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Europe and separatism

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Europe and separatism

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Josep, in Catalonia, asks: “According most of surveys, independentism is growing up in some stateless nations of the EU, like Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Flanders. Will the EU recognize these newborn states?”

Mr. Kris Deschouwer, a science professor at the Free University in Brussels, responds:

“Well, the matter is not in the first place a matter for the European Union. The European Union is a union of member states and what happens inside these member states is a matter of these member states. If they want to reorganise internally they can do so. If one of these new states becomes independent then it would become a matter for the European Union.

The European Union, in that case, would have to decide whether or not this new member state can join. For that there are the classic procedures. We would have to check whether they can follow, they can realise this so-called ‘acquis communautaire’, whether they can become a full member of the EU or potentially join the euro zone.

I can imagine that Spain may not too happy seeing Scotland becoming independent or the UK not to being too happy seeing Catalonia becoming independent. Let’s say other member states may be afraid that the thing may be contagious, and if it can work in one of these countries, it may also work in other countries. But that is a matter of politcs between member states and not a matter of the European Union itself.