The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

From Kosovo to Catalonia: Separatism and Integration in Europe

Christopher J. Borgen



In July 2010 the International Court of Justice rendered its Advisory Opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence and the Constitutional Court of Spain rendered an opinion concerning the autonomy of Catalonia. Two very different cases, from very different places, decided by very different courts. Nonetheless, they each provide insights on the issue of separatism in the midst of European integration. Does the Kosovo opinion open the door for other separatist groups? Does the process of European integration increase or undercut separatism? In addressing these questions, this article proceeds in three main parts. Part A briefly recaps the legal issues involved in the Kosovo Advisory Opinion. Part B discusses the relationship between self-determination and EU institutions and practices with a particular focus on Catalonia and the Basque country. Finally, part C assesses the seemingly contradictory impulses of separatism and European integration.


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