Sunday, June 15, 2014

On the Topic of Separatist States

Separatist movements in Europe isn't a topic that an American would pick up and grasp easily.  We pretty much assume that things are concrete and will just continue on.

This year.....9 November....the folks in Catalonia, Spain (a state about the size of Connecticut with twice it's population)....will sit down and vote to leave Spain.  No one is really confident on the vote.  What they generally say is that Catalonia as a region....sends a significant amount of tax revenue to Madrid and they don't get that same amount back.....and it's been that way for almost a decade.

If the vote does go to separating....it'll be some percentage of less than ten percent difference (my humble opinion), and it'll worry an awful lot of Spanish-minded folks in Catalonia who'd prefer to keep things the way they are.  The separation-minded folks will feel that they've finally gotten control of their 'empire' and things will improve.

What this generally goes onto is a trend.  On 9 September of this year.....Scotland will have it's own vote....whether to succeed or stay with the UK.  Polls are less clear on this vote.  Generally, the gut feeling is that it will fail but only by a couple of points.

Thinking that's it?  No.  In Belgium, there's a movement to split the country into two.  One part of Belgium has a strong industrial base which contributes greatly to the operations of the entire country.  The other half of the nation is mostly agricultural based and is a minor player on revenue funding.  Both groups know the story and it's become a political nightmare talking them into running a simple government.

The long list of separatist movements in Europe?  Well....if you go down the line......those three groups are followed by a minimum of twenty-odd groups.

Up in the Nordic regions.....the Lappland folks would like to take parts of Norway and Sweden, and turn it into their own state.

In Austria....there's a group pushing to take South Tirol (the mountainous region) and carve it out as a separate state to Austria.

In Bosnia....there's at least three groups....one Islamic in nature.....trying to talk up carving up the small state of Bosnia.

Denmark has two groups working on separation agendas....one being the Faroe Islands (they've talked about this for a hundred years), and the other being Bornhelm.

France has two major groups pushing such an agenda, and another dozen minor groups.  The two bigger ones?  The Basque folks and Brittney (some British-minded folks in this group).

Germany?  Well.....Bavaria will hint as much as they can but there probably aren't more than 50,000 Bavarians who would support separating from Germany.

Italy has at least six groups working on some agenda, but the South Tirol Mountain-folks and Sardinia are the only two that might see success in the next decade.

Ukraine has a long list of ethnic groups seeking their own independence.

So, what you have is a group of folks waiting for one significant separation to occur, and the flame will be lit.

But there is this odd factor of history.  When you go back to the period before the 1800s.....Europe was compromised of a thousand republics, nations, states, city-states, empires, kingdoms, etc.  They emerged out of the Napoleonic era with a strategy of combining regions for security and safety.  Some went willingly and some went forcibly into consolidation.  Nassau doesn't exist today because of Prussian actions to force them into the federation.

Two hundred years have passed and most see both world wars as a history item and never to return.  Their independence and cultural activity outweigh consolidation.  This invites a serious debate within some regions that haven't made revenue production a big priority....if they see one or two of their rich neighboring states drop out of the country, and the budget suddenly drops by forty percent for their region.....it might trigger some serious political turmoil.  Yeah.....what started up WW I.....that political turmoil stuff.....could come right back.

As falls comes around....you want to pay attention to Catalonia and Scotland....it might be the beginning of a long drawn out mess.

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