From Versailles to Maastricht : nationalist and regionalist parties and European integration
European integration has increasingly shaped the political opportunity structure of minority nationalism. This thesis studies the attitudes and responses to European union of nationalist and regionalist parties from Brittany, Flanders, Scotland and Wales, in addition to cooperation between the parties and the emergence of transnational regionalism through the development of the European Free Alliance. Whilst nationalist and regionalist parties responded to the broad themes of European integration, and demonstrated preferences for an integovernmental or federal Europe, the EC has brought a range of specific opportunities and resources to aid minority nationalism and self-determination. This involved the EC's challenge to traditional national sovereignty, responses to EC policies and participation in European elections. However, the most significant effect of European integration was its ability to shape and influence party goals and strategies for self-determination. The goals of the nationalist parties of Scotland and Wales became heavily Europeanised to fit the new European context that emerged in the 1980s with the Single European Act. This led to a reversal of policy and attitudes towards the EC, and a relaunch of the idea of self-government in the new Europe. Attitudes towards the Maastricht Treaty also demonstrated the flexible responses of nationalist parties to economic and political sovereignty in contrast to the inflexible attitudes of the 1970s. Regionalist parties in contrast showed more stable attitudes to European union. They used the issue to complement demands for regional autonomy and federalism by linking domestic demands to European developments. Though regionalists demonstrated strong affective links to European union, they were less able to turn the issue to their advantage in political debate or elections. They increasingly Europeanised their autonomy position, often using arguments associated with nationalism rather than regionalism. This mixing of agendas brought a blurring of distinctions between nationalist and regionalist political positions.