Senior European diplomat says independent Scotland ‘better for its citizens’

A leading European diplomat has said that an independent Scotland could "live comfortably" within the EU and such an outcome would be "better for its citizens".

Robert Cooper, has helped draw up European policy on strategy, security and foreign affairs since moving from London to Brussels in 2002.

Writing in the December edition of the political magazine Eurozine, Mr Cooper forecasts that regions such as Flanders and Catalonia will follow Scotland in pressing for independence.

He says the EU been so successful in creating an environment in which small states can live comfortably that other countries and regions gaining independence may become a pattern of the future.

Mr Cooper adds:

"This should not be a surprise since, for most purposes, small states are better than big states: more intimate, more cohesive, closer to the citizen. Only two things make big states desirable: the security of a big army and the prosperity of a big market.

"The EU has provided the second while enabling small states to flourish and to have a voice in making the rules to run it."

Mr Cooper says that "small states are pleasant for their citizens" and that in his experience more "problems come from large states than small ones".

Yes Scotland's chief executive, Blair Jenkins, said: "We are often being asked whether Scotland is big enough to be independent. My answer is a resounding 'Absolutely.'

"When I hear 'No' politicians say Scotland is not big enough, strong enough or clever enough to grow and prosper as an independent country, I wonder what that says about their faith - or lack of it - in the Scottish people. I have no doubts on that front.

"Of roughly 200 independent countries, around half are smaller than Scotland. Indeed, many of the wealthiest countries are smaller in size to Scotland. Scotland, too, would be a wealthy country - the sixth richest in the industrialised world in terms of wealth per head of population, based on figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

"In terms of well-being, half the top 20 countries on the Human Development Index have populations of less than 10 million, including five that are smaller than Scotland."

Economy, International