From a european crisis to a more united Europe

Europe in a moment of major crisis. Crisis means opportunity. At the end of this crisis Europe should become (if it wants to still be relevant internationally) a real federation of nations.

One of the biggest obstacles for this are the state nations (France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, ) which were created around the 18th century. Those were times of expansion, colonization and protectionism but nowadays we should move towards a federal Europe of the nations. The european nations must become a part of something bigger. I do believe that feeling European citizenship before being, in my case, Catalan is what we should aim for.

This process has already started, on one hand the current crisis has been caused by creating a currency union without a fiscal and political union, because the fear of nationalistic states to give up control. The imbalances between the different economical cycles without the tools to correct them through a unified fiscal policy is one of the crisis of the southern european countries.

Secondly, there is also, the north and south crisis. The northern countries, understandably, don’t want to keep subsidizing the south and have setup firewalls. The south must change its ways, tackle corruption and a different approach to working ethics.

Finally, the internal expansion. Catalonia, Scotland, Flanders, Wales, Euskadi, are some of the european nations still trapped within the borders of the old medieval state-nations. These nations need their voice to be heard in equal rights with all the other European nations. Without them Europe is not complete. And by allowing their voice to be heard Europe will show democratic respect to all cultures and nations within it. Internal expansion must become just as normal as divorce is now in civil law.

This will be the challenge of our time, to implement all these changes. To become Europeans before Catalan, French or German but still maintaining our culture and identity. If we can achieve this Europe will be in a position to be decisive power in the world and to influence. Otherwise a fragmented Europe will become irrelevant and impoverished.

I like the European lifestyle. Europeans have fought for centuries to achieve social advances and people’s rights and in my experience it is the continent in which people have the best chance of achieving a good standard of living. The model is not perfect, it is also very uneven depending on the country and is certainly threatened by the current crisis but is one to be taken into account.

To save it we must move forward. Towards a more fair society. We have to prove that this model is sustainable. I believe in Europe. Will Europeans be able to drop their nationalistic prejudices and become a united Europe?

Former Scottish Minister, Jim Mather, in Barcelona

Very interesting initiative by the Cercle Català de Negocis, a lobby of Catalan Businesspeople for the independence of Catalonia. They invited Jim Mather, the former Scottish Minister of Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, to give a conference named: “Why “small” means “more” in the wealth of nations” especially aimed at Catalan Businesspeople at the Universitat de Barcelona.

Out of the main concepts he spoke about (link in Catalan) and from an interview to online newspaper Nació Digital (link in Catalan), I’d highlight three concepts that apply to both countries:

  1. For small countries like Scotland and Catalonia the best way to take advantage of the opportunities globalisation brings is to have their own state. In fact, out of the 20 richest countries in the world, 11 are small.
  2. Both in Scotland and in Catalonia the unionist points of view are based in negative (based on fear) or emotional reasons. There are no solid arguments for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom or for Catalonia in Spain
  3. Convincing the businesspeople is a key factor to advance towards independence. In Catalonia’s case the middle classes are already favourable to independence. But not so much the businesspeople, who are still scared of a negative reaction in the Spanish market when independence arrives. Luckily, this trend seems to be slowly changing, and the CCN are doing a great job in demistifying those fears by analysing the actual economical impact independence would have and its advantages

This is a great initiative and it is extremely important that the pro independence movements both in Scotland and Catalonia cooperate since we’ll have to go down similar roads to become states inside the European Union sooner rather than later.

However, I’m quite envious since in Scotland the SNP are taking the lead and working from the institutions openly for independence while in Catalonia CiU are slowly being pushed by society towards more pro independence positions.

photo by twak