Catalonia, Scotland and the EU: Is a pan-European chain of equivalence between minority nationalisms possible? – Kévin Vercin

Sciences Po Logo“This contribution aims to study how the main Scottish and Catalan nationalists’ Europeanization transformed the way they articulated their national identity, the nascent European identity and the identity of the nation from which they sought to be distinguished. Consequently, such a rearticulation caused a change in their hegemonic project and in how they framed their demands both at the national, and increasingly, at the European level. In the Scottish case, Europe has always been framed as a divisive element between Scottish identity and the rest of the United Kingdom: whilst originally the Europeanization of the United Kingdom was conceived as a threat to Scottish identity, justifying its separation from Great Britain, over time Socttish nationalists’ europeanized their discourse and Scotland was reframed as a European nation deserving equal recognition and hence an independent State within Europe. In Catalonia’s case Europe was originally a reconciling element between Catalan and Spanish identities: Spain was European because of Catalonia and the full recognition of Catalonia was to go hand in hand with the continuing Europeanization of Spain. However, over the last few years, this discourse was reversed: because Catalonia was a (truer) European nation it had to away from Spain and become a State of its own. Originally vastly different in their hegemonic projects and their demands, Scottish and Catalan nationalists have converged towards the same demand: the right to self-determination and become independent States within the EU. However, whilst some equivalence has been articulated between these demands, no common identity has emerged thus preventing the formation of a true Pan-European chain of equivalence. From this example comes a reflection on the current impossibility to form Pan-European chains of equivalence, construct European political cleavages and hence have a true European democracy.”

– Kévin Vercin, Sciences Po