The disuniting states of Europe
The only case (so far) where an EU government has agreed to a referendum on independence (in 2014) for one of its constituent parts. Polls say only about a third of Scots currently support independence, so separation seems unlikely. If Scotland did vote itself out of the UK, London would not oppose its entry to the EU. But EU states such as Spain, Belgium and Cyprus might veto Scottish membership. The most likely outcome is “Devo Plus” – much greater political and fiscal powers for Edinburgh, within the UK.
Corsica: Resents rich outsiders
Politically French but linguistically, gastronomically and geographically closer to Italy, this island is notorious for nationalist violence, overlapping confusingly with traditions of banditry. Nationalism has been fed by resentment of wealthy outsiders. Paris is most reluctant to make political concessions.
Bavaria: Separatist stirrings
In this German region, bigger and richer than many independent countries, anger at “subsidising” feckless Mediterranean countries (and Ireland) has turned into questioning why so much Bavarian tax goes to assist poorer lander. But don’t hold your breath.
Padania: Comeback is possible
A very new “nation” that first seemed comic, then deadly serious, and abruptly descended into black farce, in just two decades. But a comeback for Padanian nationalism is possible, given the depth of Italy’s economic and political crisis.
Ones that got away: Divorce by consent
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia Czech Republic and Slovakia. the break-up of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s led to the re-emergence of former nation states. The three Baltic republics were to the forefront of the struggle for independence and democracy. There were tense confrontations and some loss of life, but Moscow relinquished control in 1991. Czechoslovakia split up without bloodshed (the “velvet divorce”) in 1992, though a majority of citizens in both countries wanted some form of union to continue.
Ones that got away: Bloody break-ups
The dissolution of the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, in the 1990s, with its appalling history of “ethnic cleansing”, concentration camps and bloody sieges, reveals the darkest side of the nationalism.
It finally resulted in the formation of at least seven states, depending on how you count them. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, (former Yugoslav Republic of) Bosnia and Herzegovina (itself fragmented in two parts, Republika Srpska and the Bosniak/Bosnian Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (the latter with its own internal fissures), Montenegro and Kosovo (limited international recognition)
Also in this category is Northern Cyprus, regarded by EU member state Cyprus as part of its national territory occupied by Turkey (in 1974). Northern Cyprus is recognised only by Turkey.