The referendum on independence of Catalonia, which took place on Sunday, caused a whole squall of comments, assessments and versions of the plebiscite and its practical consequences. Most analysts discuss the violence resorted to in Barcelona by the Spanish authorities, the unwillingness of the parties to compromise and dialogue, the lack of real plans for the Catalan leaders and politicians to gain independence - as they now say, a "road map". Meanwhile, the events in Catalonia forced the Europeans to look at the new phenomenon more broadly, to realize its influence on the future development of the European Union.
The ghost of independence wanders through Europe
In this regard, the reaction of European officials is remarkable. Some of them kept silent. Others (like European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker) distanced themselves from the referendum in Catalonia. Juncker, for example, called the local plebiscite "the internal affair of Spain." Thus, in Brussels, they made it clear that the European structures are not ready to act as arbitrators between the central Spanish government and its Catalan province.
The European media has once again filled with a list of regions that want to secede from the metropolises and go on an independent voyage. The British newspaper The Times even published a map of the provinces in Europe, in which separatist tendencies were manifested to some extent.
According to The Times, Scotland, Flanders, Wallonia, Republika Srpska, etc. can potentially become independent. For the first time, the Polish Silesia hit the map. True, the newspaper awarded it only two stars out of four, but in Poland, the British assessment put many on guard. In Warsaw, they remember how in May the “Movement of Silesian Autonomists” (RAŚ) addressed the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, with a call to restore the Silesian autonomy, which had been eliminated on May 6 of 1945.
To some extent, Duda himself provoked the RA movement to take this step. In early May, on the holiday of the first Polish Constitution, the President of Poland issued a statement on the need for constitutional reform. Duda connected his proposal with the 100 anniversary of the restoration of the independence of the Republic of Poland, which will be celebrated in the 2018 year.
RAŚ topic picked up. Indeed, from the very beginning of its creation in 1990, the movement has been in favor of turning Poland into a “regional state”. Now it not only aimed at autonomy, but the leaders of the RAŚ began to talk about the independence of Silesia and the possibility of holding a referendum for this.
Silesia can be as destructive for Poland as Galicia is for today's Ukraine. The comparison is direct. If Galicia historically passed from hand to hand of Austrians, Poles, Russians, then in Upper Silesia (now the Silesian Voivodeship of Poland) the Czechs, Austrians, Germans, who left an indelible mark on the mentality, culture and even the life of the local population, were the owners.
In fact, if it is good to scrape the “map” of Europe, there are many such regions. In the same Spain, in addition to Catalonia, the Basque Country hit the map of The Times. Meanwhile, for the referendum in Barcelona, Andalusia, Navarre and Galicia were intently watching from behind their fence. They, unlike other provinces of the country, have already acquired the right of extended autonomy under conditions of unitary Spain.
Political analysts after the Catalan events struck together in discussions about the peculiarities of modern state-building. They are looking for the answer to the question: why did the European nations earlier for their well-being and security unite in the empire, and now they are looking for happiness in local national formations? Answers sound different. Some see the cause in the crisis of the European Union. In part, we can agree.
Will the founding countries lose the founding countries of the EU?
For many, it is obvious that the European Union needs to be reformed and even reformatted. It turned out that by creating supranational administrative structures, the political and economic course of the union is still largely determined by the leaders of the countries of old Europe. For the time being, this state of affairs suited everyone. So far, stimulated by overseas patrons, the Eastern European newcomers of the alliance have not gained their vote.
As a result, their statements and actions, protected by a widely publicized European consensus, came into conflict with the interests of the leading economies of the alliance. This is well illustrated by the example of the problems that created the Young Europeans in the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline.
The positions of the EU countries on the issues of consolidating the banking system, reducing the state budget deficit, accepting and accommodating migrants ... all of this slowed down, or even slowed down, the development of the European Union, which was burdened by the Brussels bureaucracy.
The current situation forced the leading countries of the Union to look for a way out. He was found in the concept of Europe "two speeds". She has not yet received a serious practical embodiment, but has already quarreled the countries of the alliance, has split into its ranks. The leader of the ruling party of Poland, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, for example, told the newspaper Rzeczpospolita that this “fatal concept” is capable of destroying the European Union.
The same conclusion was reached by the leaders and leading politicians of other countries of the Visegrad Four. Because of the “multi-speed Europe”, the Baltics became nervous. The position of Latvia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgar Rinkevich expressed her position most clearly: “At some point we will find ourselves in a situation where the decisions of a certain core of states become incompatible with the positions of other countries.”
Here it is appropriate to recall the regions of Europe, aimed today at achieving independence. They can be compared with the states of old Europe. These regions in their countries are also “at different speeds” with other provinces and, as a rule, are their economic donors. Therefore, the majority of supporters of separation from the metropolis are driven by material reasons.
In the case of the Catalan referendum, officials in Brussels are said to have secretly gloated the central Spanish government. Spain, as is known, falls into the “core of the states of the first speed”. According to the new concept, it will make all important economic decisions together with such countries as Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands.
In this construction, the role of the European Council and the European Commission is absolutely worthless. The turn came to defend the Brussels bureaucrats. They have already invented their own course and slowly began to introduce into the consciousness of Europeans. The plan of Brussels is to re-re-establish the European Union.
Today, as we know, the founders of the European Union are thirteen countries participating in the Maastricht Treaty of the Year 1992. The remaining fifteen joined later. As a result, Brexit UK - one of the founding countries - leaves the EU. Officials in Brussels see this as a reason to re-establish the European Union.
Such a theme arose last year. They discussed how to “modernize” the treaties in force in the conditions of re-establishment. In particular, to prescribe the procedure for leaving the EU. It was supposed to give the right to re-establish the European Union only to the donor countries of the organization - that is, to strong economies. Even Italy, overloaded with contradictions, not to mention problematic Spain, did not fall into their number.
It is quite clear that with such an alignment of forces, the role of supranational structures in Brussels fell. European officials have found the answer. They considered that the founders of the EU, on the contrary, should be all the individual countries of the alliance, their autonomous provinces and even large independent cities, such as, for example, Hamburg. In a word, “there are more good and different provinces” under the flag of the development of democracy and reforms in Europe. Then all the power of Brussels!
The political heavyweights of Europe categorically did not like this concept. The case has not yet reached direct political clashes. But diametrically different approaches emerged in the evaluation of the referendum in Catalonia. German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported the central government of Spain. Brussels refrained from such support.
In fact, Catalonia, as such, has little interest in European leaders. At stake are other bets: who in the European Union will determine its future policy and the rules of internal relations. Catalonia, in this sense, is only a small weight in the balance of political scales. Where they lean, there is no clarity.
Last week, at the informal summit of the heads of state and government of the European Union in Estonian Tallinn, the head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, was instructed to formulate a plan for reforming the European Union within two weeks. The assignment was limited to economic, security and migration reforms. The battles for the re-establishment of the EU have so far been postponed indefinitely ...
Where will the European Union go after the referendum in Catalonia?
- Gennady Granovsky