On 1 October 2017, the government of Catalonia held a controversial referendum about the future of its region. Should Catalonia become an independent state, yes or no? While the Spanish high court declared the process illegal and turnout was only 43 percent, the Catalan government claimed there was a clear support for independence. The future is now unclear. Was the referendum actually democratic? What did the people say? Who is even to decide who ‘the people’ are (or are not)?
It is not the first time separatism is ‘hot’ in Europe. In the 1990s, several independence movements called for the breakup of the multinational state of Yugoslavia. This did not just lead to extremely divisive situations, as in Catalonia, but eventually resulted in civil war. To put this experience into context, we have invited Nevenka Tromp-Vkrić, Executive Director of the Geoffrey Nice Foundation on Law, History, Politics and Society in the Context of Mass Atrocities and lecturer at the European Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam. She will tell us all about the tension between the right to self-government and the principles of liberal democracy, based on the Yugoslav case.
This lecture is organised by Dispuut Metropolis. The event is free and open to everyone.