Shades of solidarity: Comparing Scottish and Flemish responses to Catalonia

Judith Sijstermans*, Coree Brown Swan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


On 1 October 2017, Catalans went to the polls to vote on independence. Catalan independentists called for international, particularly European, support. EU leaders remained wary, but representatives of Europe’s sub-state nationalist parties flocked to Barcelona to express their solidarity. In this article, we show that the Scottish National Party’s support was both less cohesive and less intense than the more assertive expression of solidarity from the Flemish Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie. We consider party interactions in the European context through the lens of transnational solidarity. We find that solidarity is refracted through intra-party dynamics, domestic policy debates, and the historical trajectories of parties in the European context. Existing international relationships provide arenas for interaction, but ultimately domestic opportunities conditioned parties’ responses to the Catalan referendum. This meaningful, albeit contingent, solidarity between sub-state nationalists is worthy of exploration in the context of ongoing Catalan and Scottish independence processes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional and Federal Studies
Early online date04 Feb 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 04 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Catalonia
  • Nationalism
  • secession
  • solidarity
  • transnational activism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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  • ASEN Annual Conference

    Coree Brown Swan (Participant) & Judith Sijstermans (Participant)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

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