United Regions of Europe
Quest for independence
Whether in Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders, Venetia or South Tyrol - recent votes have all resulted in a separatist uplift. Democracy and the welfare state are their arguments. These parties mostly have one thing in common: they're the driving economic forces of their respective states.
The quest for independence is a quest for money, which is necessary for independence in the first place. Yet it is carried out by a language, history and culture each of their own. Many regions feel patronised or no longer connected to the national states they're in and demand more self-determination and autonomy.
Sources: ARTE, welt-auf-einen-blick
Veneto – Population: 4,865,380 – Languages: Italian
Another region striving for independence is Venetia. In 2014, a legally non-valid online petition showed that almost 89% of the Venetian population preferred a cut-off from Rome. Being Italy's largest tourist magnet, Venetia plays an essential role in the country's economic growth. Significant fashion brands such as Benetton, Geox, Diesel or Bottega Veneta are residents of the area.
South Tyrol – Population: 511,750 – Languages: Italian, German
History shows that South Tyrol isn't an integral part of Italy and that its independent past separates them; only after World War I it was annexed by Italy. However, the region has been majorly self-governed since 1972 and is now one of the richest parts of Italy. About 90% of tax income is administered within the region - Rome is in charge of only very few matters. Nonetheless, the Italian economic crisis affects the South Tyrolean wealth as well. By now, demands for South Tyrol as a free state are constantly growing louder.
Flanders – Population: 6,350,765 – Languages: Dutch
Wallonia largely lives off Flemish loans. While Flandern invested and modernised its industry early, Wallonia was late to adapt. The Flemish GDP is 36% higher than that of Wallonia, and their unemployment rates are lower by half. Flandern's independence would relieve the Flemings of taxes, for they would no longer have to support Wallonia.
Catalonia – Population: 7,565,603 – Languages: Catalan, Spanish, Aranese
In an inofficial referendum 2014, the majority of Catalans (?) voted for independence. Spain declared the poll meaningless - under the pretext that their constitution left no room for regional autonomy. That is understandable: Catalonia's independence would cause considerable structural changes in Spain. The region alone makes up 20% of the Spanish GDP, which is far more than the Spanish average und financially stabilises the country to a large extent.
Scotland – Population: 5,347,600 – Languages: English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots
Scotland possesses of large oil deposits, securing its financial stability for a time to come. This fund makes up 10% of the entire British GPD, comparing to countries such as Portugal or Ireland. Even though the Scots voted against a separation from Great Britain in their 2014 referendum, the separatist movements didn't vanish. Scotland had to be granted more autonomy, other regions such as Northern Ireland or Wales might follow their example. United, but not as one - a condition that might cause more rearrangements in the whole of Great Britain.
"The day will come when you, France - and you, Italy - and you, England - and you, Germany - when all you people of this continent will merge into one higher union without sacrificing your various strengths or your glorious singularity. And you will form a european brotherhood, just like Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy, Lorraine and Alsace, all our provinces, have come together as France."
Victor Hugo, 1850