Secession Right – an Anti-Federal Principle? Comparative Study of Federal States and the EU

Florentina Harbo Harbo


This article argues that the secession right is incompatible with federalism. The right of secession is one of the main criteria to differentiate a federal state from a confederation and a Bund. There are only a few federal states that recognised the secession right in their constitutions and they failed. On the other hand, there are even confederations which did not accept a secession right in their treaties. The issue of secession has always been very controversial in the European Union, which is a Bund (federal polity), but its Treaties never included it. The radical change is the introduction of Art. I-60 in the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe (“Reform Treaty” now), which might give a new face to the EU if ever it is ratified.

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Journal of Politics and Law ISSN 1913-9047 (Print) ISSN 1913-9055 (Online)  Email:

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