Shades of solidarity: Comparing Scottish and Flemish responses to Catalonia



Sijstermans J & Brown Swan C (2022) Shades of solidarity: Comparing Scottish and Flemish responses to Catalonia. Regional & Federal Studies, 32 (2), pp. 161-181.

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.

Nationalism; secession; transnational activism; solidarity; Catalonia

Regional & Federal Studies: Volume 32, Issue 2

FundersUniversity of Edinburgh
Publication date31/03/2022
Publication date online28/02/2021
Date accepted by journal04/02/2021
PublisherInforma UK Limited

People (1)


Dr Coree Brown Swan

Dr Coree Brown Swan

Lecturer in Politics, Politics