesses in Scotland.

Our bywords will be co-operation, development and trade. Our clear priorities will be commerce and partnership, not conflict. Scotland will be a champion for international justice and peace.

Independence will provide a step change for Scotland internationally. We will no longer be in the shadow of Westminster, with its increasingly insular and isolationist elements. Instead we can bring a new and distinct accent and approach to world affairs.

The opportunities available to Scotland

Scotland starts with an enviable reputation and a strong international identity. Our international brand is one of our most important assets as a country.

Even without independent status, Scotland's international brand value already ranks 15th out of 50 nations according to international comparisons published in 2012. Scotland has continually scored highly and is ranked similarly to - and often ahead of - other comparably-sized, high income, democracies such as Denmark, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand[246]. This provides an excellent starting point and the move to independence will, in itself, deliver a boost to Scotland's international recognition. We can use this important moment in our history as an opportunity to extend a welcome to the world and an invitation to engage more fully with our newly independent nation.

As an independent country, we can choose to build on these strengths, with an overseas network that works better for Scotland, and an overseas presence at the heart of our strategy to generate new economic opportunities for our nation.

Scotland will be entitled to a fair share of the UK's extensive overseas properties (or a share of their value) allowing us to use existing premises for some overseas posts. For example, the Foreign Office owns or leases almost 5,000 properties overseas[247]. The estimated value of this estate is around £1.9 billion. Based on a population share (our actual share will be a matter for negotiation) Scotland would be entitled to around £150 million allowing us to establish ourselves quickly and for little initial cost in our priority countries.

We will have the opportunity to design our overseas footprint based not on an imperial past or a desire for global power, but on what works for Scotland in the modern world. That means we can choose to put investment into practical advantages for the people of Scotland rather than the UK's priorities.

We are fortunate to have extensive domestic expertise to provide a firm base to build our international service. The current Department for International Development staff and offices in East Kilbride and Scottish Development International (SDI) staff in Glasgow will provide a strong institutional foundation.

Future Scottish governments will also have the opportunity to access the full range of expertise that has been developed in our universities. For example, Scotland is home to internationally recognised schools and institutes of international relations at the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews.

The Scotland we can create

On independence, Scotland will be clearly positioned as a country which observes international law and respects and promotes human rights, democratic values, equality and good governance. We have unique advantages and experience to offer in the field of climate change and energy. We have shown that we can innovate through our approach to international development and aid. We also have world leading expertise to offer in education, health improvement and research. This is an exceptionally strong starting position and shows clearly the contribution an independent Scotland can make internationally.

Scotland therefore has much to offer the world and much to gain from direct participation, in our own name, in the global community.

Independence gives us the ability to advance Scotland's interests in our immediate neighbourhood and through engagement - for example, with our extended family, the Scottish diaspora. Our existing network of Global Scots, made up of leading Scottish business people and experts with an affinity for Scotland, will continue to ensure Scottish companies develop, expand and thrive locally in a competitive international market.

With our immediate neighbours in the British Isles and Northern Europe, independence will create opportunities for co-operation, with future governments able to engage as equals in partnerships that enhance Scotland's position in relation to important policy areas including energy, tourism, security and culture.

In the EU, an independent Scotland will be able to engage early and directly across the range of the Union's activities, ensuring Scottish interests are considered. Scottish governments will be able to promote our priorities in a system based on consensus and alliance building, where Scotland's votes will bring direct influence with the Commission and within the Council of Ministers. Being at the top table will transform Scotland's place in Europe.

Scotland has much to offer international development. With the limited powers of devolution, we have developed a highly successful programme of international development work, supporting projects in our seven priority countries for development - Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Tanzania, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. We have also offered humanitarian and other specific support to a small number of other countries.

With independence we will have the ability, and determination, to extend these efforts significantly and can ensure that Scottish development investment complies with international best practice. Our ambition is for Scotland to be a global leader in this field. We can ensure that international development is a central part of our international responsibilities and overseas engagement, underpinning the actions of the Scottish Government at home and abroad.

Scotland's foreign policy and international relations will take place within three overlapping and interacting spheres that will be the cornerstones of Scotland's foreign policy:

  • our partnership with the other nations of these islands
  • our regional role as an active member of the EU with strong links to the Nordic countries and the Arctic
  • the global context: our independent role in international and multilateral organisations, including the UN and NATO

Scotland in the British Isles

The choices open to us

Devolution has shown the strengths of having different political systems in Scotland and the rest of the UK for both countries. Since 1999 many areas of Scottish life, including health, justice and education, have to all intents and purposes been independent.

The Scottish approach to these issues - for example, banning smoking in public places, protecting free education and pushing for a minimum price for alcohol - has challenged the rest of the UK to consider different approaches to address challenges common to both countries. We have also been able to consider the Westminster approach to policy issues, sometimes rejecting those that are not suitable for Scotland or that have no support here. With independence we can change the nature of our co-operation and extend these policy conversations across the range of government activity. An independent Scotland, with a commitment to social justice, can be a beacon for progress elsewhere on these Isles.

Devolution also illustrates how self-government removes the political tensions that can arise from fundamental differences in voting patterns in Scotland and other parts of the UK. For example, Westminster cannot pursue in Scotland reforms similar to those being carried out in the health service in England, which it could have done before devolution. Decisions on devolved matters require the democratic consent of the Scottish Parliament.

Independence will remove the tensions that exist because of political differences over reserved matters, such as welfare. With independence, Scotland will always get the government it chooses. We will be responsible for all of our own resources and expenditure and we will take and be responsible for the consequences of all decisions about our government, people and society. Those decisions will include appropriate partnerships on these Isles, based on mutual respect and equality of status.

This Scottish Government has a clear vision for the positive relationship that can exist with independence, maintaining important links including our social union. We recognise that some people have an alternative vision, including a different approach to currency or the future status of the monarchy. These are legitimate differences of opinion. Those who hold them will make their case to the people of Scotland on these points and others in the 2016 elections and subsequently. It will be up to the people Scotland to decide the approach that best suits our nation as we move forward.

Our priorities for action

After independence, Scotland will no longer be part of the current parliamentary union with the other nations of the UK which gives Westminster its authority over Scotland. The Acts of Union will be repealed as part of our transition to independence. That means the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government will have responsibility for the full range of government activity in Scotland.

This change in the political and governmental arrangements for Scotland will not affect the many other ties that bind Scotland to the other nations of the UK. We will continue to be linked to other nations of the UK by five continuing unions: the EU; an ongoing Union of the Crowns; a Sterling Area; and as members of the NATO defence union. And the social union, made up of connections of family, history, culture and language, will have every opportunity to flourish and strengthen.

The history of the UK, the Crown Dependencies and the Commonwealth demonstrates that it is entirely normal for the UK to have varied and changing political relationships whilst retaining strong social ties. Scotland's social union with the other nations of the UK will continue through our shared language, culture and history. It is in the interests of an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK to share a currency and a Common Travel Area, meaning there will be no need for passports, exchanges or border checks.

The independence we propose reflects the realities of an increasingly inter-dependent world and is based upon a firm commitment to partnership and co-operation, not only in these Isles, but also in the EU and other international arrangements.

Independence will recognise the distinct political identities of Scotland and the rest of the UK, and allow us to work together in a more democratic environment with a renewed partnership as close allies and friends. Scotland's future relationship with the UK will be as rich and close as the UK's relationship with Ireland, which was described by the British and Irish governments in 2012 in these terms:

The relationship between our two countries has never been stronger or more settled, as complex or as important as it is today. Our citizens, uniquely linked by geography and history, are connected today as never before through business, politics, culture and sport, travel and technology and, of course, family ties. Our two economies benefit from a flow of people, goods, investment, capital and ideas on a scale that is rare even in this era of global economic integration[248].

Independence will allow Scotland and the rest of the UK to work together on matters of common interest, as nations do across the world. This will include current cross-border arrangements on health treatments, combating serious and organised crime and terrorism and administrative arrangements to deliver services to the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK when this makes sense. To suggest otherwise is to believe that the Westminster Government would act against the express interests of people and businesses in the rest of the UK.

Scotland's most important diplomatic relationships will be with the rest of the UK and Ireland, reflecting cultural history and family ties, shared interests in trade, security and common travel. The current Scottish Government plans a substantial diplomatic presence in both London and Dublin and will be active participants in the British-Irish Council, the secretariat of which is already based in Edinburgh.

Scotland and the rest of the UK will have a very close and constructive relationship on many foreign policy issues; it is natural that the values and interests of such close neighbours will often be aligned. The current Scottish Government would intend to support the rest of the UK in maintaining its seat on the UN Security Council. However, there will be issues on which a fundamentally different approach is right for Scotland and only independence gives us the opportunity to take that different path.

Scotland in the European Union

The choices open to us

We believe that Scotland's natural position is as an active participant in the EU, which provides us with unparalleled access to a market of over 500 million people.

We believe that an independent government, acting to protect Scotland's national interests within the EU, can restore some of the ground lost in recent decades when key Scottish industries have not been a priority for Westminster in EU negotiations. The debate over Scotland's relationship with the EU is, however, one that will almost certainly feature in future Scottish election campaigns, with some arguing for a looser form of partnership. The advantage of independence is that the people of Scotland will have the sole and final say. We will not be taken out of the EU against our wishes as may turn out to be the case if we are not independent.

Within the EU there will be important opportunities for future Scottish governments to determine priorities and maximise the benefits of our membership. These include:

  • Scotland's democratic voice in the EU: the EU has considerable influence over Scotland's economic and social welfare, from the single market to its common policies on a wide range of social and cultural matters. Independent membership of the EU would ensure that the Scottish Government is able, for the first time, to participate at every level in the EU legislative and policy process. With independence the Scottish Parliament will have an enhanced role in EU issues, holding the Scottish Government to account for positions taken in the EU, and ratifying reforms to the EU treaties
  • prioritising interests and partnerships: as an independent member state, Scotland will be in a much better position to advance our interests than as part of the UK. In practice the EU seeks consensus - solutions acceptable to all member states. To reach unanimity, all countries whatever their size have an equal say, and can advance their arguments and interests. On the rare occasions in which a consensus cannot be reached, a formal vote is held to settle the common position. Scotland would have our own votes on these occasions, and would align our votes with those member states whose interests best match Scotland's. An independent Scotland can therefore never find itself in a less favourable position than now - when we do not have our own voice - in representing Scotland's interests in the EU. Indeed, smaller EU member states tend to be relatively more successful in negotiations than are the large member states[249]
  • focused engagement: the most successful EU member states develop clear strategies and priorities for engagement with the EU. Independence will allow the Scottish Government to focus effectively on our strategic priorities, which include: energy and climate change; marine environment including fisheries; agriculture; research and creativity; and freedom, security and justice. Strategic priorities for an independent Scotland in the EU are likely to include: completing the internal market, especially an EU-wide single market for services; maximising the opportunities for Scottish firms within the priority actions identified by the Commission to stimulate growth; collective action on major societal challenges such as energy security, climate change, healthy and active ageing, sustainable growth, improved public health and reducing societal inequalities; co-operation on Justice and Home Affairs to tackle organised crime and terrorism; and helping Scottish citizens to live and work in other member states, and vice versa
  • participating in the Europe 2020 growth agenda: an independent Scotland will participate fully in, and benefit from, the range of economic policy initiatives that are being developed and delivered within the framework of the EU's Europe 2020 growth strategy: exploiting digital technologies; bolstering innovation in products, services and business models; enhancing employment prospects for young people; promoting renewable energy and the resource efficiency of economic activity towards a low-carbon economy; promoting industrial competitiveness; and reducing poverty and social exclusion
  • reform of the EU: an independent Scotland will be able to play a full and constructive role as a member state of the EU, including in reform of the EU itself to bring it closer to its citizens and address their concerns. Considerations for future Scottish governments will include actions to tackle three main issues: distance between the EU institutions and EU citizens; longer-term EU level policies to deliver sustained economic recovery across all member states; and an active role for member states to work together in partnership to deliver key EU objectives

An independent Scottish Government will, for the first time, be able to promote Scottish economic interests directly, protect Scottish citizens and participate on equal terms as all other member states in EU affairs. The only government capable of properly representing Scotland's interests in the EU decision-making process is a government elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Scotland.

Our priorities for action

The Scottish Government, supported by the overwhelming majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament, believes that membership of the EU is in the best interests of Scotland. It is our policy, therefore, that an independent Scotland continues as a member of the EU.

The major advantages of continued EU membership are:

  • access to the EU single market: the world's largest single market, with free movement of goods, services, capital and people. The EU accounted for around 46 per cent of Scotland's international exports in 2011[250] and 160,000 citizens from other member states live, work or study here[251]. Membership of the EU single market plays an important role in attracting foreign direct investment to Scotland
  • being part of an organisation with a global reach, contributing directly to the collective stance of the EU in world trade negotiations, including bilateral arrangements with third countries, and represented by the collective weight of the EU in any international trade disputes
  • a shared social agenda to promote social cohesion across the EU. The economic gains of the EU need to be shared among all Europe's citizens and the EU social agenda should protect the rights and interests of workers and families, without stifling labour markets or undermining economic competitiveness
  • the ability to match and retain talent, ensuring businesses continue to attract the best workers from across the EU to Scotland, and Scottish citizens continue to move freely within the EU to work, study and live, gaining experience which they can share on return to Scotland
  • a partnership approach to freedom, security and justice: engaging with EU partners against organised crime, terrorism, drug and people trafficking and money laundering
  • the opportunity to play a full role in the EU's common foreign and security policy, including co-operation to enhance Europe's defence capability and enhancing Scotland's contribution to international development and environment goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals

With independence, Scotland will take its proper place as a full member within the structures of the EU, giving us the ability to effectively represent Scottish interests within the EU.

Following a vote for independence the Scottish Government will immediately seek discussions with the Westminster Government, with member states and with the institutions of the EU to agree the process whereby a smooth transition to independent EU membership can take place on the day Scotland becomes an independent country.

The discussions will be held during the period in which Scotland remains part of the UK and by extension, part of the EU. This will allow the transition to independent EU membership to proceed without disrupting the continuity of Scotland's current position inside the EU single market or the rights and interests of EU citizens and businesses in Scotland. The Scottish Government believes that ensuring a seamless transition to independent EU membership will be in the best interests of Scotland, all member states and the EU in general, as well as those individual EU citizens and businesses who would be affected by any alternative approach.

The Scottish Government has proposed an 18-month period between the referendum and independence, which we believe is realistic for the terms of Scotland's independent membership of the EU to be agreed and all the necessary processes completed. It also provides sufficient time for the Scottish Government to undertake the necessary legal and institutional preparations for independent EU membership.

The Scottish situation is sui generis. There is no specific provision within the EU Treaties for the situation where, by a consensual and lawful constitutional process, the democratically determined majority view in part of the territory of an existing member state is that it should become an independent country.

Article 49 of the Treaty of the European Union provides the legal basis, and defines the procedure, for a conventional enlargement where the candidate country is seeking membership from outside the EU. As Scotland joined the EU in 1973 this is not the starting position from which the Scottish Government will be pursuing independent EU membership. Article 49 does not appear to be the appropriate legal base on which to facilitate Scotland's transition to full EU membership.

The alternative to an Article 49 procedure, and a legal basis that the Scottish Government considers is appropriate to the prospective circumstances, is that Scotland's transition to full membership is secured under the general provisions of Article 48. Article 48 provides for a Treaty amendment to be agreed by common accord on the part of the representatives of the governments of the member states.

Article 48 is therefore a suitable legal route to facilitate the transition process, by allowing the EU Treaties to be amended through ordinary revision procedure before Scotland becomes independent, to enable it to become a member state at the point of independence.

The Scottish Government recognises it will be for the EU member states, meeting under the auspices of the Council, to take forward the most appropriate procedure under which an independent Scotland will become a signatory to the EU Treaties at the point at which it becomes independent, taking into account Scotland's status as an EU jurisdiction of 40 years standing. The European Parliament will also play its role in Scotland's transition.

The Scottish Government will approach EU membership negotiations on the principle of continuity of effect: that is, a transition to independent membership that is based on the EU Treaty obligations and provisions that currently apply to Scotland under our present status as part of the UK, and without disruption to Scotland's current fully integrated standing within the legal, economic, institutional, political and social framework of the EU.

We recognise that specific provisions will need to be included in the EU Treaties as part of the amendment process to ensure the principle of continuity of effect with respect to the terms and conditions of Scotland's independent EU membership, including detailed considerations around current opt-outs, in particular the rebate, Eurozone, Justice and Home Affairs and the Schengen travel area.

Scotland is likely to be a net financial contributor to the EU, subject to negotiation on issues such as the rebate and Scottish take up of EU funding programmes. The EU budget has been agreed until 2020. We see no reason for re-opening current budgetary agreements. Prior to 2020, we consider that the division of the share of the UK rebate would be a matter for negotiation between the Scottish and Westminster Governments.

Our intention to retain Sterling as the currency of an independent Scotland is based on an analysis of the potential impact of the alternative currency options on Scottish people and businesses, including the ease with which they can conduct their business with people and companies across the rest of the UK and beyond. While the Scottish Government recognises the political and economic objectives of the Eurozone, an independent Scotland will not seek, nor will we qualify for, membership of the Eurozone. Scotland's participation in the Sterling Area will not conflict with wider obligations under the EU treaties.

As Article 140 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) makes clear, an EU member state is only permitted to join the Eurozone and adopt the Euro as its currency if the "convergence criteria" have been met. These convergence criteria include:

  • inflation rate: the applicant country's inflation rate to be no more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the three lowest inflation member states of the EU
  • government finance: the applicant country ratio of annual deficit to GDP to be less than 3 per cent and ratio of gross debt to GDP to be less than 60 per cent
  • exchange rate: applicant countries must have been a member of the Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II) for two consecutive years and should not have devalued its currency during that period
  • long-term interest rates: the applicant country's nominal long-term interest rate must not be more than two percentage points higher than in the three lowest inflation member states

Under the TFEU a member state that fails any of these four tests will not be permitted to join the Eurozone.

It is important to note that the decision as to when, or if, to include a currency in the ERM II - a pre-condition for Eurozone membership - rests entirely with individual EU member states. The UK (and thus Scotland) is not a member of ERM II. If a national government decides not to join the ERM, as it is entitled to do, then by definition it cannot become eligible for membership of the Eurozone. Sweden is an example of an EU member state in this position - despite being an EU member since 1995, Sweden is not in the ERM II.

This Government will not seek membership of the Schengen area either. Instead, an independent Scotland will remain an integral part of the broader social union of close economic, social and cultural ties across the nations of the UK (including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) and Ireland. An essential part of this social union, and one that will be fully maintained with independence, is the free movement of nationals between Scotland and the rest of the UK and Ireland. There are no circumstances in which the Scottish Government would countenance any measure being taken that jeopardized the ability of citizens across the rest of the UK and Ireland to move freely across our borders as they are presently able to do. It is for this reason that following independence Scotland will remain part of the Common Travel Area (CTA), which dates back to the 1920s.

There are absolutely no grounds to believe that the EU would challenge Scotland remaining part of the CTA rather than joining the Schengen area. The EU has spent all of its 50 or so years of existence seeking to remove borders across the EU. The EU Treaties recognise that membership of the Common Travel Area is not compatible with membership of the Schengen area.

The current CTA between the UK and Ireland is based on administrative agreements, rather than binding treaty obligations to which an independent Scotland would succeed. These arrangements are reflected in the UK's immigration laws (and those of the Republic of Ireland) and could be replicated by an independent Scotland in due course. Within the CTA, an independent Scotland will work with the Westminster and Irish Governments to ensure that visa and immigration controls and practice meet certain shared standards. The detail of this would require negotiation but full harmonisation is not required; Ireland and the UK already operate different immigration systems within the Common Travel Area.

More generally, the Scottish Government will seek to retain the current flexibility to opt into new measures on Justice and Home Affairs. An independent Scotland will seek to participate wherever possible in new proposals, which can bring significant benefits to Scotland and the whole of the EU.

International policy

The choices open to us

An independent Scotland can emulate comparable countries with the most effective approach to international affairs: soundly based policies which enable the country to engage seriously and competitively in the world; rigorous priorities for our international focus; and the right external relationships to advance and protect our interests.

Countries of comparable size to Scotland take lead roles in international organisations. Sweden, New Zealand, Switzerland and Finland have all made significant global contributions to security, peace and reconciliation initiatives: New Zealand, for example, played a key role in the Oslo Process that banned cluster bombs and similar weapons. These nations capitalise on their soft power and build coalitions - normally informal and related to specific issues - to advance their objectives. The effectiveness of a coalition lies less in the sheer numbers involved and more in their ability to develop strong and sound arguments for negotiations.

There are inherent advantages in being a smaller, well-governed, independent state in a rapidly-changing world, with the ability to respond to developments and with the scale to bring national institutions and civic society together quickly if need be. By focusing our diplomatic efforts flexibly on key national priorities, Scotland will not require the same scale of diplomatic service as the UK currently maintains.

Focusing on issues and areas to achieve most impact will be fundamental to the success of Scotland's role on the international stage. In the fields of international development, human rights, climate change and climate justice, Scotland already has a well-established international reputation and a contribution to make that would be enhanced significantly with independence.

Our priorities for action

In an independent Scotland, this government would develop strong bilateral relations and play a full role in the international organisations that set the standards for trade, finance, health, labour relations and other key issues and support an international legal system that is a foundation for Scottish prosperity and security.

The main multilateral organisations such as the UN, WTO and OECD provide frameworks for negotiations which give nations a voice in decisions that are agreed and implemented internationally. International organisations provide strategic, political, economic and societal platforms for smaller countries[252].

Bilateral, or state-to-state, arrangements also continue to play their part in shaping a nation's foreign affairs. The UK's bilateral treaties cover a range of important matters such as mutual legal assistance in criminal matters or international conventions on terrorism.

Following a vote for independence Scotland will declare and notify our intention to assume responsibility for the UK's multilateral and bilateral treaties, where it is in Scotland's interest to do so. The Scottish Government expects that other parties to these treaties will welcome Scotland's intention to sign up to, and continue, these obligations. The UK itself has shown how entire treaty issues with newly independent states can be readily and speedily resolved. On the day of independence of the Czech Republic and Slovakia (1 January 1993) the UK wrote to both countries stating that the UK would regard all the bilateral UK - Czechoslovakia treaties as now continuing between the UK and the Czech Republic on the one hand and the UK and Slovakia on the other, with the substantive treaty provisions continuing to operate with both successor states as they had done previously with the predecessor state.

Scotland's membership of the EU will represent a key element of an independent Scotland's international relations and foreign and security policies. The EU provides a forum for discussions and agreement between member states on specific foreign policy questions, and collective action through the development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Common Security and Defence Policy, and the European External Action Service established under the Lisbon Treaty.

This Government plans that Scotland will be an active and committed participant in the Common Foreign and Security Policy. The EU's external policies support stability, promote human rights and democracy, seek to spread prosperity, and support the enforcement of the rule of law and good governance, complementing the foreign policy efforts of individual states. Scotland would benefit from this Europe-wide approach which is broadly aligned with Scotland's values.

Scotland will take its place as a member of the United Nations, working with like-minded countries to promote global issues of importance to the Scottish people, such as human rights and tackling climate change and to advance global development, including support to those countries most in need. The UN continues to form the basis for international co-operation, committed as it is to maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards and human rights.

Infographic showing Scotland as the 51st member of the United Nations

Scotland will also join NATO, which is the basis of security for the North Atlantic area. NATO membership is in Scotland's interests, and the interests of our neighbours, because it underpins effective conventional defence and security co‑operation.

Other key multi-national organisations Scotland will participate in include:

  • Council of Europe: best known for the European Court of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)
  • the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • World Trade Organisation (WTO)
  • the Commonwealth

Each of these organisations has its own procedure for membership. Scotland is already a member of them through the UK, and so already meets the essential requirements. Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will initiate steps to ensure Scotland's membership as an independent country as swiftly as possible.

This Government intends that Scotland will also seek a closer relationship with the Nordic Council of Ministers. Scotland has key shared interests with our geographical neighbours in the North Atlantic, such as Iceland and Norway, and a common interest in the Arctic and High North.

We plan to establish a network of overseas offices to represent Scotland's interests internationally, with a particular focus on promoting sustainable economic growth, participating in rules-based international co-operation and protecting Scotland's people and resources.

Scottish embassies will have five core functions:

  • commercial: to maximise commercial benefits for Scottish businesses, including an expansion of export and investment, and to assess strategic economic opportunities for Scotland and our economy
  • governmental: to ensure effective engagement with governments and other public institutions within the host state and to promote Scottish interests
  • cultural: to promote Scottish culture internationally and to engage with members of the Scottish diaspora
  • development: to ensure Scotland's international development priorities and commitments are being delivered
  • consular: to provide appropriate support for Scottish citizens, and where relevant other EU citizens, and deal with issues such as visa applications

There will be variation in the range and scale of services available in different locations. Some embassies will fulfil primarily a political or governmental function, for example our permanent representation within the EU, ScotRep.

The most significant investment of resources will be devoted to the development of commercial opportunities for Scotland in key markets overseas. Co-ordinated teams of trade experts and diplomats will represent Scottish interests, opening up markets and assisting Scottish businesses to expand internationally. Our world-class range of cultural activities will also support our activities in promoting Scotland.

The existing SDI network of 27 overseas offices provides a firm foundation for independent Scottish international representation. Over the past five years, SDI has increased Scotland's presence in emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia. This Government plans that the existing SDI network remains following independence, co-locating with the new diplomatic and consular services. Where SDI is currently located in a country but not in its capital city, a Scottish embassy or political mission would be established to supplement and complement the work of the trade offices.

Our planned initial locations will include: London; Beijing; Berlin; Brasilia; Canberra; Delhi; Dublin; Islamabad; Madrid; Moscow; Paris; Pretoria; Seoul; Tokyo; Warsaw; Washington and in view of the close historical and co-operation ties with Malawi, Lilongwe. Additional sites in Asia, the Middle East, South America, Africa and Europe will be identified.

Scotland's network of embassies will be supported in some countries, including the United States, Canada and China, by consulates. We will also appoint members of the Scottish diaspora and prominent local people as honorary consuls to represent Scottish interests in nations where there is no direct Scottish representation.

Our representation in the EU will be built on existing Scottish Government representation in Brussels. We will establish Scottish permanent representation to the UN and other multilateral organisations. By way of comparison, Ireland maintains permanent representation at the Council of Europe (Strasbourg), the OECD and UNESCO (served by the same office in Paris), the OSCE (Vienna), the UN (Geneva and New York), NATO Partnership for Peace (Brussels) and the EU (Brussels). Similar representation is maintained by Denmark and Finland.

Similar countries to Scotland (such as Denmark, Ireland, Finland, Slovakia and New Zealand) have between 50 and 100 overseas missions, and 1,100 to 2,700 staff. The Government estimates the running costs of our initial proposed network of 70 to 90 overseas offices at £90 million to £120 million. This is expected to be below Scotland's population share of the UK's total expenditure on overseas representation in 2016/17 giving opportunities for savings. Scotland would also be entitled to a fair share of the UK's assets.

Scotland will be willing to co-locate diplomatic missions with other nations, including, and in particular, with the rest of the UK in current premises. This is common practice internationally. The UK has arrangements with Canada under a Memorandum of Understanding and with other nations. Ireland and Denmark also use this approach successfully to provide support to their citizens overseas. For example, the Helsinki Treaty of Co‑operation between Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden provides for consular assistance[253]. Other nations also share some consular services, such as Australia and Canada.

In addition, an EU citizen has the right to request the consular or diplomatic protection of any other EU member state when in a non-EU country where his/her own member state is not represented by a permanent consular post or diplomatic mission.

International development

Our priorities for action

With a focus on working in partnership and achieving real and tangible outcomes on the ground, the Scottish Government's international development policy seeks to build upon the historical and contemporary relationships that exist between Scotland and the developing world. Scotland will seek to be a global leader in the field of international development, championing best practice and innovation. Being a global leader in international development is not necessarily just about the size of aid given in absolute monetary terms, but the impact that can be made across government policy. The provision of aid is one tool within international development and an independent Scotland would enshrine a legislative commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance.

Delivering a coherent approach to international development across all Scottish Government policies - crucially trade, environment, defence and finance - would be the key to success and global impact. The Scottish Government therefore has several key propositions that will guide our approach to development. They are:

  • More and better aid: The Scottish Government would meet from the point of independence, and thereafter maintain, the 0.7 per cent target, with an aspiration towards one per cent over time and ensure Scotland's aid is of high quality, including through appropriate geographical and thematic focus. The Government plans to introduce a legislative basis to ensure adherence to the 0.7 per cent target as a binding, statutory commitment
  • Debt relief: The Scottish Government will give careful consideration to the question of "unjust" debts; will work to ensure that Scottish export policies do not create new unjust debts; and support moves to establish Scotland as an international centre for debt arbitration
  • Gender equality: Gender equality and the empowerment of women are Millennium Development Goals in their own right. They are also critical to the delivery of other key development goals including in education and health. An independent Scotland will put gender equality at the heart of our development work
  • Do No Harm - ensuring policy coherence: As an expression of the values driving our foreign policy, this Government will ensure that other Scottish Government policies do no harm to developing countries, do not undermine international development aims and ideally contribute to international development success - through a rigorous approach to policy coherence for development. A key example of this approach is that our Climate Justice Fund and our International Development Fund are being developed and implemented within and across Government, providing a streamlined approach to both international development and climate change

Scotland's international development programme will be delivered as part of an integrated approach to international relations. However, we will not allow commercial or other considerations, including military considerations, to influence our approach improperly.

Development sections within Scottish overseas offices will ensure effective delivery of programmes supported by the people of Scotland and will work closely with Scotland's private and third sectors, and our civil society partners, to maximise the impact of both governmental and non-governmental efforts.

The Scottish Government intends under independence to work with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) to ensure that there is a smooth transition phase for programmes on the ground in developing countries. There will be continued support, where appropriate, to those DFID programmes which span the independence period to avoid any sudden disruption to those programmes and their recipients. International development is just one of the areas where future Scottish and Westminster governments can choose to work together to complement each other's activity. Scotland is also likely to be a significant donor to multilateral organisations reflecting similar priorities as the UK in this area.


Why we need a new approach

Improving the way defence is delivered in and for Scotland is one of the most pressing reasons for independence.

For decades we have been part of a Westminster system that has sought to project global power, giving Britain the capacity to engage in overseas military interventions and to deploy nuclear weapons.

Scotland has been home to one of the largest concentrations of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world, despite consistent and clear opposition from across civic Scotland, our churches, trade unions and a clear majority of our elected politicians[254]. Billions of pounds have been wasted to date on weapons that must never be used and, unless we act now, we risk wasting a further £100 billion, over its lifetime, on a new nuclear weapons system. Trident is an affront to basic decency with its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power.

Westminster's commitment to nuclear weapons leaves other aspects of our defence weakened. Costs for the successor to Trident are to be met from within the defence budget, taking money from conventional equipment and levels of service personnel. The Royal Navy will have two new aircraft carriers years before it has the aircraft to put on them. Cost overruns are endemic and major projects have been significantly delayed. Scotland can do better.

In Scotland, the adverse consequences of Westminster's defence policies have been felt in many ways.

  • the latest figure for defence spending in Scotland (2007/08)[255] is £1.4 billion less than Scotland's current contribution of £3.3 billion to UK defence and security budgets[256]. With independence Scotland's defence spending will not only provide Scotland's security, but will increase economic benefits and employment on which Scotland currently misses out
  • in March 2013 the Westminster Government announced that only 600 more Armed Forces personnel would be based in Scotland by 2020[257] - a fraction of the significant increase promised by the MOD in July 2011[258]
  • the RAF base at Leuchars will cease flying operations in autumn 2014. Craigiehall, outside Edinburgh, the former Army Headquarters in Scotland, has been earmarked for disposal, and Forthside in Stirling and Redford Barracks in Edinburgh will at least partially close
  • Scotland is a maritime nation and yet the UK has no maritime patrol aircraft and no major surface ships are based in Scotland. There is greater risk to safety and security in Scotland's airspace and waters as a result
  • Ministry of Defence employment - civilian and service - in Scotland has fallen from 24,680 in 2000 to 15,340 in 2013, a proportionately larger fall than across the UK as a whole. Consequently, Scotland's share of UK-based Ministry of Defence personnel has fallen from 9.2 per cent to 7.5 per cent over this period[259]

The Westminster Government suggests that we need Britain for our defence, but the reality is very different. Scotland has been failed by decades of poor decisions. So we now have weapons that we do not need - like Trident - and lack assets that we do need - like maritime patrol aircraft.

An independent Scotland can follow the path of similar independent nations and make our own contribution to collective defence arrangements which, as part of NATO, far surpass any security that is offered by Britain alone.

The opportunities available to Scotland

An independent Scotland will have the opportunity to decide our own defence priorities to ensure our security, in partnership with our allies and within the wider international community. It will be the people of Scotland, through our Parliament, who will decide whether or not our young men and women are sent to war and we can choose, through our written constitution, to put in place safeguards to ensure that Scottish forces will only ever participate in military activity that is internationally recognised as lawful and in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter.

The flexibility that being a small state can bring will mean that Scotland can take an integrated approach to national security, with our defence capabilities playing a role alongside other areas of government.

We have in existing naval, army and air force bases the underpinning infrastructure we need to meet our defence needs and regional defence responsibilities. We also have sufficient expertise, built up over years of service and Scotland's proud military tradition, with Scots who have served at all levels of Britain's armed forces and at senior levels in the Ministry of Defence and NATO.

We will inherit a share of existing UK defence assets, giving us most of the equipment we need to establish Scotland's defence forces in the immediate post-independence period. The division of assets and liabilities will of course need to be negotiated. However, by way of indication, in 2007 the Ministry of Defence estimated the total value of its assets and investments[260] at just under £93 billion. A Scottish share based on population would be around £7.8 billion.

By making different choices on nuclear weapons and global reach we can save a substantial proportion of Scotland's current defence contribution to the UK, while still having levels of defence spending that allow us to deliver the capabilities we need. Within this budget allocation will be significant investment in procurement, which can support key Scottish industries including the shipbuilding industry.

A new and more appropriate level of defence spending will also free up valuable resources for investment in other national priorities. It will give Scotland an independence defence dividend that can be used to improve our approach in areas of social policy.

The Scotland we can create

With independence, therefore, we can create the most appropriate domestic defence for Scotland, one that sees us fulfilling both our international responsibilities and the commitment we have to the security and safety of people living in Scotland. We can create an approach to defence that positions us as partners for peace in the wider world.

With independence, future governments can choose to equip Scotland with specific, specialist capabilities, allowing us to develop particular expertise that adds value for our allies: for example allowing Scotland to take on a role in internationally sanctioned peace-keeping or peace-making operations.

While the UK approach has left significant gaps in our defence capabilities, in particular in relation to maritime protection and reconnaissance, with independence we can, once again, make an effective contribution to regional defence in recognition of our important strategic position in the North Atlantic.

The choices open to us

Defence capability will be an important part of the mix of responses available to an independent Scotland in addressing opportunities, threat and risks. At the point of independence the Scottish Government proposes that there will be core Scottish defence capabilities to contribute to this task and fully protect Scotland and our people. Priorities for the further development of Scotland's defence and security capabilities should be refined following the strategic review of security undertaken by the first elected parliament and government of an independent Scotland.

The Scottish Government believes that these key roles for Scotland defence forces, working closely with partners and other parts of government, should be considered in depth in the security review:

  • securing Scotland's borders, land, airspace and sea, deterring attacks and protecting our citizens and assets from threat
  • protecting Scotland's national interests and economic wellbeing, alongside the key values and underlying principles that support Scottish society and our way of life. This task would include supporting other parts of government, for example in natural disasters or other emergencies
  • contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights, the rule of law, democratic values, international peace and security, building on Scotland's national interests by being a progressive voice in the world

Our priorities for action

Scotland's defence and security policy will be a key part of wider international policy, protecting Scotland's interests through a strategic approach to national security, and providing military capability to defend our national interest. We will take our own decisions about involvement in military action, while continuing to make a full contribution to our own defence and that of our allies.

Scotland will be part of collective defence arrangements, giving the people of Scotland the same security guarantees that they enjoy today. Within this framework of mutual defence we will be able to deliver a more responsible defence posture better suited to Scotland's strategic needs and interests. Improved parliamentary oversight of defence and long-term, consensus-based arrangements for strategic planning can mean that spending is based on sound decisions. Our approach will mean substantial savings on defence spending, continued investment in Scotland's defence industries and the basing of Scottish service personnel closer to their families and homes.

The current Scottish Government has identified five defence priorities for an independent Scotland:

  • maintaining the commitment to a budget for defence and security in an independent Scotland of £2.5 billion
  • securing the speediest safe withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Scotland
  • building a focus on maritime capabilities, such as air and sea-based patrol, and specialist forces able to operate around our coasts, protecting Scotland's maritime assets and contributing to collective security in the North Atlantic
  • progressively building to a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel over the 10 years following independence
  • reconfiguring the defence estate inherited at the point of independence to meet Scotland's needs, including the transition of Faslane to a conventional naval base and joint headquarters of Scottish defence forces

This Scottish Government envisages a phased approach to reaching the level of Scottish defence forces set out above. This will be achieved through a staged process involving 7,500 regular and 2,000 reserve personnel at the point of independence, rising to around 10,000 regulars and 3,500 reserves by the end of the five years following independence, subject to consideration in the strategic defence review. The final force levels will provide capacity for Scotland to make enhanced contributions to international partnership operations.

The units of the Scottish Army will carry on the names, identities and traditions of Scotland's regiments, including those lost in the defence reorganisation of 2006.

This level of defence capability will require the continued operation of all current major military bases in Scotland. In particular Faslane will become the main operating base for the Scottish Navy, and the headquarters for the Scottish defence forces as a whole.

Following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will immediately start to put in place defence capabilities to meet Scotland's needs on independence, and to provide the foundations to develop these capabilities in line with the outcome of the strategic review. The priorities in the period between the referendum and independence day, will include:

  • establishing a military staff to advise the Scottish Government in the transition and the development of appropriate defence capabilities
  • putting in place joint arrangements with the Westminster Government to identify and transfer units and personnel wishing to serve in Scottish defence forces
  • identifying, in negotiation with the rest of the UK, a first tranche of defence assets and bases to transfer to Scottish defence forces, pending wider agreement

Effective joint agreements will be of particular importance to both Scotland and the rest of the UK in the transitional period following independence. It will be in the interests of both countries to ensure arrangements are taken forward in an orderly and secure manner. This approach will retain for the transitional period some integrated services for the security of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

By independence day, the Scottish Government will have in place a core set of military capabilities from which it will then build. That will include a number of military units (air, land and sea-based) under Scottish Government control.

The process of transition will be based on negotiated agreement between the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government. The Scottish Government expects that both governments will act responsibly and that over time the number of personnel from the rest of the UK based in Scotland will decline while Scottish personnel numbers rise.

Scotland's defence forces

The Scottish Government has carried out an initial assessment of forces levels in the years following independence[261].

Defence capabilities at the point of independence

Maritime forces

One naval squadron to secure Scotland's maritime interests and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and contribute to joint capability with partners in Scotland's geographical neighbourhood, consisting of:

  • two frigates from the Royal Navy's current fleet
  • a command platform for naval operations and development of specialist marine capabilities (from the Royal Navy's current fleet, following adaptation)
  • four mine counter measure vessels from the Royal Navy's current fleet
  • two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to provide security for the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, as the Royal Navy only has four OPVs currently[262], a longer lead time for procurement might be necessary
  • four to six patrol boats from the Royal Navy's current fleet, capable of operating in coastal waters, providing fleet protection and also contributing to securing borders
  • auxiliary support ships (providing support to vessels on operations), which could be secured on a shared basis initially with the rest of the UK

These arrangements will require around 2,000 regular and at least 200 reserve personnel.

Land forces

An army HQ function and an all-arms brigade, with three infantry/marine units, equipped initially from a negotiated share of current UK assets, and supported by:

  • a deployable Brigade HQ
  • two light armoured reconnaissance units
  • two light artillery units
  • one engineer unit deploying a range of equipment for bridging, mine clearance and engineering functions
  • one aviation unit operating six helicopters for reconnaissance and liaison
  • two communication units
  • one transport unit
  • one logistics unit
  • one medical unit

Special forces, explosives and ordnance disposal teams will bring the total to around 3,500 regular and at least 1,200 reserve personnel.

Air forces

Key elements of air forces in place at independence, equipped initially from a negotiated share of current UK assets, will secure core tasks, principally the ability to police Scotland's airspace, within NATO.

  • an Air Force HQ function (with staff embedded within NATO structures)
  • Scotland will remain part of NATO's integrated Air Command and Control (AC2) system, initially through agreement with allies to maintain the current arrangements while Scotland establishes and develops our own AC2 personnel and facility within Scotland within five years of independence
  • a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) squadron incorporating a minimum of 12 Typhoon jets based at Lossiemouth
  • a tactical air transport squadron, including around six Hercules C130J aircraft, and a helicopter squadron
  • flight training through joint arrangements with allies

In total this would require around 2,000 regular personnel and around 300 reserve personnel.

Civilian support

In addition to military capability following a vote for independence, the Scottish Government will establish core government capacity for defence functions, such as strategic planning, oversight and policy functions for defence and security. Given the importance of ongoing shared security interests between Scotland and the rest of the UK, we will ensure a partnership approach during the period of transition to independence.

Following a vote for independence, priorities for the Scottish Government capacity dealing with defence will be planning for the strategic security review to be carried out by the first Scottish Parliament following independence, based on the most recent UK National Risk Assessment and input from Scottish experts and academic institutions.

Defence capabilities five years after independence

Further development of Scotland's defence and security capabilities will be decided following the strategic review of security undertaken by the first elected Parliament and government of an independent Scotland.

However the current Scottish Government believes that the following elements should be prioritised for delivery as early as possible in the first five years following independence, building on the forces in place at independence:

Maritime forces

A second naval squadron to contribute to NATO and other operations outside home waters, incorporating the naval command platform, and a further two frigates with tanker and support ship capacity.

Overall the model would involve around 2,400 regular and at least 270 reserve personnel. While most of the personnel would be required by the five year point, this model envisages increases continuing through the first ten years following independence (due to procurement of new Scottish naval vessels).

Land forces

Developing the All Arms brigade's capabilities to include:

  • increases to strengths of the three infantry battalions (to a combined total of 1,500 regular and 300 reserve personnel)
  • upgrading of the light armour, artillery, aviation and medical units
  • increasing the strength of the special forces unit
  • increasing the number of personnel deployed to conflict prevention, disarmament and defence diplomacy

Overall, this would entail an increase in numbers, over the years following independence, to around 4,700 regular and at least 1,110 reserve personnel.

Air forces

Increasing the fast jet fleet of Typhoons potentially up to 16 aircraft which would enable Scotland to contribute to alliance operations overseas.

Increasing the Scottish contribution to capabilities for air defence, as part of an integrated system within NATO.

At present, the UK has no maritime patrol aircraft. During this period options for procurement will be taken forward and airborne maritime patrol capability delivered. A detailed specification of requirement will be developed as a priority and final numbers of aircraft required will depend on this. However, the numbers maintained by comparable nations suggests a potential fleet of four.

Development across all of those areas would entail an overall increase in numbers to around 3,250 regular and at least 300 reserve personnel.

Defence capabilities after 10 years

This Government plans that, 10 years after independence, Scotland will have a total of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel across land, air and maritime forces.

Service personnel and veterans

The Scottish Government respects the service of current personnel. We will ensure that all current service personnel will be eligible for a post in the Scottish defence forces, though they will not need to take it up.

All service personnel will have the reassurance that they will not face compulsory redundancy during their service contract. This Scottish Government would examine how the terms and conditions of service personnel could be improved, for example through the official representation of service personnel.

Where whole or part of units are identified for transfer to Scottish defence forces, the Scottish Government will ensure that all current UK service personnel within those units can remain with them for at least a transitional period, where they wish to do so. A similar approach will be followed for reserve personnel and the important role of cadet forces will also be maintained.

The aim will be a phased and responsible approach to the position of those currently serving in the UK armed forces who might wish to transfer to Scottish defence forces. Some may transfer immediately, while others would continue in their current role. It is our intention that terms and conditions remain harmonised through this period. Any sensible approach would recognise that, at the end of that process, it is highly likely that citizens from the rest of the UK, Ireland and from other Commonwealth countries would be serving in an independent Scotland's defence forces. Though it would ultimately be a decision for the rest of the UK, we also expect that Scottish citizens will continue to serve in UK forces if they wish to, as citizens of Ireland and the Commonwealth do.

Reserve personnel make a valuable contribution to defence capability and will do so in an independent Scotland. Our proposals include a baseline requirement for around 1,700 reserve personnel at the point of independence. However as there are currently an estimated 2,200 trained reserve personnel in Scotland[263], it would be both feasible and desirable to increase numbers beyond the baseline that requirement suggests, in order to build flexibility and enhance capability. In the longer term the Government envisages the reserve force building to 5,000 personnel after 10 years.

Scotland and the rest of the UK will also continue to owe the same debt of gratitude to veterans who have served in the past. The Scottish Government will build on our existing strong record in this area to ensure that veterans continue to access the services and benefits that they are entitled to. This will include full service pensions and pension entitlement, following agreement with the Westminster Government.

Defence infrastructure

The transitional period will also include continued arrangements for the use of defence infrastructure in Scotland by UK forces and vice versa. The Scottish Government will protect the bases inherited at the point of independence and we expect that, over time, the main military facilities in Scotland will be used by Scottish defence forces. This transitional period would allow for appropriate planning, including for the continuation of shared basing into the longer term where that was in the best interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK.

While details will be negotiated with the rest of the UK, the Scottish Government currently envisages that:

  • current and envisaged major army facilities will continue to be needed at Kinloss, Leuchars, Glencorse, Fort George, Dreghorn and the elements of Redford to be retained by the UK Ministry of Defence
  • in addition there will be a need to consider where additional air assets, not currently located in Scotland, might operate from. Given the retention of the runway at Leuchars, the Scottish Government would envisage air operations being reinstated there, alongside an army presence
  • Faslane will be retained as the main naval base for an independent Scotland. In addition it will be the location for the joint headquarters of the Scottish defence forces. Options will be considered for re-instating Rosyth as a supporting naval base, alongside its current industrial uses
  • given that the transfer of Typhoons from Leuchars will have been largely completed before the referendum, Lossiemouth will continue to be a main operating base for fast jet aircraft and Scotland's air policing capability. The Scottish Government will negotiate with the Westminster Government to establish the joint facilities it would be in the interests of both countries to maintain there

The transition of Faslane from a submarine base to Scotland's main naval base and joint force headquarters will be managed gradually: personnel and equipment will be brought into the Scottish defence forces and infrastructure will be developed, while the personnel and equipment remaining within the Royal Navy are relocated by the Ministry of Defence.

The Scottish Government intends the transition to be complete within ten years[264]. The transitional arrangements will support both the day to day operations and the workforce levels at the base. We will retain the capacity for shared arrangements with the rest of the UK and other allies, recognising Faslane's excellent deep water facilities and its geographical position.

There are currently 6,700 military and civilian jobs at HMNB Clyde[265]. Through its role as a main conventional naval base and Joint Forces HQ, this Scottish Government expects that, at the conclusion of transitional arrangements, the number of Scottish military personnel at Faslane will approximately match military numbers there currently. Those military personnel will be supported by a significant number of civilian personnel. During the transitional period large numbers of personnel from the rest of the UK will also be based there. In addition, work to reconfigure Faslane as a conventional naval base is expected to involve major construction activity, and related jobs, in the area.

There are a range of other defence facilities around Scotland used by NATO and the UK, such as the weapon ranges in the Hebrides and the training area around Cape Wrath. The Scottish Government expects these to continue to be used after independence, following discussions with the rest of the UK and allies.

The negotiation of shared arrangements as a transitional measure would not preclude such arrangements being carried forward into the longer term, where both the rest of the UK and Scotland considered them the most effective means of delivering defence capabilities.

Negotiations on the maintenance of shared capabilities would not include nuclear weapons. This Scottish Government would make early agreement on the speediest safe removal of nuclear weapons a priority. This would be with a view to the removal of Trident within the first term of the Scottish Parliament following independence.

The detailed process and timetable for removal would be a priority for negotiation between the Scottish Government and the Westminster Government. However we have noted the work undertaken by the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), which suggests that Trident could be dismantled within two years[266].

The Scottish Government plans to explore the potential for Scotland's defence industry capabilities to diversify into other activities. For example, in a report in 2007 the STUC and CND noted that "many of the skills currently used to maintain Trident would be directly relevant to renewables[267]" and the report highlighted the advantages the Lower Clyde area offers such activity. The Scottish Government's work will therefore focus on the potential offered by energy, particularly marine renewables, although it will also examine other aspects of defence diversification, for example those relevant to the shipbuilding industry. The research and development capacity of Scotland's defence industries offers the opportunity to boost Scotland's business R&D. Other comparable countries have much higher levels of R&D activity (a key driver of economic growth). Finland, for example, uses an innovation agency as its primary tool for R&D activity. Defence diversification could play an important role in Scotland's future industrial strategy.

Scotland's defence industries

Scotland's defence industries are an important source of employment and provide high quality defence products to the UK armed forces and more widely. If in government in an independent Scotland the Scottish Government will work with defence industries to support their continued growth and to meet Scotland's own defence needs.

Scotland will ensure our defence budget is utilised to:

  • support the procurement of equipment and services in Scotland, where consistent with European procurement rules
  • support defence-related R&D, innovation and design
  • support small and medium enterprises in particular to expand their marketing effort internationally
  • develop a clear role for each government department and agency in areas such as licensing, accreditation and dual‑use

This Scottish Government expects that the proportion of the budget allocated for procurement of single use military equipment[268] will be at least equivalent to that currently allocated by the Westminster Government (14 per cent in 2012/13). In the first term of the independent Scottish Parliament we expect personnel numbers in Scottish defence forces to be steadily increasing. Therefore during this period personnel costs would initially be lower and it would be possible to boost the proportion of the budget allocated to procurement over the first part of that period.

The Scottish Government regards support for our shipbuilding industry as a priority given our focus on maritime defence capabilities. Whilst keeping within EU procurement requirements, the Scottish Government will protect the future of Scotland's shipyards and maintain capabilities important to our long-term interests.

This Scottish Government will take forward the procurement of four new frigates, to be built on the Clyde, preferably through joint procurement with the rest of the UK. Two of these will be ordered in the first parliamentary term of independence and, when built, will bring the number of frigates in the Scottish navy to four (the two new frigates as well as the inherited Type 23s). The Scottish Government believes that is the appropriate number of frigates in the longer term, and will order the further two frigates in time to replace the Type 23s when they are retired from service.

Recent Westminster decisions have demonstrated the importance of Scotland's shipbuilding industry to the Royal Navy. The Ministry of Defence has also shown that it is keen to develop opportunities for joint procurement and there are strong reasons why both the Scottish and Westminster Governments would want to explore the potential for joint procurement of future naval vessels.

We also plan to prioritise procurement within the first five years of maritime patrol aircraft, based on a detailed specification of need (the numbers maintained by comparable nations suggests a potential fleet of four). Depending on negotiation with the rest of the UK on division of assets, further procurement needs will have to be addressed, including for offshore patrol vessels.

In an independent Scotland, we will, where appropriate, work with the Scottish defence industry to deliver identified Scottish defence capability requirements. Scotland would seek to work in partnership, build the necessary alliances and align our defence requirements with the collective needs and priorities of NATO allies, including the rest of the UK.

Joint procurement is in the interests of Scotland and the rest of the UK[269], preserving the strengths of defence industries around the whole of the UK. Joint orders would maintain the expected numbers of jobs in the defence industries sector, including shipbuilding, and support companies as they seek to expand their business internationally.

The EU Defence Procurement Directive aims to open up the defence equipment market to competition and to contribute towards the development of an efficient European market for defence equipment. Whilst EU law allows an exemption from the requirement for open competition in certain, very limited, circumstances related to national security, it should be the exception not the norm.

Outwith Europe, Scotland will also build bilateral defence and security relationships with a range of key partners and on a range of security issues. These countries will also provide potential markets for Scotland's defence industries.

International partnerships

As the government of an independent Scotland we will be committed to working in partnership and through alliances. Scotland will be a part of key defence organisations, such as NATO, OSCE and the EU. The defence and security relationship with the rest of the UK will be fundamentally important, both for the rest of the UK and for Scotland.

Scotland will also explore flexible, shared arrangements for delivery of defence and security with our neighbours and partners. Again, the rest of the UK would be an essential, but not exclusive, element in this.

Following a Yes vote in 2014, the Scottish Government will notify NATO of our intention to join the alliance and will negotiate our transition from being a NATO member as part of the UK to becoming an independent member of the alliance.

The basic premise of NATO is that all members must make an active commitment to the alliance and Scotland would recognise and play our full part in building collective security and capability. Scotland's geographical position and strong national interest in being able to robustly monitor and protect our maritime environment will be a key part in the contribution we make to the alliance. Scotland also provides an important range of training areas and other facilities that are actively used by NATO members.

Membership of NATO will be in the interests of Scotland, the rest of the UK and other NATO members. Scotland occupies an important place in regional security arrangements that NATO members enjoy. While recognising that Scotland's membership requires discussion and agreement by NATO members, it will be in the interests of Scotland and other members of the alliance to secure an independent Scotland's membership in the period between the referendum and independence. Most importantly for Scotland and our neighbours, failure to reach an agreement would leave a gap in existing NATO security arrangements in north west Europe.

Scotland would take its place as one of the many non-nuclear members of NATO. The Scottish Government is committed to securing the complete withdrawal of Trident from an independent Scotland as quickly as can be both safely and responsibly achieved.

Constitutional guarantees

Only independence will enable Scotland to play a full role working within and alongside the international community in creating the conditions for nuclear disarmament. The development of a written constitution for Scotland would also provide the opportunity to include a constitutional ban on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland.

Many countries around the world place constitutional controls on the use of military power. Our view is that Scotland's constitution should include a 'triple lock' on military deployments, based on the principles that military action would need to be:

  • in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter
  • properly agreed by the Scottish Government
  • approved by the Scottish Parliament

This will not conflict with the right to act immediately and legitimately in self-defence in extraordinary circumstances, such as when attacked, as recognised in the UN Charter. This position is consistent with NATO's Article 5 commitment to collective defence.

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