• Spinelli: who was he?

    Last Saturday, by Richard Corbett

    Few of the younger MEPs or staff in the European Parliament seem aware of the person after whom the main parliamentary building is named: Altiero Spinelli. I was privileged to attend as a special guest last Monday, the premiere of a film on the life of Spinelli – not a documentary but a historical drama on his life, the (...)

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  • Europe vs. USA: Whose Economy Wins?

    10 June 2014  16:40, by MUNIR KHORAKIWALA


  • It’s not about them, it’s about YOU

    9 June 2014  22:24, by Alexander Peters


    Now it is official: British hostility to Europe is not driven by a concern for „democracy“. Democracy, Mr. Cameron was offered: For the first time in EU history the head of government – the President of the commission - was to assume office as leader of a majority in parliament, in very much the same way a British Prime Minister assumes office as leader of a majority in the House of Commons. - Surely, Mr. Cameron would welcome such adoption of British-style parliamentary democracy by Europe?

    No, this „democrat“ had a fit instead: The candidate supported by a majority of elected MEPs – Jean-Claude Juncker - becoming President of the commission?! Outrageous! Give the presidency to an unelected non-entity as hitherto, an angry Cameron told fellow leaders, or face UK withdrawal from the EU!

    This behaviour reveals the true nature of the British – of the Thatcher-Cameron-Farage – game. British Europhobes both attack the EU as undemocratic AND strive to keep it so, as their intention is is not to make the EU more democratic, but to destroy it. The prospect of a more democratic Europe is a threat to them, as such a Europe would rob their wrecking-campaign of its most effective propaganda-weapon. British Anti-Europeanism is not about democracy – it is about rabid nationalism.

    Furthermore, it is about stealthily promoting a neoliberal agenda for which – especially after Lehmann – there are no democratic majorities in Europe. Cameron and his media allies talk about the EU´s horrible lack of democracy and the necessity for „reform“ - but the reforms they promote are not about improving democracy, but about satisfying City of London greed. While employees` rights, financial market regulation and environmental standards for most Europeans are something desirable, they figure in Cameron´s world of distortion as instances of a Brussels „yoke“ we all yearn to throw of.

    Cameron wants to withold the democratic legitimacy and the social policy dimension from the EU, whithout which it cannot overcome its alienation from voters. On Juncker, therefore, the European Parliament must not give an inch to its foes. MEPs must not be afraid of a prolonged struggle: the longer this conflict lasts, the more it will rub in, WHO the true anti-democrats are. Nor must they be afraid of British exit: such exit would only be the legal divorce from a spouse, who has been living estranged for years. To Britain now no EU is acceptable, except one in the form of that solely economic EFTA, which the EU was never meant to be. Britain cannot be kept in the EU, unless the EU gives up the political ideal, which inspired it since its foundation in 1956, unless it ceases to be itself. That must not be.

    When, in 17th century England, Stuart Kings meddled with Parliament, Westminster MPs made political mincemeat of them. - Strasbourg MEPs should make the same of David Cameron.

  • A call to arms, JEF has a war to win

    6 June 2014  15:04, by IwantIn

    You’ve not really connected with this article very much. If you wanted a debate about statistics, it may be better commenting on a piece that’s happy to throw them out.

    Today is D-day, the memories of all that day represents are why the EU should continue to exist. People haven’t suddenly got nicer, they got better institutions.

    I imagine the EU is painfully aware that it doesn’t cover all of geographical Europe. If it did, Russia would not be able to sow disorder across Ukraine.

    All people have dreams, but the dream of a eurosceptic will only lead to (as proven by history), nightmares for other peoples.

  • Dear Britain

    3 June 2014  20:24, by Iwantout

    Dear Alexander Peters

    All societies proclaims that they offer freedom “from class divisions , poverty and reckless profit-making at the expense of the public.” It is not the idea it is the actions taken to deliver on such a utopian dream.

    The nations of the EU are not united in anything approaching a single demos. To pretend otherwise is either dishonest or naive.

    The degree of regulation in the EU is not in dispute. The Commission has estimated that the cost of regulation outweighs the advantages of the single market. (Gunter Verhuegen.) It is inefficient, stifling enterprise and new technologies. The EU is the only continent which is blocking the use of GMOs. This contributes to the poor economic performance of the EU and the EZ in particular.

    The UK devotes 23.9% of GDP to social spending (2011-12), less than France or Germany, but more than Switzerland or Australia. When the welfare state was founded the UK spent £11bn pa (in 2011-12 figures), it has increased under ALL parties stood at £200bn in 2011-12. Not the image of a state bent on removing all social care.

    We have large financial and service sectors but we also have a sizeable manufacturing sector, Germany ($1.167bn) UK ($580bn), France ($540bn) [All figures IMF]. Much of our traditional industry has gone, yes it went in the 1980’s under Thatcher, but the value of our output rose but in newer industries. Our experience however painful is that protecting a loss making industry indefinitely is not viable, an Anglo-Saxon perspective.

    The Spanish do have good infrastructure, more high speed railway than France and Germany combined and more international airports than Germany. It is a shame that so much of it is never used at capacity and will never be fully used. Funded by our EU contributions.

    Our debt rose from 44% (2008) to 90.6% today, a large proportion of this rise is due to bank bail outs, it will be at least partially recovered when the bank shares are sold, we may even make a profit. In the same time the eurozone went from 66.2% to 92.6% how much will you get back?

    With regards to the German Banks, I assume you are aware that 646bn euros were required for bail outs (EU Commission Figures), more than the US had to provide for all their banks. Also remember the requirement on smaller states to protect risky loans made by German banks e.g Ireland& Greece.

    But this is irrelevant, the UK has problems and so does every state in the EU. It is when you say “European unification” that you reveal the issue. This is not something that the UK population want or have ever wanted. Forget UKIP, both the Conservatives and Labour in the terms of EU politics are eurosceptic – no to the euro, no to more integration etc. UKIP, Labour and Conservatives got 12.1m votes, the pro EU LibDems (but even then no further integration) got 1m. Does that look like an electorate that want to be part of European unification ? Cheers

  • Ukraine crisis - killing Euroscepticism in Eastern Europe?

    3 June 2014  18:35, by Richard

    It’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the European Union if it’s main attraction is simply being preferable to Russia. Poland, the Baltic and Eastern states were all notable by their lamentably low voter turnout numbers, espescially Poland (22.7%), the Czech Republic (19.5%) and Slovakia (13%). With the exception of Bulgaria scraping through by a mere 0.2%, none of these countries managed to convince more than 40% of their populations to vote in the EU elections.

  • Dear Britain

    29 May 2014  23:19, by Alexander Peters

    Dear Mr. Iwantout,

    you imply that European societies have “little in common other than geographical proximity” and therefore lack a sound motive for “supranational” union. You also talk - disapprovingly - of “protectionest states which do not fundamentally accept free trade” and of European “over regulation”.

    Has it ever occurred to you, that a desire for a decent society free from class divisions, poverty and reckless profit-making at the expense of the public, might exactly be the kind of fundamental value binding together all European societies (or at least the “continental” ones)? Or, that small nations, which on their own lack the power to preserve such a society in this globalising world, have very good reasons for “supranationalism”? Or, that, given the recent “success” of “Anglo-Saxon” deregulation, Europeans, in sticking to their “over regulation”, just follow common sense?!

    Following neoliberal doctrine the British after 1979 sacrificed their welfare state and traditional industries. What for? The financial gains thus made were lost again during the financial crisis of 2008, when the heavy reliance on financial services created by Thatcher cost Britain´s economy dearly. After 35 years of Thatcherism the average British taxpayer is burdened as badly by public debt as is the average taxpayer of Euro-crisis victim Spain (debt as share of GDP, 2013, UK: 91,4%, Spain: 94,3%, Sweden: 41,5%; EU estimate). But while the average Spaniard at least got welfare and infrarstructure in return for this burden, the average Briton got nothing: he is just subsidising the life-style of reckless City bankers. Before 2008 Germany´s big banks - like you - always complained about the “over regulation” hampering their business; today everybody is happy that they have been prevented from harming Germany as much as British banks harmed Britain.

    As you invoke democracy so often: Commerce not subject to the control and legislation of elected government is truly undemocratic. But this is what a common market - “free trade” - without common politics means. Where exploitation of people or the environment is permitted, production will always be cheaper than where you cannot use child labour, endanger employees or pollute rivers. Insisting that domestic production meets certain standards, while not protecting it from the competition of cheaper imports not meeting them, is meaningless. Also has the common market without a common EU policy on taxation allowed corporations to minimise their tax payments contrary to the wishes of most European voters. Imposing an economic union on a politically disunited area, establishes a tyranny of the lousiest legal standards over a population in its majority abhoring them.

    You talk about “full control” about one´s “destiny”. Isn´t giving such control to Europeans now helplessly exposed to US, Russian and world market pressure exactly what European unification is about?

  • It’s not about them, it’s about YOU

    29 May 2014  16:36, by Iwantout

    So David Cameron and Viktor Orban (EPP) are behind this, and there I was thinking that Mark Rutte , Frederik Reinfeldt (EPP) and other leaders had cast doubts on the appointment of Jean Claude Juncker. But including the Netherlands and Sweden in the article makes the tirade even less credible. You also fail to mention that Angela Merkel (EPP) is less than committed to the Juncker cause.

    I will not comment on the political situation in Hungary other than to say that Orban’s secured 51.5% of the popular vote at these elections, far ahead of the other parties. I also remember that the EPP as a block voted against the Tavares Report so they were presumably content with Orban.

    In UK in the 2011 referendum concerning the possible adoption of the alternative vote style of election, 67.3% wanted to retain ‘first past the post’ (FPTP) system, 430 regions voting this way and only 10 to change. A decisive result I think we can agree. The Conservatives did indeed support the no campaign, Labour was neutral and the Lib Dems campaigned for a yes.

    As a direct result of this failure at the ballot box, the Lib Dems refused to support the recommendations of the Boundary Commission regarding redrawing constituency boundaries. The Boundary Commission is fully independent and goes through this process regularly to address many of the issues you raise. Because Labour currently benefit by 20 – 30 seats from the existing regime they also benefit on this occasion from resisting this redrafting. So, we have democratic reform being blocked by the pro EU party.

    Given this action by the sole pro EU party in the UK to prevent the FPTP system adjusting as it has many times in the past, the size of the majority in favour of FPTP and the fact that such a decision was taken so recently your description of our system as a monstrosity is actually more than a little offensive.

    None of the spitzenkandidaten campaigned in the UK at all, or met a single UK voter on the ground. They were not endorsed by a single main stream UK party so how do they claim any legitimacy in the UK? Cameron’s position is therefore in this context perfectly reasonable. I would also remind you that here he is seen as very much the Europhile.

    With closed party lists it is so difficult to decide who your MEP actually is. However in my region 60% of the MEPs are extremely anti EU I just hope they reflect the wishes of their voters by actively obstructing any moves to further integration impacting on the UK.

    Finally a very great German said “Politics is the art of the possible”, the foisting of a fervently pro federalist on several countries who have unequivocally said NO will result in increased friction. In an EU of nation states, trying to impose an individual who is clearly unacceptable to many countries is a recipe for disaster. Until you have a clear mandate for a federal state from the people of every country this will always be the case.

  • It’s not about them, it’s about YOU

    29 May 2014  12:59, by Richard

    OK. First, it’s pretty obvious that the vast majority of voters did not enter the ballot box thinking about the European Commission. It’s wishful thinking to imagine that anyone but a handful of people went in saying to themselves “hmm, I must vote for the European People’s Party candidate - I want Mr Juncker as Commission President!”. In fact, we need to remember that these candidates were all selected by what is now an outgoing and obsolete Parliament.

    In the recent elections people didnt vote for Schulz, or Verhofstadt or Juncker. They voted for their MEP and that vote was very often based upon national priorities or simply a protest vote against a national party (or in the case of Germany, voting for Angela Merkel, who appeared on all of the election advertisements)

    Moreover, it is time to remove the rose-tinted glasses and see that the European institutions, including the Parliament, are just as prone to horse-trading and backroom deals as anywhere else; you only need to see how the European Parliament President is selected: basically, the two biggest parties have a cosy arrangement to parachute in one of their own and take turns at the job.

    When you think about it - it would be truly bizarre to claim that the candidates named (who are all federalists) in any way reflect a European demos. How could that reflect the vote seen in France or the UK, or in the abysmal turnouts in some countries - like Poland with 22% or Hungary with 13%! These candidates all want “more Europe”. The electorate obviously want anything but “more Europe”

    As to the British electoral system...that is a matter for the British. You don’t like it. Well, we do; the referendum towards the alternative system firmly rejected doing so. The UK has a very long record of a stable and effective democracy. Why change what works? As a UK citizen I often look upon election results in other countries with bewilderment, as various minority parties and outright eccentrics gain seats in Parliament even though no one would wish to have their parties actual govern. Elections are often followed by months of haggling, horse-trading and deals behind closed doors to form often precarious and unstable coalitions that become paralysed or collapse in moments of crisis.

    As to the House of Lords: it is an advisory chamber. The elected chamber, the Commons, always has the final say. However, there are advantages: the Lords comprises members of very long experience in dealing with the scrutiny of legislation. Moreover, the Lords do not constantly have to think about the next election. This means they can resist populist measures - their main function is to be able to tell the elected chamber “think again!”. They do not need to worry about being popular or unpopular.

  • European governments, citizens have voted – now respect their vote!

    28 May 2014  18:22, by Holyrood

    Thanks for the article. Just to point out that you have dramatically oversimplified the aftermath of the UK general election in May 2010 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_2010). As the results gave no party an outright majority, and in keeping with British constitutional tradition, the sitting Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown had the right to try to form a government. In fact, the Monarchy insisted on maintaining this protocol (http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/may/11/labour-liberal-democrats-coalition-recriminations). The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats held coalition talks, but Labour and the Liberal Democrats held talks as well (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_Kingdom_government_formation). Only when it became clear that he could not form a government did Gordon Brown resign as Prime Minister and advise the Queen to ask David Cameron to form one (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8675913.stm). Your claim, therefore, that the Queen invited David Cameron over Gordon Brown simply because the Conservatives had a plurality of seats is incorrect. This doesn’t affect your argument very much, but it’s nevertheless important to get the facts right.

  • European governments, citizens have voted – now respect their vote!

    27 May 2014  23:38, by Iwantout

    For the information of your readers, the spitzenkandidaten chose not to campaign in the UK. They did not make any effort to meet us or understand our views. Additionally none of them were supported by any of the UK parties. In other words it is really very difficult to see how they can claim any legitimacy at all in this country as prospective President of the Commission.

    Regardless, I sincerely hope that the individual finally selected is enthusiastic in his /her attempts to increase integration, much like Jean Claude Junker for example. It will do nothing other than increase levels of distrust of the EU and act as yet another push towards the exit for us with our own politicians no longer able to stand in the way of the will of the people.

  • A call to arms, JEF has a war to win

    27 May 2014  22:58, by Iwantout

    “Anyone who cares about statistics will investigate and find that we pro-Europeans win. Every! Single! Time!” A joke I assume? A favourite EU zombie statistic is that 3.5 million UK jobs depend on EU membership. This ‘fact’ has been used extensively by Mr Clegg and others, it has been repeatedly denied by the author (Professor Iain Begg LSE), of the 2001 report from which it is routinely reported out of context

    ‘Fact’, the single market is a huge boost to the EU. Gunter Verhuegen the German Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry and presumably therefore with full access to the statistics estimated in 2006 that the Single Market was worth 160 bn euros to members. He then estimated the cost of the EU single market regulations at 560 bn euro. By 2007 the same commissioner was estimating the cost of the EU administrative burden at 3.5% of GDP for all member countries. I haven’t seen any mass burnings of directives?

    ‘Fact’, Britain needs to be in the EU to maintain its influence. With 12% of EU population the UK has 8% of the qualified majority votes and 9.7% of the MEPs. The EZ countries already have sufficient states and population to pass any legislation by QMV regardless of the views of non-euro states. But they have only 217 of the 255 votes QMV votes required. Inevitably that will come to pass. At that point the UK (and any other non-euro states) has lost any claim to self-government in the areas covered by QMV. i.e. it has no influence at all. EFTA countries have a seat on the meetings discussing regulation of the single market and are able to influence the decisions in these meetings

    ‘Fact’, because the EU represents the UK (and all other member states) on a global level the UK has more global influence. Well outside the EU the UK would represent itself. It would not be in the position where its interests were over ridden by other EU states. So we would regain our seat on the World Trade Organisation, International Telecommunication Union, World Intellectual Property Organisation, World Health Organisation etc. and strive to get the best deal for the UK. The EU is negotiating for its own position as dictated by the wishes of 27 other countries with associated internal compromises, not in UK interests

    People don’t dream of the EU any more (why is it Europhiles can’t differentiate between a geographical continent and a political construct?) they have nightmares about it. They wonder how the EU managed to oversee a collapse of 26% in the size of the Greek economy, why Cypriots had to give their savings to pay for a bail out, why Iceland which collapsed with worse debts than Ireland now has unemployment at 5.9% and annual growth of 3.8% while Ireland has figures of 11.7% and -0.7% respectively after protecting foreign banks. (All figures from respective national statistical bodies)

    Don’t for one minute think that the rest of us don’t have dreams as well and will work to communicate them.

  • Dear Britain

    27 May 2014  17:51, by Iwantout

    Artus Galiay,

    The Oxford English Dictionary defines a populist as “a person who seeks to represent or appeal to the interests of ordinary people.” Surely for a democrat representing the interests of ordinary people is the major goal rather than serving a small elite ?

    Your view that those you term populists supply simplistic answers to complex questions has an element of truth in it. Given that most people are not prepared to spend the necessary time and effort to acquaint themselves with a better understanding of economic / political issues and the media deals in sound bites or superficial reports etc. it is almost inevitable. Of course the same is true of the euro elite who have their own half-truths and bizarre simplistic views. The creation of the euro without any underlying enforced structure, fiscal organisation or public discussion and approval is perhaps the best example of a simplistic view with no understanding of the consequences. (Imagine “Hey we want a fully integrated US of E, I know let’s join our currencies together. Oh only one state actually meets the qualifications for membership as set out in the legal treaty, never mind let’s just do it anyway, what could go wrong”.)

    The outside World is more than the US or any other state. Outside the EU we would be able to make our own trade arrangements (remember the UK alone of all EU states exports more to the rest of the World than to other EU states), the Commission itself says that 90% of World demand will be generated outside the EU in the next 10 – 15 years. Yet the EU finds it extremely difficult to make trade deals due to protectionist states which do not fundamentally accept free trade and who condemn the ‘Anglo-Saxons’. A deal with the US if it ever occurs is still years away, and one with China has not even begun to be negotiated. (Iceland has managed to obtain a deal with China already !)

    Big is better, try telling that to Yugoslavia, or any of the other states over history where disparate groups with no common demos have been forced together and subsequently exploded. I don’t see a mad rush around the World for states with little in common other than geographical proximity to start to form supranational entities, do you ?

    I want honesty in debates. I do not want political ambitions wrapped up and hidden behind spurious economic arguments. I want politicians to campaign both for and against the EU and then put the matter to the people with a very clear understanding of their ultimate vision for either a simple trading association, a looser confederation of nation states or a fully integrated federal state. I don’t want a creeping process where each step is dismissed by those implementing them as unimportant and not worthy of rigorous examination or public consultation. Finally I do not want to see the rise of fascist or extreme left wing groups because a large proportion of the population are ignored by leaders.


  • A call to arms, JEF has a war to win

    27 May 2014  16:17, by Valéry

    Excellent article. The so-called pro-European activists must stop to act according to the academic attitude that facts and statistics will convince anyone.They also need to stop thinking the people must be “educated” and then will take the right decisions. There is aneed not only for an argument calling to emotion but also of arguments that address issues rather than simply encouraging people to vote.

    « We need to grow, together » : yes ! It is useless to grow and win the argument in a state when the battle is lost in another. We must use the communication technologies available today to strengthen the European level of our organisations. For the first time, Jeffers and friends of JEF where able to listent o the JEF president live for three hours on sunday night. JEF and UEF must develop direct contacts between the European level and its individual members not only because we can but also because each member can now contribute in spreading the message. We need more direct participation and involvement. FCs and sections are not enough. There should be a European-wide online community of federalist activists - not only on facebook - there must be a direct communication from JEF and UEF leadership to the individual members (but not only in English) - there must be direct involvement of the members in appointing and supporting the European level.

  • Dear Britain

    26 May 2014 21:41, by Artus Galiay

    Dear Iwantout,

    I can imagine how happy you must be, following the results of Sunday’s election. I am a europhile but I am also a democrat, so I perfectly respect people’s votes, and if they would rather see their country as 100% independent, I respect it. However, because I know things are not as simple as “who rules the UK?”, how false and simplistic UKIP’s arguments are, and how UKIP is exploiting people’s credulity, this really saddens me.

    This is what Marine Le Pen and Nigel Farage have in common, and this is how I understand the concept of “populism” (which can be rather imprecise I admit): populists obliterate the complexity of politics and public administration by arguing that things can be simply done and go one way or the other. Arguments such as “Let’s get out of the EU so that having less regulations boosts business” (Farage) or “let’s get out of the euro and everything will be fine” (Le Pen) both go in that direction. This is even more the case as Le Pen and Farage represent rather different types of populism, but they end up adopting similar arguments, behaviours and strategies.

    We europhiles do agree that Europe needs change, few deny that. But we know from history and experience that populists’ response are unrealistic and unachievable. They are basically telling people that the best way to reach the top of the mountain is by taking the simple downward-sloping path they are proposing. Hence, I am not criticizing people who voted UKIP (we all have our reasons) - except if they did so because they are xenophobic or racist. More than that, I blame UKIP for lying to its own voters.

    You say the UK would rather be “facing the outside world” than be in the EU? Well, please go ahead, and when you realize that the US President would rather meet with the Brazilian president or the President of the European Commission than the UK Prime Minister, that outside world will seem rather distant.

    The big difference between us europhiles and you eurosceptics is that we actually know what we want: a stronger united Europe, because it provides more economic and political weight, which will allow Europeans to live better. We apply a very simple rule of politics and economics: big is better. Now, what do YOU guys actually stand for? The Nation-State is a severely challenged concept since globalisation accelerated, driven by the numerical revolution. If you have anything interesting to offer, we are happy to listen. If not, you might as well reconsider who lost the argument in the court of credibility.

    All the best,

    Artus Galiay

  • The Euro is alive, long live the Euro!

    26 May 2014  08:14, by Iwantout

    This entire article repeatedly makes the single point “the euro is likely to fail, but only if we don’t manage to build a political union.” I agree, but I wonder if you could please point out to me where the ordinary people were ever asked about being placed in such a union ?

    Is your position simply that the euro was created without any reference to the people and that because it exists it must continue to exist regardless of the damage it has done, is doing and will continue to do to people and states who are vulnerable to it? As Professor Luis Garicano has commented in the Observer “This euro has converted developed countries into developing ones” (01/04/12).

  • Dear Britain

    26 May 2014  08:12, by Iwantout

    Europhiles have spent months telling us how important these election are and that they will form the shape of the EU in the years to come, but now all of a sudden they are not about the EU (please try to remember that the EU and Europe are two totally different items) but about how Britain sees itself. I assume that this is also the case for France, Denmark and all the other countries where the Eurosceptic parties won the election.

    Well it seems that the voters have decided that they see the UK as a strong country that wants a close friendly trading arrangement with the EU but that they want full control over their own country and destiny returned to them. It seems that they believe that facing outwards to the World is more in our interest than being part of an inward looking declining economic block which is strangling itself with over regulation in every field. A block more over that without any mandate at all has for years pushed an agenda for political union and when they have been forced to ask the voters their view has been content to simply ignore answers that they did not want to hear while still claiming to be democratic!

    British voters have stated that they do not trust the political elite in either the EU or the UK and have had the temerity to say so. If I might, I would suggest you turn up the abuse aimed at the voters that supported UKIP, it has after all worked so well so far. Calling millions of ordinary people ignorant, xenophobic, racist, Little Englanders and that ultimate insult ’populists’despite a great body of serious literature and evidence which questions the fundamental claims of the EU only confirms our view that those in favour of the EU have long since lost the argument in the court of democracy. The number of people who want a political federal state in the UK is vanishingly small and I seriously doubt it is much bigger across most of the EU.

    Solve all your problems, put it to citizens across the EU, “Do you want to be part of a single federal state with a single central government ?” That really would be a vote about the EU wouldn’t it, it would certainly get people engaged with the entire EU debate and perhaps increase turn out above 43.1%..

    As a final note regarding your last two paragraphs; how did you arrive at the position that being against the EU is ‘evil’ and please remember that mirrors can distort. Don’t worry I did vote and so did many of my family and friends.

  • Goodbye Spain, Hello Europe?

    25 May 2014  18:25, by Jose

    Catalan and Spanish Nationalisms are both opposite to federalism.

    The article is a bit biased. Certainly the separatism has nothing to do with the unfortunate words and actions of Education Minister Ignacio Wert. It is a forgotten movement from the XIX century fueled now by certain politicians which blame the crisis to the central government, they want to increase their own power, and citizens are tired of suffering and want to believe that another reality is possible.

    The independence of catalonia (including south of france, alghero (IT), Valencian Community and the balearic islands, which non of them agree) responds to a plan orchestrated since the end of the Franco’s dictatorship and the regain of the democracy in the beginning on the 80’s.

    The perfect example is an elastic band. With Franco, only Spanish flag and language were allowed, and fake history was taugh. Today, after 30 years of the nationalist ruling in Catalonia, the situation during the dictatorship has been reversed: Spanish language is no longer being taugh at school, and children get indoctrinated in fake history as well.

    The reality today is that this movement is harming more than doing good. I am from the Valencian Community, speak proudly Catalan (called Valencian in my region) and I care about preserving our roots and identity. But fooling citizens into decimononic conceptions of never existing nations, creating borders were they are not, and putting brothers against each other is the oposit of my notion of federalism.

    It is not so easy as it may seem from ouside: powerful goliath is bad and people struggling for democracy. It is more about manipulation, deception and the confrontation of the Spanish Nationalism of Madrid against the Catalan Nationalism of Barcelona. None of them defending the Federalist approach.

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