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Less democracy, more independence

Opinió | 21/10/2010

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An analysis of the secessionist processes in the Europe of the 90s offers guidelines which are of interest when other nations demand the right to advance toward sovereignty. The main point in common is that the lack of democratic response from the former communist states promoted successful pro-independence claims. So, can Quebec, Scotland, or Catalonia learn something from their possible predecessors?

The closed and intransigent attitude of the parent state when it comes to promoting democratic and decentralizing reforms was crucial in the growth of the pro-sovereignty claims of the nations that it contained. These boosts to independence, initially not very or not at all present, became hegemonic and were successful, with the creation of a new state. This is the main guideline that can be extracted from the secessionist processes in Europe during the nineties. The former Soviet republics and the former Yugoslav republics are clear examples of this.

At present, well into the 21st century, other nations are calling at the door of independence with more or less insistence. Quebec, Greenland, Flanders, the Basque Country, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Catalonia have powerful and organized pro-sovereignty claims. The starting point is very different though: they form part of liberal democracies, not of communist regimes.

Despite this coincidence, there are important differences among them. Five of these seven nations have the fact that they are a distinctive nation and an individual subject of sovereignty recognized in one way or another There are, however, two which see how the parent state denies their existence as a nation and their right to decide. These two nations are the Basque Country and Catalonia, which merge with increasing strength two concepts which refer to the pro-independence processes of the nineties: more democracy is more sovereignty.



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