Allen Buchanan: ‘Catalonia should ask the UN to mediate if Spain shows disdain for the referendum’

AllenBuchanan

VilaWeb interviewed the Duke University professor. He believes Spain’s extreme inflexibility would justify the unilateral secession of Catalonia

“The strongest argument that would justify the right to the unilateral secession of Catalonia would be Spain’s consistent refusal to concede adequate autonomy,” said Allen Buchanan, Duke University Law Professor, one of the most well-known theorists on secession in the world. He considered the limits of the right to secession in his landmark book, ‘Secession’ (1991). Following the recent publication of the book in Spanish, Buchanan has begun to speak about the process of Catalan self-determination. In this interview he talks about the arguments that justify the secession of Catalonia, how Spain might react, and what kind of international mediation there might be.

— What are the principal arguments that would justify Catalonia’s right to secession?

— There are a number of arguments in favor of Catalan secession. One must distinguish, however, between arguments in favor of secession and arguments that establish a unilateral right to secede. Arguments of the first sort are simply considerations that show that secession would be a good thing for Catalonia, but may not suffice to establish the stronger conclusion that Catalonia has a unilateral right to secede. In the former group of arguments, there are arguments based on cultural and linguistic differences and on the hypothesis that democracy and welfare state functions would work better at the regional (i.e., Catalonia) level.

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