The European Union, or EU, welcomed Scotland’s vote to reject separation from the United Kingdom in Thursday’s referendum, where a "Yes" result, many worried, would set an undesirable precedent and destabilize the region.
"I welcome the decision of the Scottish people to maintain the unity of the United Kingdom. This outcome is good for the united, open and stronger Europe that the European Commission stands for,” José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, said in a statement on the EU’s official website. “The European Commission will continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Scottish Government, in areas under its responsibility, that are important to Scotland's future including jobs and growth, energy, climate change and the environment, and smarter regulation."
Fifty-five percent of Scottish voters chose to remain in the UK while 45 percent opted for independence in a referendum that saw almost 85 percent of the nation’s five million people vote.
Katrin Göring-Eckhardt, parliamentary leader of the German Green Party, said, according to BBC: "The No victory is a huge relief for me. It prevents a further fragmentation of Europe. But the close race shows that people want more participation."
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, in a post on the BBC’s website, said: "The ‘No’ vote was a “sound decision,” adding: “I believe that, in a time when sticking together has proven its worth in meeting the challenges we are facing in all walks of life, this is a sound decision.”
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in his post on the BBC, said he respected the Scottish people’s choice. “I am confident that the United Kingdom will continue to play a leading role to keep our alliance strong.”
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, where Catalonia’s pro-independence faction has drawn inspiration from the Scottish referendum, said it was the best result for Europe, in a video posted on the Spanish government’s official website, according to a Reuters report.
"The Scottish have avoided serious economic, social, institutional and political consequences," Reuters cited Rajoy as saying on Friday. "They have chosen the most favorable option for everyone; for themselves, for all of Britain and for the rest of EU.”
The Spanish government has termed unconstitutional a Nov. 9 referendum that Catalonia is looking to conduct. The Catalan regional government is expected to decide on approving a bill Friday, which would allow the referendum to be held.
Significant pro-independence movements exist in other regions including Basque, also in Spain, Flanders in Belgium, and Veneto in Italy.