Europe has been shaken by new political crises this year, with Catalan independence movement and Brexit raising fears that recent events may embolden separatists elsewhere on the continent.

Protesters hold a Catalan separatist flag and placards outside Downing Street as Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visits Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, London, Britain, December 5, 2017.
Protesters hold a Catalan separatist flag and placards outside Downing Street as Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visits Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, London, Britain, December 5, 2017. (Reuters)

Following political crises in Europe such as Catalan's battle for independence in Spain and Britain’s decision to leave the EU, concern over secessionist movements has risen across the continent in 2017.

Spain faced its biggest political crisis in four decades as the wealthy northern region of Catalonia declared independence in October, forcing a showdown between national and regional governments.

And the British parliament is dealing with the ongoing threat of Scotland breaking away. An independence referendum in 2014 was unsuccessful but the Scottish government's ambition is to have another tilt as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Flemish-speaking region of Flanders in Belgium plans to push for gradual devolution after 2019.

In the wealthy Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto, 95 percent of voters supported a referendum in November, calling for more autonomy and powers to set their own taxes.

The Faroe Islands, a self-governing country belonging to Denmark, is working towards full independence from its mother country which lies 900 km away.

"Most countries are aware that if they start to set the precedent of recognising other parts breaking away unilaterally then that could happen to them, and so there's a certain solidarity that exists among states which makes it almost impossible for countries to unilaterally secede," said James Ker-Lindsay, a political professor from St Mary's University.

TRT World's Sarah Morice reports.

Source: TRT World