92

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the EU) has a clause which explicitly mentions that rejoining the EU is possible after leaving it: If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49. Article 49, in case you wonder, ...


68

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


61

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 population share. For example, an independent Scotland would seek to take ownership of a share of the United Kingdom's overseas properties, e.g. embassies & ...


61

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 to vote for independence. Perhaps the Conservative ⁠and Labour parties would win. The SNP wants a referendum because they think ⁠they might win. The other ...


56

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 from Spain to ask for it, since supposedly the people of Catalonia might have contributed to it and since the Catalans are in essence asking Spain for ...


48

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 parliament but that only has the powers granted to it by the UK parliament). So they can do nothing legally without the consent of Parliament.


42

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, or the nations of the EU. The quote means that Belarus declared self-rule first, and then formally left the USSR a year later.


41

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 territories only), Saint Christopher and Nevis, Singapore, the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and [the Union of] Serbia and Montenegro (of 2003). Some scholars argue that ...


39

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 precisely risking such an outcome, not as a mere possibility or in an opinion poll but in an officially sanctioned vote. Once you have an actual vote for ...


36

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), exchanged for the lives of their previous rulers or just expropiated from their native inhabitants. The important fact is that the people in these territories ...


36

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 of about $60 billion. On the other hand, when Czechoslovakia split, the national property and national debt were shared, roughly in the ratio 2:1. This was a ...


35

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 be in Europe). Essentially, the state has to be a democracy with civil liberties and a free market economy; the UK would easily pass. When politicians say the ...


32

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 of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities; Economic criteria: A functioning market ...


31

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 the point of view of a world seen as a zero-sum game of wealth and power, but this is a fallacy from the point of view of a world which tends towards freedom and ...


30

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 that they think they can get independence now. Fifty years ago, they would have faced suppression by the military. The rest of Europe would have had ...


27

Currently, Northern Ireland is locked in a delicate balancing act. In the past, all views on NI's future have evoked violent reactions from opposition parties - whether that be remaining part of the union (opposed by republicans), independence (opposed by both), or joining the Republic of Ireland (opposed by unionists and loyalists). Since the mid-to-late ...


26

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 be held in both the North of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (essentially, and if both approve then the British and Irish government have made a "binding" ...


26

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.


26

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' referendum as you suggest would require a section 30 order. The first possible counter-argument is that if the referendum question were to ask merely for the ...


25

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). The most obvious historical example is the Algerian War, in which Algeria – then a part of France and covered by the treaty, as explicitly acknowledged in ...


25

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 sovereignty, although even this is disputed. The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which an independent state is governed and from which all specific ...


21

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, but not the latter. To recognise one, but not the other is not without hypocrisy, though the same accusation could be levelled at the EU for recognising Kosovo ...


21

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 in war, and a few other more specific acts that aren't relevant to secession. Other nations do have more draconian laws, allowing them to prosecute people ...


20

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 material change in circumstances and therefore the criteria have been met for another referendum. One of the big issues in the 2014 referendum was Scotland's ...


20

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 hold an independence referendum was granted to the Scottish Parliament by the government through a Section 30 order - referring to the section of the Scotland ...


19

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 convince, force, or kill everyone who disagrees, or enough to make it a moot point? If so, Alaska will not have left. Laws and Constitutions are worth the paper they ...


18

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 hamburger and I'm the only vote in favour of it, I'm still making a damn hamburger. There is no legitimacy in other people telling me what I should do. Second,...


18

The current vitality of independent movements is greatly exaggerated. You cannot assume that opinion polls and speaking about independence are the same thing as actually trying to get independence. Gaining independence is hard. There are a few countries, or regions, that are already de facto independent such as Transnistria or Kosovo, but do not have ...


17

There are no "political differences" (v.g. right vs left, or in favor of more press freedom or less), in fact both the Catalonian new government and the opposition have both left and right wing parties. They want to stay in the EU, remain a democracy, etc. etc. In fact one of the "weapons" that the Madrid government holds is that it can block the admission ...


17

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 determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. However, it doesn't define peoples or self-...


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