Disintegration from Within: Independence and Separatist Movements, the EU Response and the Role of Solidarity

  • Henri de WaeleEmail author


The chapter by Henri de Waele takes a critical look at the growing role of independence and separatist movements in the Member States of the EU, pointing out that the most profound ‘tearing apart’ of the fabric that holds the Union together risks to occur from below: successful quests for secession sparking a potential domino effect and an incremental fragmentation of the Union’s Member State base. The chapter first underscores that this danger is far from academic and is ever more likely to materialise, by mapping the different pushes towards autonomy that can be discerned in contemporary Europe. It equally discusses to which extent the EU itself may be considered to (wittingly or unwittingly) foment these tendencies. The core objective, however, is to canvas how the current crisis of solidarity manifests itself through the rise of separatist and independence movements and indicate what the most credible response would be from a normative perspective. This culminates in the argument that the EU need not necessarily be very welcoming towards newly independent regions in search of accession—instead, it may justifiably adopt a more evasive stance and (when considering the negative ramifications of a contrary position) is actually well advised to do so.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Radboud UniversityNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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