New Spanish government’s strong start could strengthen EU
Spanish conservatives have managed to restore economic growth, but the shortcomings of Mariano Rajoy’s governing style and a corruption scandal have created an opening for their main rivals to take power. Thus far, socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is off to a surprisingly strong start.
Catalonia and why secession movements fail
Catalonia’s attempt to win independence failed due to resolute action by the central government and poor leadership in Barcelona. The case shows that when clumsy local politicians fail to consider economic consequences and propose drastic changes to the welfare state, support for independence crumbles. The future of secession movements in Europe, therefore, seems dim. Decentralization is a better alternative – one that does not threaten institutional shocks or alarm investors.
Nationalisms collide in Catalonia
If the situation after the Catalonian government’s declaration of independence were not so serious, it could be likened to a traditional Spanish farsa – a comedy of errors. Two national traditions have collided head-on – the republicanism of Catalonia and the military imperialism of Castile – and in modern-day Europe, it will be very difficult to resolve the conflict by purely legal means. Both sides have already made plenty of miscalculations.
Opinion: Regional disparities strike back in northern Italy
Two northern Italian regions have voted overwhelmingly in support of more autonomy from Rome. They are two of the country’s richest areas, frequently paying more in taxes than they receive in public spending, and the vote laid bare the dissatisfaction over this disparity. Worse, the money being transferred to poorer parts of Italy has not lifted them out of poverty. Italy can no longer sweep these issues under the rug. Federalism is now back on the table.
Opinion: Putting Europe back on track
These days, it is easy to forget that European integration is a huge success. The founders were right that the free movement of goods and people would bind the continent together and promote peace. But national governments and centralizing democrats have spoiled a good idea through their own timidity and ambition. If the European Union is to play a global role, it must return to its roots.
Opinion: Catalonia, Kurdistan and the legitimacy of independence
Catalonia and Kurdistan will soon hold referenda on independence. The international community has been less than supportive of these regions’ right to make such a decision. But the right to self-determination is fundamental. Moreover, keeping regions in a country where they do not want to remain can be harmful. On the other hand, using democratic systems to allow independence votes can make governments more efficient and populations more unified.
EU waiting game may work with Catalan separatists
The success of separatist parties in September’s regional elections in Catalonia sent jitters throughout Europe, as many wondered whether other independent-minded regions around the continent would follow its lead. However, Brussels’ response – essentially remaining silent – deprived the separatist movement of a casus belli, allowing it to degenerate into infightin...
‘Small is beautiful’: the key to creating a powerful Europe
From Scotland and Catalonia to the Basque Country, Lombardy and Bavaria, modern Europe is teeming with regions and provinces demanding greater autonomy, or even total independence. By letting specific power return to local communities and grassroots, not only will Europe rediscover who it is, but also return to its people their means of economic self-development. A...