SECESSION AND EUROPEAN UNION LAW
The newspapers have been full of talk about an apparent increase in secessionist tendencies in the regions of Europe, and much has been made of the lively debates that are in fact taking place in Scotland and Catalonia. There have been reports of a rethink in South Tyrol and a new longing there for self-determination, while the Kosovo has been quoted as an indicator of a general trend. Is that merely media hype? At all events, one question has been ignored: What does EU law have to say when member states start to divide like the cells of an egg? The question was answered by a competent authority in the Palais: Dr. Dimitry Kochenov, Professor of European Law at the University of Groningen.
The website von Professor Kochenov gives his impressive list of publications. Dimitry gained a reputation as excellent scholar in a variety of fields, including citizenship, minority protection or the legal status of the overseas territories. His most recent books include "Europe's Justice Deficit?" (together with G. de Búrca and A. Williams), Oxford: Hart, 2014 or "EU's Shaping of the International Legal Order" (together with F. Amtenbrink), Cambridge, 2013.
How difficult a strictly technical discussion of the topc of secssion can be is also shown by the reactions to the editorial of Joseph Weiler in the EJIL. The opinion of Weiler that independence can hardly be a panacea in the interedependent Europe of the EU did not meet unanimous consensus. He though kept to his point: Independence? Bon Voyage. But not in the EU.
And for those interested in the "Scottish question": here you find a legal opinion written in 2012 by Professor Crawford and Professor Boyle.