Scotland, Catalonia, Europeanization and the ‘Moreno question’

Febrero 2005
Instituto de Políticas y Bienes Públicos (IPP) CSIC, Working Paper 2005-02

Luis Moreno


At the beginning of the 21st century, national state identities are openly questioned and have become problematic. While being corroded by the forces of globalization they are also subject to fragmentation, competition and overlapping elements of a multiple and diverse nature. In parallel, there is a noticeable strengthening of sub- and supra-state identities. The revival of ethnoterritorial identities has coincided with an increasing challenge to the centralist model of the unitary state. In plural polities, decentralisation, federalisation and subsidiarity seek to accommodate an institutional response to the stimuli of their internal diversity. They often comprise groups and countries with differences of identity, history, language or traditions, which are reflected in different party systems, channels of elites’ representation or interests’ articulation. The cases of Catalonia and Scotland are paradigmatic in this respect.

In the subsequent sections, the notion of ‘dual identity’ is reviewed in relation to decentralization in Britain and Spain regarding the Scottish and Catalan cases. A brief account of the use of the so-called ‘Moreno question’ in Scotland twenty years ago serves the purpose of putting into perspective the merits and limitations of this methodological tool. A second part of this article deals with the process of Europeanization and how the ‘Moreno question’ may be relevant to improve our knowledge about multiple identities within the European Union. References to sub-sate cosmopolitan localism and the supra-state Europe’s social model are aimed at discussing new lines of research. These would focus on identity formation and the conciliation of citizens’ attachments to the various institutional layers of governance in Europe.