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William H. Riker once called federalism ‘the constitutionally assured potential for local government to disrupt’ (i). Disruptions of different (pre-) federal systems can certainly be witnessed currently in the European Union. Within a timeframe of less than two weeks three prominent European regions voiced their claims for (more) independence in suddenly very concrete terms. In Catalonia, Scotland and Flanders separatist political movements like the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), the Catalan Convergència i Unió (CiU) and the Flemish Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) have grown in political power and they intend to use it.
By Thomas Vandamme
I will not go into the underlying reasons for the reinforcement of these long standing claims to independence such as the issues related to so-called ‘transfer federalism’ (wealthy regions subsidizing weaker regions), insufficient representation at the EU level, cultural, linguistic and historic reasons etc. Those themes have been picked up by others elsewhere. What I would like to […]

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