The Scots and the Basques are the European nations which are most likely to break away from the states of which they are currently citizens and have most incentives to do so, according to a new model created by an international research group employing a proxy for cultural heterogeneity based on genes (while making clear that there is, of course, no politically incorrect implication that culture is explained by genetics).
“For the case of secessions, the model predicts that the Basque Country has the highest propensity to break away, followed by Scotland and Sardinia. This ranking is unchanged under a number of robustness checks. These results are consistent with the observation that the Basque Country and Scotland are the only two regions in Western Europe that in recent years have called for referendums on self-determination.” (The Stability and Break-up of Nations: a Quantitative Analysis, Klaus Desmet, Michel Le Breton, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín and Shlomo Weber, August 2011)
The mathematical model operates by considering not only demographic and economic criteria but, in an original and ingenious manner, also culture. It includes factors such as the wealth of countries alongside size and cultural differences in terms of population genetics, there being a correlation between culture and genetics in so far as it is true to say that populations which have mixed more tend to display greater cultural similarity.