Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away, by Ryan McMaken

Catalonia isn’t the only district in Europe that would like to up and leave the home country. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

Earlier this week, The New York Times noted that movements for greater local autonomy appear to be spreading throughout Europe. In some ways, the conflict in Catalonia is just the tip of the iceberg. The Times reports:

Coming on the heels of the Catalan vote, the Lombardy and Veneto referendums are yet another signal of the homegrown conflicts that persist in many of the European Union’s member states. Separatist movements are also simmering in Britain — where voters in Scotland rejected independence in a 2014 referendum but continue to debate the issue — as well as France, Germany, Belgium and Romania.

Like Catalonia — and unlike Scotland — the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy are among the wealthiest regions, and send enormous amounts of tax revenue to Rome. Italy’s southern regions, which are significantly poorer than northern Italy, have benefited from Northern wealth ever since Italians were all forced into a single nation-state in the late nineteenth century.

This has never been forgotten by Italians from Veneto, many of whom participated in a referendum in 2014 to declare Independence. Naturally, the Italian government in Rome declared the vote invalid. At the time, however, I interviewed one of the organizers Paolo Bernardini about the referendum. (See “Inside Venice’s Secession Movement.”) At the time, secessionists liek Bernardini appeared to be pursuing immediate and total independence from Rome, while remaining inside the EU:

A tiny majority of Veneto people are in favor both of the EU and of the Euro as a currency. So I envisage a little, rich state, playing a major economic and political role in the EU, a stabilizing role. It will interact naturally with other rich and similar states, Bavaria (still part of Germany), Austria, and the Netherlands. It will be a Finland in the Adriatic.

According to the Times piece, though, supporters of Northern independence have gone back to taking small steps, and realize — probably correctly — that there are numerous steps that must be taken between the status quo and total independence.

The new effort appears to be focused on conducting local plebescites demanding more local autonomy. This doesn’t conflict with the goal of eventual independence, of course, although it probably is an essential first step.

To continue reading: Europe’s Secession Problems Aren’t Going Away

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