Self-Determination in a Context of Shared Sovereignty: How to Devise a European Approach?

International conference organised by the Coppieters Foundation

Events / Wed 18 Sep 2019 10:00

One of the paradoxes of self-determination processes is that nationalist movements and central governments share a 19th century vision of nationalism and statehood in which sovereignty is “unitary” rather than shared. When put in simple terms, a unitary sovereign logic prevails and this is precisely what puts them on a collision course.

However, in an age when the functions of the State are arguably waning or are being profoundly transformed by authority “re-scaling” in the European Union (EU), it is urgent to discuss and further clarify how the EU could offer the most appropriate template for meeting the aspirations of stateless nations. Over the years, the EU has played an important transformative role in the relationship between regions and central states. However, this role could be improved.

Held on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 September in Brussels, this international conference is aimed at promoting debate around four major challenges posed to stateless nations in order to devise a European approach to self-determination demands in a context of shared sovereignty. By engaging academics and practitioners in a multi-disciplinary dialogue, this international conference aims to advance a paradigmatic change and to develop innovative concepts that may inform the way in which such demands can be managed within the EU.

The conference will be divided in four panels with distinctive, though complementary goals. The overarching aim of this conference is to build upon existing paradigms, in a bold and creative fashion, and to offer concrete, workable proposals that may inform the resolution of the current predicament.

NB: the program of this event is still subject to change


18 September 2019

Welcome words
Keynote address

By Montserrat Guibernau, University of Cambridge

Panel I [practitioners]: The "State of the Union" After the European Elections: What's Next for Stateless Nations?


  • Lucia Parrucci, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
  • Elisenda Paluzie, Assemblea Nacional Catalana
  • Jordi Solé, Secretary General of the European Free Alliance and Former Member of the European Parliament for Esquerra Republicana  (Greens/EFA)
  • Mark Demesmaeker. Senator of the Federal Parliament and Former member of the European Parliament for N-VA.
  • Maggie Lennon, Women for Independence
  • Jack O’Neil, Young Scots for Independence

Moderation: Sandrina Antunes, University of Minho

Panel II [experts]: The "State of the Union" After the European Elections: What's Next for Stateless Nations?


  • Daniel Cetrà, University of Aberdeen
  • John Loughlin, University of Cambridge
  • Marc Sanjaume, Pompeu Fabra University

Moderation: Simon Toubeau, University of Nottingham

Panel III: Self-Determination, Internal Enlargement and European International Mediation: Truth or Wishful Thinking?


  • Nicolas Levrat, University of Geneva
  • Simon Toubeau, University of Nottingham
  • Huw Evans, Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Emanuele Massetti, University of Trento
  • Sandrina Antunes, University of Minho

Moderation: Alan Sandry, Coppieters Foundation

19 September 2019

Panel IV: Self-Determination, Shared Sovereignty and the European Union Architecture: A Different Europe for "A Better Fit"?


  • Klaus-Jürgen Nagel, Pompeu Fabra University
  • Ander Errasti Lopez, Basque Institute of Democratic Governance
  • Cormac Mac Amhlaigh, University of Edinburgh
  • Sophie Heine, Author and Consultant

Moderation: Brendan Donnelly, Federal Trust for Education and Research


When: 18 and 19 September 2019
Where: Brussels, Rue de la Loi 227 Wetstraat


You can register to this event using this form


Media inquiries can be addressed to

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This conference is financially supported by the European Parliament. The European Parliament is not liable for the content of the conference or the opinions of the speakers.

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