Renegotiating Sovereignty: Basque nationalism and the rise and fall of the Ibarretxe Plan

Michael James Keating, Zoe Bray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many minority nationalist movements in Europe are abandoning the search for independent statehood, embracing European integration, and adopting a 'post-sovereigntist' stance, emphasizing shared sovereignty and divided powers. This provides a promising way of escaping the classical difficulty of aligning nations with states. Basque nationalism has evolved in this direction, drawing on earlier traditions. The Ibarretxe Plan, approved by the Basque parliament in 2004 but subsequently rejected by Spain's national parliament, was presented as an effort to formulate such a third way between separatism and unionism. Yet ironically its effect was in large part to reaffirm actors' language of traditional sovereignty. This is partly thanks to the political context, but also to the power of doctrinal, ideological and symbolic issues related to sovereignty, the nation and boundaries. National self-determination may have entered a new phase but it still faces great difficulties in principle as well as in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-364
Number of pages20
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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