Vol. XXXIX No. 1

The Zeitgeist of Secession Amidst the March Towards Unification: Scotland, Catalonia, and the Future of the European Union

Abstract: Europe is in the midst of a period of unprecedented change. The European Union is undergoing great unification and centralization of power, and some believe that a “European” identity is subsuming the traditional national identity of Member States. Contributing factors to this remarkable phenomenon include the emergence of viable supranational frameworks, economic recession, technological advancement, and mass migration. Some groups, however, have been empowered by these circumstances to seek greater sub-state power and to solidify regional identities. Scotland and Catalonia in particular present two distinct independence movements in the midst of continental power centralization. Their efforts present novel and serious challenges both to their governing states and to the European Union itself. The European Union must aid the resolution of these movements or face sacrificing its own legitimacy. Either way, its course of action threatens to unleash a chain reaction that may ultimately compromise its decision-making capabilities and undermine its very future.

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