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Right of Secession: A Europe of Variety, Not Unity

Article in "The Economics of Harmonizing European Law"

Bruno S. Frey

In Bruno S. Frey’s article „Right of Secession: A Europe of Variety, Not Unity,“ he advocates for the concept of allowing regions within Europe to secede more easily, arguing that it could lead to more stable and satisfied political entities. Frey contends that the right to secession should be recognized as a fundamental democratic principle, allowing regions to govern themselves according to the preferences of their inhabitants.

He highlights several key points:

  1. Democratic Principle: Frey emphasizes that the right to secession is rooted in democratic ideals, where people have the right to self-determination and can choose their political affiliations.
  2. Stability through Diversity: By permitting secession, regions with distinct cultural, linguistic, or economic characteristics can achieve greater political and social harmony, potentially leading to more stable governance structures.
  3. Economic Considerations: Frey argues that economic disparities within countries can be better managed if regions have the autonomy to address their specific needs and challenges.
  4. Historical Precedents: The article refers to historical examples where secession has led to peaceful and productive outcomes, such as the dissolution of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  5. Legal and Political Frameworks: Frey suggests that clear legal frameworks and political processes should be established to facilitate orderly and peaceful secession, ensuring that the rights of minorities and other stakeholders are protected.

Frey’s proposal challenges the traditional view of state sovereignty, advocating for a flexible approach that acknowledges and respects the diversity within Europe. He believes that such an approach would not only respect democratic principles but also promote peace and stability by allowing regions to self-govern according to their unique needs and preferences​.