The Waves of Regionalism
Europe saw various phases of regional movements for autonomy or secession in the name of self-determination.1 Regional, nationalist mobilisation lies at the heart of the dissolution of multi-national states (e.g. the Soviet Union, or Yugoslavia); the federalisation of others (e.g. Belgium by the Flemish movement); or the creation of asymmetric regionalism elsewhere (e.g. the five special status regions of Italy). If we consider the movements of the eighties as the first wave of regionalism (as did e.g. Rudolf Joó in his influential work ‘Ethnicity and Regionalism in Western-Europe’), a second wave emerged after the political transitions of Central-and Eastern Europe. With this geographic expansion, a "multi-speed" regionalism began to develop. While communities behind the former iron curtain usually struggle for more recognition or greater self-governance through autonomy arrangements, others - mainly western-European movements (e.g Catalonia, Flanders, Scotland) - transformed into independence movements over time.