EDINBURGH - Scotland takes a big step on its path towards an
independence referendum on Monday when its leader meets Britain's prime minister
to finalize arrangements for a vote which could lead to the demise of Scotland's
three-centuries-old union with England.
Scotland's drive for sovereignty,
led by its nationalist leader Alex Salmond, echoes separatist moves by other
European regions such as Catalonia and Flanders at a time when a crisis-hit
European Union undergoes deep changes to its identity.
Expected to be
signed in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, the deal will allow Scotland to
decide in a 2014 referendum whether it should become an independent country or
stay within the United Kingdom.