Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations


Autonomous regions that are successful economically, culturally, and politically from their host country exist throughout Europe. Some of these regions have gained high levels of autonomy but still entertain the thought of secession, provoking the question; why do these regions find it necessary to be independent? Despite their regional success, secession or full independence is not always plausible or possible for these regions. In order to understand the costs and benefits of statehood, this paper will evaluate the costs and benefits of secession to these regions through an economic, political, legal, and cultural standpoint; discovering if the benefits of statehood outweigh the costs to these autonomous regions. The paper will focus on Catalonia in Spain and compare its autonomous situation to two similar case studies of Flanders in Belgium and Scotland in Great Britain to evaluate if secession in these regions is attainable. This evaluation will be done by analyzing Peripheral nationalism, the qualifications for secession, statehood, international recognition and EU membership, along with weighing the costs and benefits of secession. How these factors can help or hinder Catalonia‟s movement toward independence as well as Flanders and Scotland‟s. The paper discusses and examines the qualifications of sovereignty, economic stability, political autonomy, and cultural distinction to understand if secession is possible for these regions as well as meeting criteria to legally warrant or justify secession by the academic community. By examining and evaluating these qualifications the paper intends to discover and clearly understand if secession is more beneficial or costly to these autonomous regions.