Monday, 25 July 2016

Fragmentation of the EU: Separatists see inspiration from Brexit, self rule revival

Remember many European countries are modern creations that only have been in existed since the mid 19th century. Before that many of Europe's large countries were divided along ethnic, political and language lines not to mention constant wars throughout the centuries.

 Independence Now: Separatists call for their own referendums

Now that the Britain has practice (for once) what it preaches and left the EU, some separatist movements across Europe are seeing it as an inspiration and benefit. Brexit will no doubt change the face of Europe and perhaps fragment the Western World. It's not a joke. In the same way that same Western countries have used regime change and militarized democracy to partition the Middle East and Africa as is the case in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen and Sudan. Other countries are looking at Brexit as an opportunity. Far Right Nationalist groups and parties ie Front Nationale, Alternative for Germany and Golden Dawn have already garnered support through an Anti-EU, anti-globalization and anti migration platform that continues to boost their popularity. 



Separatist parties and organization are seeing a strong revival in their push for independence and sovereignty from their respective peoples and territories. There is little Brussels can do to convince the groups to change their minds. Scotland was the obvious go to independence movement whose EU remain vote will set the tone for other overlooked separatist movements. Scotland benefits from it's connection the the EU in terms of finances, economic, trade and travel. Some in the Scottish First party saw the Brexit as a vote mainly supported by England. The Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon announced that a second referendum for Scottish Independence was likely. Also Sturgeon warned she would be able to block a final Brexit vote if Scotland's remain vote is overlooked by Westminster. Growing interest in the independence referendum was given a boast by the Brexit. In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein leader said that Northern Ireland should reunite with Ireland. If a border poll does occur, it would undo a 95 year old partition and separation for Ireland. Reuniting with Ireland has been one of the main goals with Northern Ireland groups. When Ireland gained independence from Britain in 1921 originally known as the Irish Free State, the then British Empire clanged onto Northern Ireland and partition Ireland along colonial lines. England tried in vain to make Northern Irish people more "English" than Irish as part of Britain's own internal colonialism and even suppressed the teaching and speaking of the Gaelic language. Irish nationalists have been reiterating the need for Irish unity ever since. The Unionist inside the N. Ireland insist that the territory should stay with the UK by suggesting that the union benefits outweighs the future of independence. Northern Ireland wants to remain inside the EU. The 1998 Belfast Agreement aka Good Friday Agreement would allow the majority of population to have a final say on Northern Ireland's status and border. Wales, of all the home countries was more eagered to leave the EU despite receiving a large sum of funding from the EU. Wales has been making its case for independence as well. All three home countries have historically been sovereign countries for centuries until England roped all three into then a newly, bumpy union known as Britain and officially as the United Kingdom in 1707. The tiny island territory of the Isle of Man is concerned about its own small economy that was tied to the EU.

France's ongoing Labour Protests RT News


Continual anti austerity and counter labour reform protests have been ongoing across France and Spain. It has also made more people question the EU's usefulness in fighting for worker and union member rights as well as stopping the highly unpopular trade agreements such as TTIP that would harm local farmers' productions to favour large agricultural corporations. The FN have fed off the protesters' years of anger at the government and EU bureaucracy to win Parliament membership and regional council seats across France.

Identity and heritage matters even in a globalized world


It;s not only the UK's separatist that are finding inspiration from Brexit. Catalonia has seen a public interest in a near future vote for Catalanion independence. Spain may look like a unified country on the surface. However, anyone who has visited Spain or read into the country's history and politics (especially Franco Spain dictatorship), knows that Spanish government has been wrestling with separatists movements in Basque Country, Galicia, Cataluyna, Gilbaltar (a British territory that wanted to remain part of the EU) and has several autonomous regions such as Andalucia who don't feel a strong connection to the Madrid based government. Many of the regions in Spain have their own languages, cultures, traditions and views that are different from Madrilenos and at times trumps a national Spanish identity. As a matter of fact, even the name for the Spanish Language in Spain, "Castellano" is meet with disagreement across the country. Castellano is seen as the overreaching Castilian identity named for the Castille Leone province where Madrid is located that became the basis for the Spanish identity.  Catalunya's case for independence is built not only on identity and language differences but also wealth as it is the wealthiest region in Spain. Some Spanish analysts have suggested that Gibraltar can now be returned to Spain since negations would be done with an independent Britain.



Italy is another Western country that has its own historical separatists threatening to proclaim independence over Rome government's corruption, high unemployment, government inconsistencies austerity measures as in the rest of Southern Europe and irreconcilable differences. Modern day Italy didn't exist 200 years ago. For the majority of Italian history, Italy was made of many independent kingdoms, fiefdoms and city states the most famous being Venetian and Genoese Republics. While Genoa hasn't caused much headache in demanding self determination, the people of Venice have threatened on several occasions to declare an independent Venetian Republic. The Venetians complains extend to the ongoing economic crisis and ignored environmental problems have pushed the city residents away from the national government's lack of empathy for the Italian periphery. Lega Nord with the help of Umberto Bossi has often hinted at Northern Italy (mostly the prosperous Po Valley) separating from the rest of Italy forming its own country called Padania. Lega Nord first gained popular in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. Without the once powerful, popular Left wing groups and parties to compete or rally support from ordinary Italians during the economic crisis, many far right nationalist organizations and parties are experience popular power. The arrival of new migrants to Italy and other parts of Mediterranean have only strengthened the Italian Far Right. Southern Italy has often been treated as a whole different planet by Northern Italians. South Italy and Sicily is still seen as closer to Africa and Moors (like Malta) than even to Rome because of geography, languages and dialect differences, migration and history. Even now, Africans and Arabs are still landing in Sicily today. It was an ordeal for Italy to be unified into a single country with Italian irredentism and the Risorgimento. Yet, Italian unification occurred. But the separatists have revived the question of historical autonomy and independence.

 

Kosovo who gained its own independence in February 2008, would still like to join the EU in spite of the Brexit. Kosovan leaders have considered beginning the long process in applying to EU ascensation. The Kosovar flag suspiciously bears a slight resemblance to the EU flag. Lega Nord in Italy has already begin it's own signatures drive in hopes of having its own referendum. Lega Nord originally sought to create an independent Padonia Republic in Northern Italy. In Belgium's semi autonomous Flanders Region, Flemish leaders have been holding their breath over the Brexit and worriedly attempting to halt a possible economic hiccup. Flemish nationalists have been threatening to break away from Brussels and Wallonie to its immediate south for years. As the heart of the EU, Belgium has been struggling with its own political cracks, fragmentation and internal separatists. All the way in Asia, Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian majority autonomous region of Azerbaijan has been looking to Europe for inspiration to one day be its own independent nation. Like South Ossetia in Russia, Nagorno-Karabakh is not recognized as a sovereignty territory despite being de-facto independent.  Self proclaimed but Russian occupied South Ossetia in the Republic of Georgia will be having it's own referendum next year to vote on joining Russia. The Ossetians will be reminded of the Brexit as they head towards their vote. Ukraine is worried that the Brexit will hamper visa free travel. Turkish President Erdogan has hinted that the EU could see more exits. Turkey has been trying to join the EU for the last thirty years. Russia has shrugged aside the Brexit for the most part. However, Putin did make a side comment about karma


The UK will not be falling into a black hole because it's no longer part of the European Union. There are many more questions and configurations that will need to be considered. Non EU and EU migrants inside and outside of Britain, the cost of travelling between the UK and Europea, trade agreements, diplomatic relations, freedom of movement, laws of the sea, international aid and help from the EU to Britain and vice versea. Not only that but foreign companies from China, Japan, India, U.S., Nigeria, UAE and beyond operating in the UK will not feel the immediate affects. But long term, the companies and businesses will have to readjust their operations with relation to Britain's non EU membership.

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