Scottish Independence Could Spur Catalonia and European Nationalist Groups to Breakaway: Protesters hold up a large Catalan independence flag Reuters

Nomura's influential senior political analyst has revealed in his latest report that the "mere presence" of a Scottish referendum is encouraging European nationalist groups to push harder for independence.

According to Alastair Newton's latest analysis, the recent shift in opinion polls, in favour of independence, may act as a 'wake-up' call for the unionists and, especially if, the recent developments at the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) conference adds further to pro-independence momentum.

"Whatever the outcome of Scotland's referendum, the mere fact of it taking place is likely, in my view, to continue to weigh on the thinking of separatists in Catalonia," said Newton.

"However, I think a vote in Scotland in favour of independence would encourage Catalonia to press its case still harder. And, possibly, spur other nationalist groups in Europe and more widely to focus more intently on their own "hopes and dreams".

Scots will vote in an independence referendum on 18 September on a straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Although support for an independent Scotland is still trailing the unionist vote, the pro-independence lobby does have momentum as the gap closes from double-digit to around five percentage points in some polls.

"The polls in Scotland, it is true, show the unionists still hold the lead. Surveys of committed voters suggest support for the nationalist Yes campaign is hovering in the low to mid 40s," said Philip Stephens from the Adam Smith Institute recently.

"The unionists command support in the mid 50s. These snapshots belie the dynamics of the debate. All the movement has been in SNP leader Alex Salmond's favour. As Britain's most accomplished retail politician, he has already shown himself adept at snatching last-minute victory from the prospect of defeat."

Since Scotland announced its referendum, many market participants have compared the country's plight to breakaway from the UK, to Catalonia's struggle against Spain.

While Catalonia's government hit back at comparisons between its battle for independence from Spain and Scotland's, it did highlight how the main reason for this was because the country had been granted the right to a referendum.

The Catalonia government said in a report that its fight for independence vastly differs from Scotland's attempts, and is shouldn't be compared, as the British government "respects" the Scots and has authorised a referendum while Spain "absolutely refuses".

"It is almost impossible to draw parallels between the Catalan and the Scottish process," said the Catalonian government.