Global Risk Insights

Scotland will hold a referendum in 2014 to allow its people to choose whether they wish to stay in the United Kingdom or become an independent nation. If the majority of Scotland were to vote yes, a complex set of negotiations with the UK on the single market and other issues such as defense would ensue.

Catalonia’s referendum on the other hand would be framed within the Spanish constitutional structure, which does not allow for secession. If the Catalans were to choose to become independent, a second referendum would probably be required at the national level, which in all likelihood would result in a majority vote against Catalan independence. Another possibility would be to try to change the Spanish constitution.

Either way, Catalans might be willing to exert pressure on the process through social unrest. Both Scotland and Catalonia have a visceral attachment to their independent identities. With the prospect…

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