A nordic model for Scotland? Scottish-UK relations after independence

Reports & Briefings
Nicola McEwen

Nicola McEwen

Key Points

  • Existing UK intergovernmental forums would be insufficient to manage Scottish-rUK intergovernmental relations if the Scottish government’s independence vision was realised.
  • The Nordic example illustrates that intergovernmental cooperation, formal and informal, between neighbouring sovereign states is commonplace in many policy areas. Formal cooperation is most evident where it produces clear ‘added value’ for each party.
  • Formal structures of intergovernmental cooperation nurture policy learning and encourage the networking that facilitates informal cooperation, but senior official and ministerial buy-in can be difficult to secure.
  • European integration has limited the incentive for separate Nordic cooperation initiatives, though Nordic governments continue to cooperate over the implementation of EU directives. The Nordic countries do not usually act as a cohesive regional bloc in the EU – national interests prevail.
  • Intergovernmental coordination among the Nordic countries offers useful insights for Scottish-rUK relations in the event of independence, but the Nordic Council and Nordic Council of Ministers offer limited opportunities for an independent Scotland, either for direct engagement or as a model for Scottish-rUK cooperation.
McEwen_NordicIGR.pdf (243.21 KB, application/pdf)