Author Archive

Igor Calzada

Dr Igor Calzada MBA is a PostDoctoral Research Fellow and Policy Adviser at the COMPAS & InSIS, University of Oxford (UK), and his research is joined to the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities. In addition to this, he is Lecturer in Policy and Sociology at Birmingham Aston University (UK), holds a PostDoctoral Research Fellow position at the Basque Foundation for Science, Ikerbasque (Spain) and is Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the University of Mondragon Unibertsitatea, a part of the Mondragon Co-operative Corporation Group based in the Basque Country (Spain).

With separate histories and political-cultural traditions, the UK and Spain do not have the same nation-state DNA. Yet both face issues over regional independence. While the UK Government has legitimised the Scottish Government and supported the Scottish Independence referendum as a highly democratic exercise, Spain stands out as remaining normatively inflexible without, so far, even contemplating any dialogue with the presidents of the Catalan and Basque Autonomies. Other EU nation-states accept the UK’s approach to sort out regional and nationalistic claims democratically. But Spain has been avoiding the demands of the Catalan and Basque institutions and citizens on the basis of both historic and more recent episodes of political unrest. As a result, it seems impossible to open any discussion about the devolution claims of city-regional small nations, particularly in terms of devising an internal, alternative and re-scaled configuration of Spain as a nation-state, which would involve modifying the 1978 Constitution. In the case of the Basque Country, this is presented as the least likely outcome as political violence in the region has been both a major obstacle and also a source of inertia. Nevertheless, ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna)[1], announced a ‘definitive cessation’ of its campaign in 2011 and, therefore, should welcome any kind of democratic implementation that involves devolving powers to the Basque Country. But are there any remarkable differences between EU nation-states such as the UK and Spain? Indeed, I think there are plenty of them.