Catalonia and Scotland: New nations in the EU?

30 May 2014

Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Venue: PP2, The People's Palace, Queen Mary University of London, E1 4NS

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The so-called ‘Edinburgh Agreement’ between David Cameron and Alex Salmond to allow a binding referendum on Scottish independence stands in sharp contrast with the Spanish government’s outright opposition to allowing a similar vote in Catalonia. This highlights the distance between different conceptions of democracy coexisting within the European Union and which are rooted in the diverse political cultures of nations with different historical backgrounds. 


The European project is faced with the democratic peaceful demands of Catalonia and Scotland willing to be recognised as nations within the EU. In so doing, they invoke the right to self-determination and adopt a pro-democracy and pro-European Union stand. This takes place at a time when the traditional nation-state is being challenged by transnational and global governance; a time in which belonging to the nation acquires a fundamental role in legitimising the political aspirations of national minorities across Europe and beyond.

This conference will address the important transformations that the rise of secessionism in Catalonia and Scotland could potentially unravel by examining: The key reasons that have prompted the shift from devolution to secession in both Catalonia and Scotland;

• The novel political structures and new social attachments that may emerge as a response to secessionist demands
• The novel instruments and actors leading political mobilisation and social change
• The eventual political consequences of secessionism for Britain, Spain and the EU