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    It is far from clear that Scotland’s transition to EU membership would be ‘smooth and straightforward’

It is far from clear that Scotland’s transition to EU membership would be ‘smooth and straightforward’

One of the main issues in the Scottish independence campaign has been whether Scotland would be able to make a smooth transition to EU membership post-independence and what terms it would be obliged to meet to do so. Jo Murkens writes on the legal framework, noting that it is unlikely that using the EU’s Treaty revision procedure (Article 48 […]

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    While attention is focused on Catalonia, the debate over the Basque Country’s status within Spain remains on hold

While attention is focused on Catalonia, the debate over the Basque Country’s status within Spain remains on hold

In October 2011, the Basque separatist group ETA announced the cessation of its armed activities. Teresa Whitfield writes that while this constituted a notable achievement, a lack of engagement from the Spanish government has prevented any further settlement over the disbanding of ETA. It has also contributed to delaying agreement amongst Basque nationalists on new proposals for the status […]

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    Europe is entering the ‘age of the referendum’, but there is nothing to fear for European democracy if referendums are properly regulated

Europe is entering the ‘age of the referendum’, but there is nothing to fear for European democracy if referendums are properly regulated

Referendums have become increasingly common occurrences in European states in recent decades. Stephen Tierney writes on some of the potential benefits and dangers of using referendums to solve key constitutional questions. He writes that while referendums can undermine democracy if used incorrectly, they generally suffer from problems of practice rather than principle and these problems can be overcome in […]

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    Economic integration through the EU is unlikely to increase support for independence movements in European states

Economic integration through the EU is unlikely to increase support for independence movements in European states

Independence movements have gained prominence across Europe in recent decades, most notably in Scotland and Catalonia, but what impact does European integration have on this process? Dawn Brancati writes that integration through the EU has often been argued to raise the likelihood of separatism as it reduces the economic need to remain part of a larger free trade area […]

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Regionalised party systems lead to lower social spending

Regional identities and political parties have become increasingly important in several European countries. Ignacio Jurado studies the level of party system nationalisation in 22 OECD countries and its implication for social policies. He finds that regionalised party systems provide lower levels of social spending, particularly in national health programmes. He also argues that in the current climate of economic challenges, […]

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    Decentralisation reforms strengthen regionalist parties at the regional level and create an incentive for radicalisation at the national level

Decentralisation reforms strengthen regionalist parties at the regional level and create an incentive for radicalisation at the national level

The effect of decentralisation reforms on the electoral performance of regionalist parties remains unclear. Using data from eleven Western democracies, Emanuele Massetti and Arjan Schakel show that decentralisation reforms influence regionalist parties in different ways across regional and national elections. They write that such reforms undermine regionalist parties in national elections, while strengthening them in regional ones, but also claim […]

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