Scotland has not been a richer part of the United Kingdom than England, but has gained great economic opportunities through oil extraction in the North Sea. Large oil revenues could accrue to Scotland through a division of state. Northern Italy with Milan is far richer than central and southern parts of the country. Here, the regionalist party Lega Nord claims that the north subsidizes mafia-dominated parts of the country through a corrupt political elite in Rome.
Many of the most active regionalist movements in Europe are to be found in economically advanced regions with a relatively high growth rate. At the same time, these regions have been politically dominated by more central parts of the country to which they belong. This has been called rank imbalance – high on the national ladder economically, but low politically. It has been used as one of the explanations for separatism and independence demands.
An additional factor is that these are regions with a strong historical and cultural identity . Thus, the separatist movements can link a long story of past greatness and repression to current complaints.
4: Regionalism in waves
The regional independence demands and the separatist parties have varying support over time. They can lie down for long periods, then flourish with wider support and stronger demands. Political and economic conditions help to explain the variation.
Tightening measures and an intensified feeling of oppression can contribute to sharper resistance. On the other hand, new opportunities such as oil discoveries or charismatic leaders can also give separatism wind in its sails: Indulgence from the central government can give more flavor. Here, only concrete studies of the individual region can provide answers as to which mechanisms apply.
Economic setbacks can also stimulate regional resistance, because transfers to other parts of the state’s territory become heavier and feel more unreasonable.
Both impulses from outside and leadership inside can be decisive. Many regional movements gained increased support in the late 1960s, to international slogans about local democracy and colonial liberation. Many of the regions in Europe defined themselves as internal colonies and drew impulses from the general colonial settlement. At the same time, they depended on regional leaders who had appeal and could play on the right strings.
The population in the regions has gradually become quite complex . In Northern Ireland, the majority are Protestant and support the union with the rest of Britain. By many Catholics, this is considered a majority created by demographic colonization from outside, while Catholics represent the more original, Northern Irish population. Many rich regions also in other European countries have had significant immigration from other areas. In other words, a change in the composition of the population may weaken support for separatist movements.
Even in periods of regional mobilization, it is highly uncertain whether a possible referendum will provide a majority for full independence. The separatist parties are usually not majority parties or the first election itself, not among voters who support them in the case. Many will also give way to full secession, but would rather have a more far-reaching internal self-government. Here, there are different views that apply, with a changing center of gravity over time.
In the wake of the financial and unemployment crisis in Europe, regional separatism has been unusually strong . In Catalonia, there have been large demonstrations for full independence, and the regional separatist party has gained increased support. However, the government in Madrid opposes a regional referendum on the issue. The Scottish National Party is divided on the issue of its own state, but has received a British promise of a referendum during 2014. Both in Flanders and in northern Italy, separatism is stronger under the impression of the economic crisis .
5: Financial crisis – euro crisis
According to ALLCOUNTRYLIST, the euro was introduced as a common currency for a number of EU countries in 1999. 17 of the 27 member states are currently part of the eurozone, with a common monetary unit and central bank.
Many experts warned against introducing a single monetary unit in an area as complex as the EU. The new single currency was introduced primarily for political reasons, as a sign of ever closer cooperation, although many also saw economic benefits from a common currency and interest rate policy.
The problem was – and is – that the euro could become a straitjacket if economic crises affected the euro area differently. Participating countries had different (s)
- business structure- varying degrees of high technology, agricultural sector, financial industry, heavy industry, extraction and raw material activities, etc.
- economic competitiveness- some countries had a lot of highly skilled well-educated labor as well as modern companies, others had less
- economic growth rate- some countries had a high GDP growth over a long period of time; other a smaller,
- size of public sector- some countries had a high level of taxes and duties and could thus finance more public activities in education, care, health and transport. Others had lower levels.
- welfare schemes- some states had a larger welfare safety net than others; they provide more to various welfare benefits such as social security and pensions.
In addition, there were many other differences. Many of the differences mentioned above, which applied at the turn of the millennium, we find again today.