Western European minorities. The case of Spanish autonomous Communities

Abstract

There is no tradition of minority rights in Western Europe countries, since their fundamental principle is equality to the law. In certain cases, such as Italy and Spain, but also the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria, the Nation-State has nonetheless reorganised its structures so as to acknowledge its minorities. In Spain, the 1978 Constitution is an interesting instance of an institutional construction which permitted accommodating the unity of the Spanish nation with regional specificities, by giving certain populations the possibility of initiating steps to obtain the status of Autonomous Community. The democratic construction of the peoples of Spain and of Autonomous Communities with them has been the most intelligent and democratic way of erecting the territorial structure of the State of Autonomous Communities, or the Spanish Federal State. Yet, the State of Autonomous Communities has failed to satisfy the expectations of Basque and Catalan nationalist organisations, whose position has progressively evolved from a visible conflict of powers in the Constitutional Court to an open demand for sovereignty.

AFRI 2007 Summary