Autonomy and Self-determination
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Autonomy and Self-determination

Between Legal Assertions and Utopian Aspirations

Edited by Peter Hilpold

Europe has reached a crisis point, with the call for self-determination and more autonomy stronger than it ever has been. In this book, renowned international lawyers give a detailed account of the present state of international law regarding self-determination and autonomy.
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Chapter 11: Autonomy and self-determination in Spain: Catalonia’s claims for independence from the perspective of international law

Eugenia López-Jacoiste


For some years Catalonia has claimed more autonomy and self-determination. Obviously it is a highly controversial political internal issue in Spain. In this context this chapter analyses in depth the legal requirements of the right of self-determination of peoples taking into account the development of international law in this regard. The basic issue can be summarized as whether or not we are facing a new course on the interpretation of certain classic categories of international law: the principles of territorial integrity, sovereignty, remedial secession and the right to external and internal self-determination. Despite the developments and understanding of a broad and qualified right of self-determination under international law, the current situation in Catalonia cannot justify secession without undermining Spain's territorial integrity.

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