Are borders in Europe final?

Valens

Ad Honorem
Feb 2014
8,308
Colonia Valensiana
The common vision was that the end of WWII marked an end of the large scale border changes in Europe.
With Western Europe firmly integrated in NATO and the EU, any border changes seemed unlikely.
However, the collapse of USSR and Yugoslav wars proved that Europe is far from done with significant border changes.

In recent times, we also witnessed a re-awakening of secessionist movements in Western Europe, most notably in Spain and Italy.

The independence of Scotland remains a possibility in the not so distant future, and there is also a strong movement for an independent Catalonia.

Of course, Eastern Europe and Balkans in particular remain the most likely ones to experience notable border changes.
The tensions in the Balkans could easily escalate in the future (Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo etc), but we also witness the conflict in Ukraine.

Also, separatist movements exist in Moldova.

Still, it is unlikely that Europe will see significant border changes unless in case of big geo-political shifts. But it seems that this is exactly what we're headed for.

Thoughts?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,144
Portugal
Interesting theme, although much more about current politics (and future) than about history.

There are no final borders. Never, as long as the Man exists.

Since WWII Europe as been is a stable situation, with a crescent desire of integration. And one of the longer periods of peace, due that desire and due the Cold War.
The fall of the Communism led to a different paradigm, a certain euphoria, a almost born the idea that all the evils in the world had disappeared for good.

In a first stage the European integration grown even more. Even with the border corrections and conflicts in East Europe.

The somehow, due a set of factors including the globalization, there was an inversion. New nationalisms or dormant ones arise, the integration project is challenged. Russia begins to recover some of its lost prominence. The global terrorism arrives.

For the Europeans in the West Europe, today in emotional terms, they live much worse than during the Cold War, forgetting many times that there was a huge wave of terrorism back then.

So in this scenario, I think that is quite possible to assist to some frontiers changes in the next decade.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,994
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
Are borders in Europe final?
The borders of Europe might possibly become final when and if a giant asteroid impact physically eliminates the European subcontinent. Any impact that big would probably also eliminate all borders elsewhere on Earth.
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
Far from immovable. But they are probably fairly stable.

Any country with a Russian border might suggest their borders might change. Ukraine is fighting hard to maintain her borders now.
Scotland.
Northern Ireland
Catalonia.
Belgium. Might see border shifts.
 

Naima

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
2,323
Venice
The common vision was that the end of WWII marked an end of the large scale border changes in Europe.
With Western Europe firmly integrated in NATO and the EU, any border changes seemed unlikely.
However, the collapse of USSR and Yugoslav wars proved that Europe is far from done with significant border changes.

In recent times, we also witnessed a re-awakening of secessionist movements in Western Europe, most notably in Spain and Italy.

The independence of Scotland remains a possibility in the not so distant future, and there is also a strong movement for an independent Catalonia.

Of course, Eastern Europe and Balkans in particular remain the most likely ones to experience notable border changes.
The tensions in the Balkans could easily escalate in the future (Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo etc), but we also witness the conflict in Ukraine.

Also, separatist movements exist in Moldova.

Still, it is unlikely that Europe will see significant border changes unless in case of big geo-political shifts. But it seems that this is exactly what we're headed for.

Thoughts?
Hopefully not, there are many regions that are de Jure and historically part of Italy that are wrongly part of other states like Corsica , Nizza , malta, Istria and Dalmatia despite the ethnicl cleansing perpetrated inthe silence of whole post wwii europe.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,382
Italy, Lago Maggiore
After the end of WWII the borders in Europe have changed a lot ...

in central Europe Germany had divided and then it reunified with different geographical borders [compare Germany before of WWII an after the reunification].

In Eastern Europe the end of Yugoslavia has created several new countries and we have not to forget that a state decided to divide itself: Czechoslovakia.

And nowadays we see that in Eastern Europe the borders of Ukraine are well far from being certain.

Regarding secessionist movements in some Western European countries, we will see if they will be able to become majoritarian. So far they are a huge minority [in the lands they would make secede]. The political evolution will say something about this in UK [where Scottish independent movements want an other referendum], in Catalonia, in Northern Italy [where anyway I see a tiny room for secession] ...
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
The common vision was that the end of WWII marked an end of the large scale border changes in Europe.
With Western Europe firmly integrated in NATO and the EU, any border changes seemed unlikely.
The Helsinki Accords of 1975 included the recognition of the [then] present day borders. The list was:


  1. Sovereign equality, respect for the rights inherent in sovereignty
  2. Refraining from the threat or use of force
  3. Inviolability of frontiers
  4. Territorial integrity of States
  5. Peaceful settlement of disputes
  6. Non-intervention in internal affairs
  7. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief
  8. Equal rights and self-determination of peoples
  9. Co-operation among States
  10. Fulfillment in good faith of obligations under international law
The signatories were:

Germany Federal Republic of Germany
German Democratic Republic
Austria
Belgium
Bulgaria
Canada
Cyprus
Denmark
Spain
United States of America
Finland
France
United Kingdom
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Iceland
Italy
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Norway
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Romania
San Marino
Holy See
Sweden
Switzerland
Czechoslovakia
Turkey
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Yugoslavia

Only Albania and Andorra didn't sign. The USA reaffirmed non recognition of Latvia, Estonia and Estonia. Now the USA have troops on exercise in these countries.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
Hopefully not, there are many regions that are de Jure and historically part of Italy that are wrongly part of other states like Corsica , Nizza , malta, Istria and Dalmatia despite the ethnicl cleansing perpetrated inthe silence of whole post wwii europe.
You'll be willing to cede the Südtirol then :D
 

Shtajerc

Ad Honorem
Jul 2014
6,743
Lower Styria, Slovenia
You'll be willing to cede the Südtirol then :D
And a few other smaller regions. ;)

I don't think our borders are final, but some are harder to change than others. With the exception of the Crimea, I doubt any European country can simply aquire land from another European country. War between the EU and NATO member states is not likely either, I hope. Russia obviously doesn't give a shite about the system. There are also border disputes between Croatia and all of its neighbours (except Hungary) that are hard to resolve.
 
Last edited:

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,648
Europix
Interesting theme, although much more about current politics (and future) than about history.

There are no final borders. Never, as long as the Man exists.

Since WWII Europe as been is a stable situation, with a crescent desire of integration. And one of the longer periods of peace, due that desire and due the Cold War.
The fall of the Communism led to a different paradigm, a certain euphoria, a almost born the idea that all the evils in the world had disappeared for good.

In a first stage the European integration grown even more. Even with the border corrections and conflicts in East Europe.

The somehow, due a set of factors including the globalization, there was an inversion. New nationalisms or dormant ones arise, the integration project is challenged. Russia begins to recover some of its lost prominence. The global terrorism arrives.

For the Europeans in the West Europe, today in emotional terms, they live much worse than during the Cold War, forgetting many times that there was a huge wave of terrorism back then.

So in this scenario, I think that is quite possible to assist to some frontiers changes in the next decade.
Just an aside thought: when talking about borders change, I thing we should make a distinction between state borders change and secession.

I personally am very skeptical on the short/medium term in State borders changes (You know, like Germany taking Alsace, Hungary taking Transylvania, Italy taking Corsica, etc, etc).

Sécessions, splits, independence, that's a totally different matter. If independist movements gain sufficient support, they could "redraw" borders, and, more or less difficultly, the fact will be accepted. It's not such a tremendous, earthquake like change, in the end. It's more like an internal issue, and at European level, more like an administrative reorganisation. It can pass non violently, it can be accepted as not a dangerous act for the continent's stability.

Redrawing borders between states, IMHO it's a red line in the psychology of vast part Europeans. I don't think that any movement promoting that idea will gain enough support. I believe too many European are preferring the today's (uneasy for some) stability. "Greater France", "Greater Germany", "Greater Hungary", "Greater Poland", etc, might be present in people's mind. But more like those dreams we all have and we all now it will never happen. You know, like hitting the jackpot: all of us dream about, very few of us go to the Casino and play for it.
 
Last edited: