15 December 2013, 20:16

2014: the parade of sovereignties

2014: the parade of sovereignties

2014 may be the year of the parade of sovereignties in Europe, as in September Scotland will hold an independence referendum to be followed by Catalonia in November. Experts believe this may be just the beginning of the big breakup but paradoxically Brussels might be looking forward to it.

Thus, Catalonians will decide their fate on Nov 9 - their government authorized the vote defying Madrid's ban, while earlier in 2013 Catalonia’s parliament adopted the Sovereignty Declaration though Spain's Constitutional Court hastened to rule it illegal. Madrid feels the same about referendum but the rebellious province is prepared to a unilateral declaration of independence. 

Scottish referendum is scheduled for Sept.18, but Scotland’s situation is not that heated. Official London has been doing its best to mitigate the recent tensions: allowed the referendum and broadened Wales’ economic freedom.

It’s still unclear which stance can bring the biggest yield: Madrid's harsh “no” or London's hesitant “maybe”. However the two countries may become flagmen in the sovereignty parades, believes political analyst Leonid Savin.

“In my opinion, while now only Spain and the UK face these issues, their example can be easily followed by other countries. The question is not about nations splitting but in the European map being reshaped as it was not divided along ethnic borders at first hand (for example, Hungary claims Hungarian-inhabited land in Romania) but the opposite trend is also possible –attempts to reunite, as in the case of ex-Yugoslavia's Montenegro and Serbia.”

For the last two decades, Euro-integration was the EU’s key strategy, however, the more countries it swallows, the more independence-seekers it sees. Konstantin Voronov, the head of the European studies department of Russia’s Academy of Sciences Institute of World Economy and International Relations comments:

“The list of independence-seekers is getting bigger – Denmark’s territories – the world’s largest island of Greenland and the Faroe Island, plus similar trends in Italy’s northern Padania, Spain’s Basque Country, Corsica and Northern Ireland. And all these moods emerged in the 21st century amid integration processes in the EU.”

The EU pillars, France and Germany, are facing the same problems – Corsica, Alsace and Lotharingia, Bavaria.

However, Brussels seems to be OK with new breakaway members and has already pledged Catalonia a membership if it chooses independence, the same as to Flemings and Scotts, This strategy is easy to explain – EU politicians want to deprive the current EU leaders of their power tools within today’s proportional representation in the EU parliament when Germany, France the UK, Italy and Spain impose their will on the remaining 23 members. By splitting the leaders, the EU gets more controllable territories and boosts its role in pan-European policy

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