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Title: External relations of federated units and regions : a case study of Flanders and the Republika Srpska
Author: Sajic, Nina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 8398
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2017
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This study analyses the external relations of federated units and regions. It focuses on sub-state units with an identity that sets them apart from the rest of the country that tend to develop international agency that is similar to nation-states while engaging in diplomatic activities that sometimes may contradict the official positions of their central governments. Motivated by the complexity of their relations with central authorities, as well as the variations in the development of their international agency, the thesis provides insight into the nature and the evolution of the external relations of these units. It investigates how some federated units consolidate their international activities and diversify their external relations, while others have a more narrow political focus. The main assumption of this thesis is that external relations of regions and federated units with distinctive identity pass through the same stages of development. The thesis distinguishes two basic stages in the development of external relations of federated units with distinctive identity. Phase A represent the first stage of development where external relations are almost exclusively concerned with identity and image building. Development of organisational structures and institutions for external relations, both abroad and at home, are crucial for moving to the second stage, Phase B, where external relations become more complex and multidimensional. The stage-based argument of this thesis has been influenced by the work of Miroslav Hroch and his phase theory of development of national movements. This conceptual framework is applied to two cases, Flanders and the Republika Srpska, two federated units having a distinct cultural, linguistic and ethnic identity and belonging to deeply divided and politically fragmented countries. The thesis investigates the birth and the expansion of their international projection, including the development of the institutions, objectives and priorities of their external relations. Using insights from historical institutionalism, the thesis finds a strong link between diversification and the institutionalisation of the external relations of federated units and regions with a distinct identity. The empirical data for this thesis were collected from the official documentation featuring laws, legal acts, coalition agreements, agreements between federal level and its federated units, international treaties, agreements and memoranda of understanding and from semi-structured interviews with officials from Flanders and the Republika Srpska. Overall, this study furthers the understanding of external relations of sub-state units highlighting the importance of institutions for development of their international agency and for projection of their interests and priorities globally. It also contributes more generally to the study of federalism and inter-governmental dynamics in multi-national federations. The findings of this study resonate with the experience of other sub-state units with distinctive identity as for example Quebec, Catalonia, Scotland, and the Basque Country and are likely to have implications for potential new aspiring multinational federations such as Cyprus and Moldova.
Supervisor: Loizides, Neophytos Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available