Tribune européenne, Futuribles Journal n° 422

Géopolitique - Institutions

Catalonia, Kurdistan, Scotland — What Right to Independence?

The political crisis Spain is going through after Catalonia’s referendum on self-determination and the direct rule imposed on that community until the regional elections of 21 December 2017 (the current issue of Futuribles went to press before that date) has played its part in rekindling debate on the potential independence of some European territories. Brexit had opened up the debate by raising questions over the status of Northern Ireland and Scotland. The same debate flares up regularly between Walloons and Flemings in Belgium or with regard to Corsica’s position in France etc. It is the aim of this first European column of 2018 to assess where we are today with the question of the right to independence within the framework of the EU, so far as territories like Catalonia, Kurdistan or Scotland are concerned. Jean-François Drevet draws on the statute and case law of the Union, and also on earlier experiences in Europe (in the Balkans, for example) or across the Atlantic (Quebec). Above and beyond the different ways different communities are assessed (“a double standard”?), he shows how complex such questions are and how naïve it is to assume that the settlement of regional independence demands on the Old Continent could be accelerated or simplified at the European level.

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