An island region in some country should be given an autonomy or a special status based on islandness? Case studies on European ‘island regions’ show that more than half of them enjoy an autonomy or an insular special status. We can explain this state as ‘asymmetric pluralism’, not meaning nationwide federalism but giving special or autonomous status toward only one or a few regions in a country. While regional autonomy or special status and their making process including island regions are mentioned usually in State-region (bilateral) relations, in European case they are observed in EU-State-region (triangle) relations. Insular autonomy was executed as a choice to reject the accession toward EU and the common market for preserving their fragile economic interest, or it was given to island regions according to European subsidiarity (devolution) and several outermost island regions enjoy EU’s special option program based on remoteness and insularity according to its social economic cohesion (overcoming regional disparities) principle. Actually, the ‘insularity’, originally a geographical or ecological concept, is discussing inside EU, several European countries and island regions for its institutionalization. In this discussion, island autonomy is concerned with the insularity as a socioeconomic minority rather than ethnic or cultural minority mainly focused by asymmetric pluralism or consociational democracy theories.
Journal of Regional Science for Islands 1 (0), 1-19, 2020
Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability, University of the Ryukyus