We are happy to announce that on 23 November our College for Advanced Studies successfully organised the second session of our so-called ’Question-marks’ event which was a roundtable discussion, called Independence in Europe. Our invited guests were Zoltán Gálik PhD, associate professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest, Sándor Gyula Nagy PhD, senior research fellow at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade and Anna Orosz, research fellow at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. As a moderator, our mentor, Máté Szalai has attended the event who is an assistant professor at the Corvinus University of Budapest as well as a researcher at the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade.
We started our discussion with the history of the European separatist movements, first about the Yugoslavian crisis in the 1990s. The South Slavic crisis, which resulted in the fast independence and economic development of Slovenia, had serious political, economic and human victims. After the break-up of the Yugoslavian territory, the number of European separatist movements increased. Many people hoped that the development of the EU would solve this problem, but they soon turned out to be wrong. Economic interests are playing a major role in today’s independence movements so as the new ways of communication (e.g Facebook). Dissatisfaction with the economic situation is still a determining factor in the Catalan movement too (“Madrid is robbing us!”). The Scottish Independence Movement, unlike the examples of Catalonia and Kosovo, is not organized from below, but by political actors. However, the Spanish political culture is not as developed as in the UK.
The question of Kosovo’s issue dates back to a long time, as it, along with Albania, had a major role during the Tito era, who was only able to prevent the escalation of the situation by extending Kosovo’s autonomy. After Tito’s death, Milosevic came into power and the rights of the autonomous provinces were withdrawn. To sum up, it can be stated that the Catalan independence movement cannot be considered successful since even their leaders did not believe in the success of their movement. The aspirations of the Albanian Army in Kosovo can be seen as a successful movement, as NATO has joined the conflict on their side, but Kosovo still does not own full recognition. According to UN Resolution 1244. Kosovo territorially still belongs to Serbia and there are parts of the country which are dominated by the Serbians and also governed by Belgrade. Regarding Scotland, we can conclude that the emerging devolution processes and the even wider autonomy settled the issue at least for the near future. After our previous roundtable discussion titled ISIS-After Mosul, we could hear a very instructive and informative lecture again. We hope that this tradition will continue.