NICOLA Sturgeon has announced her plan to hold indyref in October 2023 – explaining that she will instead use the next General Election as a de-facto referendum if the Supreme Court says Holyrood can’t legally do so without Westminster’s consent.

As a key part of the SNP’s independence push involves rejoining the EU as an independent country, The National had a look at how the announcement was received in a handful of EU nations.


In Le Monde, one of the top French newspapers with a daily circulation of more than 350,000, Nicola Sturgeon was described as “precise and ultra-determined” as the journalist explained the path forward to indyref2.

The publication explained the route the Scottish Government intends to take simply, telling readers that the vote would only go ahead if deemed to be legal – assuring them that the ballot would not be like the Catalan referendum of 2017.

“The head of the Scottish executive for almost eight years has been trying to break an impasse: the government of Boris Johnson has repeated in all tones for the past two years that it will not authorise a new referendum on Scotland and that that of 2014 ‘is valid for a generation’,” Le Monde told readers.

The National:


In El Pais, the Madrid-based Spanish paper which is the country’s second-largest, the Supreme Court challenge is described as what could be the “UK’s most intense legal and political battle for the next year and a half”.

It notes that while the Yes movement failed to win in 2014, Brexit followed that – and was a “stab in the back for many Scots who voted overwhelmingly against it, and who had been threatened two years earlier with an irremediable and painful exit from the EU if they opted for secession”.

The National:

El Pais adds that the pandemic also put distance between Westminster and Holyrood, as it showed a major public image difference between “an apparently serious and effective Sturgeon, and a negligent and irresponsible Johnson for many of his critics”.

The SNP’s record win in the 2021 Holyrood election was also referred to.

The Spanish publication also states that unlike in Catalonia, Sturgeon is determined to host a “legal and constitutional” vote.


The article on Sturgeon’s announcement in Catalonia’s El Nacional starts with the simple sentence: “Scotland has taken the initiative”.

It features the quote from the First Minister that Scotland cannot “allow its democracy to be ‘imprisoned’" by Boris Johnson, and reminds readers of the SNP’s 47.7% vote share at the 2021 election.

El Nacional makes clear that Westminster has repeatedly refused to allow a Section 30 order to go ahead, writing: “So far, Johnson has given little more than a flat refusal, and last weekend the British secretary of state for Scotland warned in a BBC interview that ‘everything related to constitutional affairs is reserved for the British Parliament’”.


In Der Spiegel, Germany’s largest news website, readers are told that Scotland was opposed to Brexit – and those who back the EU hope “the situation will change if there is another vote”.

“Sturgeon said she was not willing to let Scottish democracy be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any other Prime Minister. Johnson and his Conservative Party oppose another referendum on independence, saying the issue was decided in the 2014 vote,” it reads.

READ MORE: Scottish people share values and attitudes with our fellow Europeans

The article does note that recent opinion polls have not shown a majority for Yes.

A similar article appears in Die Welt, another large German news title.


La Repubblica, an Italian news publication with a daily circulation of more than 300,000, is not sure that the October 19, 2023, vote will go ahead because the situation is “very complicated”.

However, it states that Sturgeon’s strategy is “putting more and more pressure on Johnson, whose popularity in Scotland is at its lowest”.


In the Norwegian Aftenposten title, the country’s largest printed newspaper, readers are told that Scotland has declared its desire for a new independence referendum.

“Sturgeon has argued that the landscape has changed over the last eight years, especially due to Brexit. A majority of Scots wanted to remain in the EU,” the article states.


Denmark’s biggest newspaper Berlingske – which is also among the oldest newspapers in the world – tells its readers that the SNP argue that the situation in the UK post-Brexit is “completely different”, despite the 2014 result.

Have you seen any interesting European coverage of the latest indy news? Let us know in the comments.