Thursday, 7 August 2008

The EU's role in encouraging nationalism

CIF today carries a piece by Ian Buruma examining the possibility of the disintegration of Belgium, which touches on attitudes toward separatism, particularly within the EU, that facilitate the dismembering of nation states. The article is a pretty anaemic effort if I’m honest, but it raises some points worth touching upon.

Chiefly Buruma is correct to identify that the European Union is playing a contradictory role in stimulating separatism which could eventually work to its detriment. The idea of a ‘Europe of the regions’ in concert with the promise of financial subvention, encourages the notion that otherwise unsustainable regions can achieve independence, either within the EU, or at least under some manner of tutelage. Fuelling the motors of ethnic and linguistic nationalism could however begin to work in a very different fashion, inimical to the EU’s centralising project.

“Why, for example, should the prosperous Germans continue to have their tax money pooled to assist the Greeks or the Portuguese?”

Buruma identifies the irony of the European Union playing a role in facilitating nationalism.

“The EU now seems to be encouraging the very forces that postwar European unity was designed to contain.”

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