Regions and the Future of Europe
Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke
Chapter 5: Developing autonomy: are there alternatives to secession?
The chapter discusses different concepts of autonomy and their political consequences. It focuses on the core demands of secessionists. Strategies include a wide range of options, from ‘wait and see’ to procedural accommodation, federalism, devolution/political decentralization, non-political forms of autonomy and international agreements. Are there are alternatives to secession for autonomous regions? The answer is: it depends on the flexibility of the constitutional environment autonomists find themselves in, but also on the strength of their support in their regions. For autonomous regions a number of circumstances and strategies exist that could be used in their struggle for greater autonomy. Secession is the undiluted path to self-determination. It is only attractive for nations that aspire to become states. Regional autonomy in a decentralized federal system provides plenty of room for self-determination, too. It has the advantage that the region/minority nation remains part of a political unit with greater clout internationally.
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