MPIEP No. 24

Changing intra-European borders through secession: Explanations for the attitude towards nation states and the EU in separatist regions within the EU.

Johannes Rabenschlag


It seems reasonable to suppose that Brexit has influence on separatist movements in the EU, making the exit from the EU an actual possibility. This has an impact either on the national level like Italy, which threatens to leave the Eurozone or on sub-national level like Scotland, which threatens to leave the United Kingdom to remain in the EU. Obviously, the direction of the refusal differs in these examples: There is an urge to part from the EU and there is an urge to part from a nation state. The motivation for such behavior is often based on the (perceived) loss of independence. Therefore, it should be assumed that regions want to leave nation states as well as the EU. However, this assumption cannot be observed in studying press coverage or statements made by the respective politicians. There are regions like Scotland or Catalonia which want to leave their nation states but stay in or join the EU. Regarding the rejected loss of independence, this behavior seems irrational, as the gain of power of the separation from a nation state would be lost again when joining the EU. Therefore, analyzing the attitudes of the people in certain regions have towards their nation state and the EU seems a promising tool for further researching this anomaly.

Keywords: Secession, Euroscepticism, Brexit, European Union, European Regions.

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