• Kristine Tolokonnikova
Master thesis ‘The Role of the EU’s Cultural Diplomacy in Case of Basque and Catalonian Ethnic Conflicts’ is a research work aiming to establish the key factors for successful cultural diplomacy of the EU, which could prevent the split of its member state Spain, where the bright separatist movements of Basque and Catalans exist. The research also includes an analysis of the other actors, which could avoid the ethnic conflicts in Spain apart from the EU. The main question of the work is whether the cultural diplomatic events in the last ten years, organized by the EU influence the Basque and Catalan decisions towards independence from Spain?
The quantitative (the Basque/Catalan opinion on independence and feeling of belonging to national sentiment) and qualitative (other actors and events influence on mutinous identities and the side, which the EU supports – the Spanish government or the Basque/Catalan government) analysis were selected for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the EU’s cultural diplomacy. The research is based on the social constructivism theory, which is helpful in several explanations – what is identity, what causes separatist movements, why nowadays still some regions want independency even existing within the country for a many years, what is the cultural diplomacy, how the cultural diplomacy can influence identities, what is the role of the EU and other actors in separatist movements and how it is possible to avoid the ethnic conflicts?
As a result, the analysis shows that the cultural diplomatic events in the last six years organized by the EU, had influenced Basque decision towards independence from Spain. However, cultural diplomatic events in the last ten years organized by the EU, were not effective in case of Catalonia. The reason of such results is the other actors, which apart from the EU had influence on the Basque and Catalan identities – the government of Spain, the Basque/Catalan governments and NGOs. The EU’s cultural diplomacy can fluently work in the case, if other actors are passive. Thus, in the case of Catalonia, there is even no need for the EU’s cultural diplomacy, because the ethnic conflict can be resolved by reaching the consensus and mutual understanding between both governments of Spain and Catalonia.
To mitigate separatist movements in the member states, an ensuing recommendation for the cultural diplomacy of the EU is to keep organizing the high amount of events not simply when the ethnic conflict reaches its peak, but as a permanent practice on a mid- to long term basis. In the case of Basque and Catalonia it should continue to hold a high amount of cultural diplomatic events and at the same time remind separatist movements that independence will entail an exclusion from the EU by veto power on the part of the Council of the EU, as well as the loss of all benefits which are emphasized by the cultural diplomatic events.
Publication date28 May 2015
Number of pages60
ID: 213113621