Regional Governance in the EU
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Regional Governance in the EU

Regions and the Future of Europe

Edited by Gabriele Abels and Jan Battke

The role of regions in the European Union has been frequently debated since the 1980s. This comprehensive book provides a thorough overview of the issue from a variety of perspectives, analysing regional governance and territorial dynamics in the EU and its member states. Focusing on the implications of the democratisation–regionalisation nexus, it argues that a ‘Europe with the regions’ may promote good governance and ameliorate the democratic deficits of the EU.
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Chapter 5: Developing autonomy: are there alternatives to secession?

Roland Sturm


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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