Regionalism in the EU – a comparative analysis of the region-al identity of Catalonia and Scotland and the regional role of the EU Since the 1960‟s, Europe has experienced a rising regionalism across the continent, and Catalonia and Scotland are among the regions where it has been significant. Both regions have a history that goes back to the Middle Ages, which is crucial for the existence of a nation, according to ethnosym-bolists and essentialists. As Catalonia and Scotland have developed over time they can be defined as nations, which justify the part of the populations who claim for independence. In the case of Catalonia, its regional identity is particularly composed of its history, in which the region has had its independence several times, and the Catalan language. Scotland‟s regional identity is mainly composed of its history, in which the region had its independence until 1707, and religion: the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. It is essential for both regions, that their regional identity is composed of factors which differentiate their iden-tity from that of the dominant nation. Particularly Catalonia has a conflicted relationship with the state, especially due to the repression under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, where Catalan symbols and the Catalan language were forbidden. Still today, many Catalans feel repressed by the Spanish state. But also in Scotland there have been conflicts with the state – especially regarding its oil profits. It is striking that there is not a majority for independence in Catalonia and Scotland. Surveys in Catalonia show, that approx. 45 pct. would vote in favour of independence, whereas approx. 30 pct. of the Scots would vote in favour of independence. It seems likely, that the conflicted relationship with the Spanish state explains why more Catalans than Scots want independence. Since the 1980‟s, the EU has had emphasis on its regions - to the point of “A Europe of the Regions”. It is mainly due to the reform of the structural funds in 1988 and the establishment of the Committee of the Regions in 1994 - both gave the regions more influence and are the focus of the multi-level governance model. These factors created a partnership between the EU and the regions due to a common goal: to limit the power of the states. Within European integration, other actors than the states are indeed impor-tant, according to the theory of neo-functionalism. Both Catalonia and Scot-land have power over the administration of the structural funds and have benefitted economically from them, but it is still the states which decide who gets what. The EU has strengthened the regional identity in both regions, and during the 1980‟s and 1990‟s the Catalan and Scottish populations were more posi-tive towards the EU than the rest of the population in Spain and the United Kingdom. This is, however, not the case any longer, and the concept of “A Europe of the Regions” has turned out to be exaggerated. The EU has not been able to push the regions towards autonomy as many regions had hoped. If the two regions were to become independent members of the EU, it is likely that support for membership will decrease further. The rationale for the two populations‟ pro-EU sentiment is based on their view on the EU as a symbol of freedom and democracy, and the funds from EU‟s regional pro-grammes. If Catalonia and Scotland become members of the EU, they will not be in the same need of this place of freedom, and it is also probable that the regions will become net contributors to the EU budget. Thereby the rea-sons for membership dissipate.
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