Friday, 27 January 2017

The Rocky Road To Separatism

Scotland's eventual break away from the rest of the UK is probably inevitable, but there are still the same flies in the ointment as last time (lots of awkward questions). For instance, if as the Scots keep expecting, they are allowed into the EU without having to go through the formal application process of 5 years or so, then of course it also opens up the path for other separatist groups such as the Basque region in Spain/France, and even Corsica in France, and Crete in Greece, to go down the same path.

Picture Of A Corps Of Cretan Gendarmes In Thessaloniki, 1912-1913

By the way I can vouch for the Cretan one, having once spent a trip from the airport to the resort being lectured to by a driver who believed it should be a nation of its own. I was informed in no uncertain terms and " 'facts' my friend, facts' ", that Crete actually was a late unionist with Greece, only throwing off the rule of the Ottoman Turks in 1913 after a series of rebellions against their empire (the Greek state had been established in 1830). They saw themselves as Greek back then, and repeatedly (and mistakenly according to the taxi driver), rejected the autonomy that the then Great Powers of Europe were pressing as an alternative to union ... this may have been a reaction to the fact that the perfidious British, French and Russians had actually stopped Greek troops from helping the Cretan's achieve their freedom in 1897. Their battle cry was “Union or Death” ..... but times have changed. There is now a “Cretan State” movement, and in 2012 the treaty that bound Crete with Greece ended, and some thought there would be a referendum ... sadly not. That was a long trip I can tell you ....

However that is certainly a can of worms that the EU really can't face right now .... imagine Belgium breaking up into Flanders and Walloon's, or even just the breakaway Belgian province of Luxembourg which wants to join ... yes you guessed it, Luxembourg ... very similar to the current situation with Scotland the rest of the UK BUT doesn't involve anyone leaving the EU.

There are in fact several dozen separation movements around the EU .... Spain alone has a dozen or so separatist or autonomous regions claims; The Basques, Canary Islanders, Cantabria, Catalonia, Castile, Galicia, Leon, Navarre, Extremadura, Murcia, Aran Valley and Valencia .... plus one province, the Territory of Olivenza, which has people agitating for unification to Portugal. Some of the claims have been festering for decades or even centuries. Wikipedia provides a nice cover list but some of note are:

  • Bulgaria ~ In the Blagoevgrad Province, the local Macedonians want to leave Bulgaria, for unification with Macedonia proper. Probably a non runner but wouldn't necessarily involve anyone leaving the EU as everyone is currently in it but would need a boundary change.
  • Croatia ~ Like all the former Yugoslavian countries, riddled with even smaller separatist movements. The Istrians being just one of them along with the Fiumans. All want to remain in the EU, but as they want separate countries, like the Scots (rather than wanting to switch allegiances within countries inside the EU), would need to re-apply.
  • Czech Republic ~ some of the Moravians are unhappy and want their own country ~ See Scotland for analogy. Although this wouldn't involve anyone wanting to leave the EU, would need someone to have to reapply. Similarly the Czech Silesians are equally adamant that they also deserve their own country inside the EU. That's a lot of separation for a country that small .... there will be no Czech's left.
  • Finland ~ There are Swedes on the island province of Åland wants to move to Swedish jurisdiction. It wouldn't necessarily involve anyone leaving the EU as everyone is currently in it but would need a boundary change.
  • France ~ Has its own wild west aka The Basque Region. This is one of Europe's oldest independence claims, and involves the Spanish Basques as well - This would be a new country and require someone to apply to join the EU ... probably the Basques LOL. But add in the Breton's of Brittany, the French Catalan's, and the Corsicans and even the residents of French Savoy and you can see no incentive for France to open the separatist short-cuts in to the EU. In any case all would want separate countries, and would have to reapply to join EU.
  • Germany ~ Free Bavaria .... no really that's what they want (or some of them), the Free State of Bavaria. Non runner ... the 4th reich is here to stay.
  • Hungary ~ Serbian Hungarians want to transfer into Hungarian control (border expansion for EU).
  • Italy ~ Sardinia / Sicily / South Tyrol and even the Venetians. Mostly non runners although Sardinia occasionally flares into violence on the issue. All want separate countries and would have to reapply to join EU.
  • Latvia ~ One region full of Latgalians wants to unify with Russia (Putin's next land grab?) .... just a border change as it would mean leaving the EU but with no terms as joining Russia
  • Lithuania ~ The Samogitians are unhappy and want their own state. It would be so small that it made Lichtenstein look big.
  • Romania ~ Hungarians want to transfer to Hungary (Internal border change as everyone still in EU).
  • Slovakia ~ Hungarians want to transfer to Hungary (Internal border change, as everyone still inside EU).
  • Even the really nice Danes have a few people who are less than happy. The islands of Bonholm, and the Faroe's both have separatist/autonomy movements.

Turkish Troops In Northern Nicosia, Cyprus 2016.

Then there is Northern Cyprus ~ Turkey invaded and will never give it up (despite recent talks). The (Greek) Cypriots will never forgive or forget while Turkish troops are on the island .... this will fester on for decades, not helped by Turkeys application to join the EU (with Northern Cyprus as part of its sovereign territory). A deal breaker all round, as Cyprus and probably Greece will block the Turks until this is resolved to their satisfaction.

Other Oddities - the Greeks inside Albania in Northern Epirus, (which isn't in the EU), want union with Greece which of course is in the EU. The Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia (which isn't in the EU), wants to unify with Croatia which is in the EU. These sorts of changes wouldn't alter membership of EU but would extend its geographical borders.

So the road to separation for Scotland is paved with a lot of issues ... and no they still can't use the English Pound, as the EU makes all new members commit to joining the Eurozone.


  1. The euro commission have said that not only do Scotland have to join the euro but they have to wait in line with countries such as Serbia.

    The SNP seem unable to understand this,despite it being repeated over and over again. I am wondering if they are just particularly dense.

    1. I agree that it does seem as though the SNP are just deaf to being told that they can't stay in EU as separate country. They keep telling Scottish voters they will remain in EU (or be fast tracked in), and keep the UK Pound .... both are incorrect (and they know this)


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