92 votes
Accepted

Could the UK re-join EU after leaving?

Article 50 of the Treaties of the European Union (the article which governs leaving the EU) has a clause which explicitly mentions that rejoining the EU is possible after leaving it: If a State ...
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  • 68.1k
69 votes
Accepted

Why do some countries allow their states to secede through legal means?

Avoidance of conflict. By allowing for a constitutional method for a region to leave a union, one avoids extraconstitutional methods: civil war.
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  • 94k
62 votes

Explain for kids — Why isn't Northern Ireland demanding a stay/leave referendum like Scotland?

Scotland In Scotland, the SNP wants to hold a referendum and change people's minds to their side. In ⁠Scotland we don't know who would win a referendum now. Perhaps the SNP would ⁠convince a majority ...
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  • 94k
61 votes

Would the rest of the UK lose anything more than honor if Scotland exits the UK?

The Scottish government's 2013 white paper on independence - Scotland's Future - sets out a number of tangible assets that, the paper argues, Scotland would be entitled to a proportion of based on ...
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  • 82.7k
56 votes
Accepted

Do separatist nations inherit any national debt?

If the debt were to be transferred, it would be because of negotiations between Catalonia and Spain for Catalonia to take that debt on and at what level. It would seem reasonable to me for negotiators ...
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  • 14.4k
47 votes

What can Scotland legally do to get independence?

There is no formalised way for Scotland to leave the UK so for that to happen Parliament would have to agree because that is the supreme legislative body of the UK (Scotland has its own devolved ...
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42 votes

What's the difference between declaring sovereignty and declaring independence?

Sovereignty means the right to self-rule. Independence means the right to sole rule. A state can have sovereignty within its borders but still be part of a larger union: e.g., the states of the USA, ...
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41 votes
Accepted

Do any countries have a procedure that allows a constituent part of that country to become independent unilaterally?

According to the The Ashgate Research Companion to Secession only 7 countries out of 89 surveyed had any explicit provisions for secession in their constitution: Austria, Ethiopia, France (overseas ...
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  • 110k
39 votes
Accepted

Why do the Spanish government not organize a national referendum for Catalonia independence?

It seems bleedingly obvious that having Catalonia and the rest of Spain vote differently on this issue would leave everybody with bad feelings. Nothing would be settled. And organising a referendum is ...
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  • 29.7k
36 votes

Could Alaska leave the US, or would it have to buy its way out?

First, the case of Alaska is far from exceptional. Many states are in territories bought from other states, conquered from other states (which, if you think of it, is just other kind of deal), ...
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  • 27.6k
36 votes

Do separatist nations inherit any national debt?

It would be a matter for discussion. When the Soviet Union broke up, Russia accepted the full foreign debt of the Soviet Union. This was restructured by the "Paris Club", and left Russia with a debt ...
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  • 94k
35 votes

Could the UK re-join EU after leaving?

The UK can absolutely reapply to the European Union if they so choose. The only impediment to a state applying for EU membership is what's called "the Copenhagen criteria" (and of course, they need to ...
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  • 6,403
32 votes
Accepted

Can Catalonia enter the EU after its independence from Spain?

To be allowed to apply to join the EU, Catalonia as an independent nation must be able to demonstrate they meet the Copenhagen Criteria which are defined as follows Political criteria: Stability ...
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  • 8,307
31 votes

Why do some countries allow their states to secede through legal means?

The question implicitly assumes that a territory seceding from a country must be a loss for the country, and therefore that a country should avoid any risk of this happening. This would be true from ...
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  • 15k
30 votes
Accepted

Why do some Catalans want to become independent?

What has changed lately to increase their desire to be independent? This isn't actually how separatism works. It's not that they want independence now more than they did, say, fifty years ago. It's ...
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  • 88.2k
30 votes

Can a US state opt to become a territory without leaving the nation as a whole?

The "advantages" of being a territory are meager at best, and countermanded by a serious overriding problem: You have to follow federal law, but you have no say in what that law says. You ...
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  • 7,518
26 votes
Accepted

Would Article 5 of NATO apply in case Catalonia attempts to secede from Spain by force?

No, internal conflicts and secession attempts do not qualify as “armed attacks” under the North Atlantic Treaty (itself based on the UN charter, article 51, which only covers actions between states). ...
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  • 5,751
26 votes

Do any countries have a procedure that allows a constituent part of that country to become independent unilaterally?

The Good Friday Agreement, between the UK and Ireland provides for a non-violent route to the North of Ireland to become part of a united Ireland. It sets up conditions under which referendums must ...
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  • 94k
26 votes

Why do some countries allow their states to secede through legal means?

In order to get them in in the first place. Independent states may be more willing to enter the union if they have a way back. As with any decision, not all effects are predictable.
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  • 4,764
26 votes
Accepted

Can Scotland hold an informal independence opinion-poll without Westminster's consent?

There would be a few issues with this approach. Firstly, back in 2012, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution looked at this very argument, and concluded that even an 'opinion-poll' ...
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  • 82.7k
25 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between declaring sovereignty and declaring independence?

Sovereignty Sovereignty is a slippery term that has evolved over the centuries. The modern meaning traces back to the end of the Thirty Years War and the Peace of Westphalia known as Westphalian ...
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  • 4,206
24 votes
Accepted

If Taiwan declares independence, would that mean they are relinquishing their claim over mainland China?

Let me first address the incorrect picture of the cross-strait relations that underlies your question. You assume that there are actual, realistic claims to mainland China. Let me put this straight: ...
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  • 2,268
21 votes

Could Alaska leave the US, or would it have to buy its way out?

Power comes from the barrel of a gun. And the will to use it. In this case, if Alaska as a state chose to leave, are there people with guns (and other tools) willing to stop them? Will they ...
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  • 211
21 votes

Why doesn't Russia recognize Kosovo if it uses the Kosovo precedent to justify annexing Crimea?

The Crimean declaration of independence is to the benefit of Russia. The Kosovan declaration of independence is to the detriment of Russia's ally, Serbia. So Russia chooses to recognise the former, ...
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  • 94k
21 votes

Is it legal to campaign for county independence in England?

Yes, it is legal to call for secession. This really a legal question rather than a political one. The definition of high treason in the UK is narrow, restricted to waging war, giving aid to the enemy ...
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  • 1,276
20 votes
Accepted

Why is a second Scottish referendum proposed?

The 2014 independence referendum was accepted as being a once in a generation referendum, unless there was a "material change of circumstances". The SNP is arguing that Brexit amounts to a ...
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  • 944
20 votes
Accepted

Can a UK county gain independence?

Not legally, no. Any independence procedure, whether it be through a referendum or simply a grant of independence would have to be agreed on by Parliament. In the case of Scotland, the competence to ...
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  • 82.7k
18 votes

Why do the Spanish government not organize a national referendum for Catalonia independence?

First of all, Catalonians won't see that as legitimate. It's like having other people vote for what I should make myself for dinner -- even if everyone else is saying I should have salmon, if I want a ...
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  • 431
18 votes

Was it illegal for Spain to declare the Catalan independence referendum illegal?

As you correctly state, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights asserts that Article 1 All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely ...
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  • 3,544

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