Santander Conference. Responses to secessionism in advanced democracies: accommodation instruments, institutional design and the politics of federal reforms
RESPONSES TO SECESSIONISM IN ADVANCED DEMOCRACIES: ACCOMMODATION INSTRUMENTS, INSTITUTIONAL DESIGN AND THE POLITICS OF FEDERAL REFORMS (25-26 May 2017)
Co-sponsored by the Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy, Nuffield College Oxford; the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change; the Forum of Federations; and the The Elcano Institute, Madrid
The Conference is conceived as one of the annual activities of the Santander Fellowship in Iberian and European Studies at the European Studies Centre and will be co-sponsored by the Gwilym Gibbon Centre for Public Policy, Nuffield College Oxford; the Scottish Centre on Constitutional Change; The Elcano Institute in Madrid and the Forum of Federations. It seeks to assemble a number of first-class scholars from Europe and North America to deal with the issues raised by the current discussion in the political realm and academia about possible constitutional, institutional or political responses to secessionist demands in several advanced democracies such as UK, Spain, Belgium or Canada using an innovative approach. The organisation is planning to bring together around 25 participants, both seasoned scholars and younger ones, with cutting-edge expertise in comparative federalism, constitutional change and reforms, secessionism and ethnic politics and nationalism coming from Spain, UK, Germany, Belgium, and Canada. Several scholars of St Antony’s, Nuffield, Merton and Worcester colleges from Oxford University will also participate as paper-givers or discussants.
The conference will address five main issues
- What different paths do different multinational countries take, and with what effects, when they seek to respond to secessionist challenges and accommodate secessionist demands? Are there coherent national models of accommodation or are all governments muddling through amid short-term electoral and economic preoccupations that hinder reform initiatives and/or ratification?
- Are there optimal constitutional, political or fiscal procedures that can facilitate the accommodation of secession demands? To what extent do states rely upon standard responses of devolution, fiscal appeasement, symbolic recognition, or participation at the centre, and how effective are these individually or in combination? Is there space for constitutional imagination and procedural innovation in accommodating territorial demands?
- What are the effects of central policies of accommodation or non-accommodation vis-à-vis regional domestic conditions and developments, public opinion and party competition or the interaction between the two? Do certain forms of accommodation or non-accommodation contain or exacerbate secession demands?
- Can we reconcile the politics of secessionism with the politics of institutional reform? Are there procedures and mechanisms of accommodation which would see the defence of the state’s territorial integrity with new statehoods and transnational partnerships? What are the prospects of successful reform?
- Do institutions and or/ideas and/or models applied elsewhere shape the accommodation instruments used in any given case, or are these sui generis?
Full programme -