Revisiting Sovereignty in Europe? The Catalan Crisis in Context - London

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 11:00

The ongoing crisis in Catalonia is the product of a very particular legal, political and indeed party-political context. The latest vote on independence called by Catalan authorities on 1 October 2017 – declared illegal by Spain’s constitutional court and leading both to a unilateral declaration of independence and a subsequent suspension of regional autonomy – has brought it to international attention. Yet the complex nature of the case, which is crucial to any discussion of its political future and to understanding the lessons it offers to similar causes in Europe, is often downplayed.

This conference wants to pay due attention to Catalonia, while simultaneously drawing out the repercussions it has for Europe at large. Beyond its particularity, the crisis raises thorny questions about how regional autonomy can be accommodated within multilevel states, and thus about the very principles of sovereignty and nationhood. It also challenges received opinion when it comes to negotiating constitutional reform; the role of courts and parliaments in political disputes; legitimacy and accountability in decentralised representative democracies; and, indeed, referendums as a vehicle for political decision-making. Last but not least, such a contextual perspective will allow us to discuss the implications such disputes have for the European Union itself – after all, a multi-level governance mechanism par excellence.

The conference will bring together lawyers, political scientists and economists to discuss different interpretations of the causes and consequences of the Catalan crisis; place it in comparative perspective to independence initiatives in other EU member states; and consider the impact of these for the EU and its institutions.


Provisional Programme

11:00-12:30 Causes and consequences of the Catalan crisis


13:30-15:00 The European context: Perspectives from Scotland, Belgium and France


15:30-17:00 Repercussions for a European Union in crisis



Speakers include

  • Sylvia Brunet - Lecturer, L'Université de Rouen
  • Iñigo Bullain - University of the Basque Country
  • Josep Capdeferro - Professor and Historian of Law, Universitat Pompeu Barcelona
  • Sandra León - Senior Lecturer, University of York
  • Javier Garcia Olivia - Senior Lecturer, University of Manchester
  • Andrew Scott - Professor of European Union Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • More speakers TBC

For further information or to register your place, please click here.

Institute of Advanced Studies, Common Ground South Wing, Wilkins Building
Gower Street UCL
WC1E 6BT London
United Kingdom

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