Collective recognition and regional parliaments: navigating statehood conflict

George Kyris, Bruno Luciano

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This study explores whether and how regional parliaments facilitate collective state recognition, a question that has been overlooked within a literature that focuses more on recognition by individual states or international organizations more generally. We do that through a scoping exercise of how regional parliaments of four major international organizations (AU, CoE, EU, OSCE) have responded to past and present contested statehood efforts that are associated with conflicts, such as in Palestine, Western Sahara, Kosovo, or the post-Soviet space. Based on this, we conceptualize three different stances: recognition, non-recognition, and titular recognition (of a right to, as opposed to the presence of, statehood) and we propose that these stances become apparent declaratively, through resolutions or other formal texts of regional parliaments, or institutionally (e.g., through membership). We also find that regional parliaments display a certain agency through using specific parliamentary instruments to respond to statehood claimants, promoting debates on those claims, and expressing recognition stances different from the executive bodies of the organization. Further, we illustrate these arguments through a more in-depth analysis of the European Parliament's approach toward Kosovo's statehood. In this regard, the paper offers a missing but important account of how regional parliaments facilitate collective recognition and contribute to defining what is a state, one of the most fundamental questions of international relations, which sits at the heart of long and complex conflicts. The proposed conceptual and theoretical arguments can facilitate further studies on state recognition, particularly collective recognition and the role of international organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberksab011
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Studies Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2021


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