Secessions from EU Member States:
The Imperative of Union’s Neutrality

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Table of contents: I. Introduction. – II. A word about the artificiality of secessions’ exceptionalism. – III. The principle of democracy and its limits. – IV. Secessions and the ethos of European integration. – V. How to approach a seceded territory. – VI. Conclusion.

Abstract: We argue that EU law and the ethos of European integration, premised on inclusiveness and the taming of the State requires the Union to remain neutral in the context of the permutations of statehood at the national level leading to the emergence of the new State entities in Europe. We show that the matter of permutations of statehood is not new or exceptional, unlike what is sometimes claimed, and demonstrate that the EU is not to blame for facilitating the viability of newly-emerging States in Europe, since this is one of the natural bi-products of the very nature of the Union. In this context intervening into national constitutional secession politics and making threats to prevent the newly-emerging States from joining the EU would not only be an ultra vires action for the EU to take. It will also be both counter-productive and deprived of any purpose, which leads us to conclude that EU law should be deployed as inventively as will be necessary to ensure continued membership in the EU of the entities seceding from the current Member States.

Keywords: secessions – EU integration – EU membership – accession – ethos EU.

European Papers, Vol. 1, 2016, No 1, pp. 67-92
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/6

* Visiting Professor and Martin and Kathleen Crane Fellow in Law and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, Chair in EU Constitutional Law, University of Groningen, Visiting Professor, College of Europe,
** PhD researcher, European University Institute, Michigan Grotius Research Scholar, University of Michigan Law School,



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