The European Disunion: The Richest Increasingly Want To Fragment From The Poorest

Tyler Durden's picture

Europe, and its apparent Union, is rapidly fragmenting as tensions mount on large and small scales across all of its regions and nations. From Scotland's independence referendum to Flanders' autonomy and now Catalonian separatism on the rise once more, this is no longer a north-south divide, but a rich/poor, debt/no-debt divide. As the NY Times notes, this seems to emerge from the ebbing of the concept of shared sovereignty (richer - or less debt-saturated - nations increasing anger at having to bail out their poorer neighbors), or as Stratfor describes it - the paradox of integration - as this apparently 'good thing' means vastly different things depending on which side of the fence you sit on. Now, as Russia Today reports, Venice is pushing for independence from Rome and there is increasing independence movements in Sicily and Sardinia. As old battles and historical grievance come back to the fore, "when it comes to the crunch, while money may be the catalyst (who commits what to central budgets); it is, as the NY Times puts it, "the meta-narrative and emotions of 'do we feel oppressed?... as the ghosts of history return." From Bannockburn to WWII, "Europe seems shakier; some of the taboo questions are coming out again!"


Stratfor On The Fragmentation Of Europe (and the paradox of integration) - great overall summary of the tensions facing the dis-union:


and specifically addressing the rise of independence across the union and the drivers (both economic and socio-political) of such uprising:



NY Times: Europe's Richer Regions Want Out

Catalonia may be the catalyst for a renewed wave of separatism in the European Union, with Scotland and Flanders not far behind. The great paradox of the European Union, which is built on the concept of shared sovereignty, is that it lowers the stakes for regions to push for independence.



While a post-national European Union may be emerging out of the euro zone crisis, with a drive for more fiscal union and more centralized control over national budgets and banks, the crisis has accelerated calls for independence from member countries’ richer regions, angry at having to finance poorer neighbors.


Artur Mas, the Catalan president, recently shook Spain and the markets with a call for early regional elections and promised a referendum on independence from Spain, although Madrid considers it illegal. Scotland is planning an independence referendum for the autumn of 2014. The Flemish in Flanders have achieved nearly total autonomy, both administrative and linguistic, but still resent what they consider to be the holdover hegemony of the French-speakers of Wallonia and the Brussels elite, emotions that will be on display in provincial and communal elections Oct. 14.


There are countless things that hold unhappy countries, like marriages, together — shared history, shared wars, shared children, shared enemies. But the economic crisis in the European Union is also highlighting old grievances.


Many in Catalonia and Flanders, for example, argue that they pay significantly more into the national treasury than they receive, even as national governments cut public services...




Now the Brussels director for the Open Society Institute, Ms. Grabbe said the key variable for separatism is less a matter of money than of historical grievance and language.


A lot of the pressure is about revisiting old settlements and defeats and agreements about who commits what to central budgets,” ...


But the crisis has also presented a real conundrum for regional leaders, because it has undermined the attraction of the European Union. ...


As euroskepticism rises in the United Kingdom, these issues have come to bedevil Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, whose slogan is “Scotland in Europe.” The 2014 referendum is supposedly timed to the 700th anniversary of a decisive episode in the first war for Scottish independence, the Battle of Bannockburn.


European Union has traditionally been popular with the leaders of these regions... “They see strengthening the power of Brussels as diminishing and relativizing national governments, a process accelerated by the single market in Europe,” Mr. Janning said. Many of them have formed regional groupings that bypass the central government — Catalonia, along with Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Rhône-Alpes in France and Lombardy in Italy, for example, are regional powerhouses that call themselves “the four motors for Europe” and together have a bigger G.D.P. than Spain.


“But now,” Mr. Janning went on to say, “comes the crisis,” which presents a dilemma for the regions, because it also means a re-concentration of power by national capitals trying to cut the national budget. “Now eyes are again on Madrid and Rome and Paris and Berlin,” he said, “so regional opportunities are squeezed, and the affluent are made to pay.”


While European leaders believe the answer to the crisis is “more Europe,” which would ordinarily please separatist regions, European voters and taxpayers are shaken, skeptical and angry. Mr. Janning told me: “These regional entities and leaders need to be on the right side of public sentiment and feel close to public opinion and regional identity. So now they’re torn.”




There are also larger anxieties at play...


European (and NATO) enlargement to the east was a major accomplishment, but it distorted the cores of both organizations, especially the European Union. And now with the new crisis of the euro, “Europe seems shakier, there’s so much anxiety,” Ms. Grabbe said. “Some of these taboo questions,” she said, “are coming out again,” with economic, legal and ethnic trouble re-emerging in the new states, like Hungary and Romania, and new divisions in the old ones.



and the latest protest begins in Italy as Venice (and Sicily and Sardinia potentially) begin to demand independence


Russia Today: Venetian protesters demand independence from Rome

Protesters have gathered in front of the central government in Veneto, Italy to demand an immediate referendum on the region’s independence from Rome. The reason is mainly economic, according to the rally’s organizer.




The situation here is almost explosive...


The territory would be known as the "Repubblica Veneta," and would consist of around five million people...


The main reason is economic. We are in a situation worse than a colony because the tax rate in Italy is the highest the world and our services are extremely poor. We have 20 billion euros missing from our regional resources each year and that’s unbearable,” Pizzati said.


The push for independence shouldn’t come as a total surprise – Venice has only been part of Italy for 146 years.




“It can more than survive on its own. It will be the second richest country in Europe,” he said.




Sicily and Sardinia have strong movements for independence too…soon after us, it’s going to happen to other regions of Italy…and probably in other places in Europe like Belgium or Spain,” he said.

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GMadScientist's picture

Balkanization for everybody!!!

AldousHuxley's picture

whole idea of a union is that elites and slaves both benefit from the relationship together.

slaves have to accept lower status for financing and support by elites

elites have to shoulder responsibility for bringing in the money and general welfare



Rossalgondamer's picture

I feel you've nailed it, minus two related points.

Enforce fiat currency, and

Apply ink remover generously to elite 'shoulders'

YuropeanImbecille's picture

I do not know what you mean with the "poor" but most people are trashy scum worthless animals. so seriously fuck them.


I know I will get 99% red little communist arrows, but seriously you chose to be scum!

Bicycle Repairman's picture

What makes you so special?  Why do you deign to come here?

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Well, him and us being on ZH implies we are well informed which does make us somewhat special at least.

frenzic's picture

More like 2SD, some 70%. Mr elitist. Maybe you are talking about Americans.

dark pools of soros's picture

hey middle manager, you sound grumpy, time to fire someone soon right? and put on another 30 pounds for the holidays ya shitball

rotagen's picture

The modern day "elites" would benefit from a bullet to the head.

Urban Redneck's picture

It's not separatism, it's SELF DETERMINATION!

and it serves the fucktard fascist federalists right...

Abraxas's picture

Very perceptive, if I may say so, Mr/Ms Urban Redneck. It's separatism if Kurds want their own country, or the Palestinians want theirs back. It's a completely another matter if the Kosovo Albanians want their state. Now, why is that?

Urban Redneck's picture

All depends on the perspective.  But weapons have a way of changing the muppet commentators dictated word choice- like with the IRA & ETA, color and religion are irrelevant while maintenance of wealth & power by the elites are critical.  In the case of the Kurds it all depends on which side of the border you stand, whether a person regarded as a terrorist or self determinist in the eyes of the State.

whoisjohngalt11's picture

That is their true plan not to unite but to divide so that they then can unite by for those who have been divided can be conquered. i don't know who they are , but i see their plan..

falak pema's picture

If the richest want to fragment from the poorest they are no longer european, they have betrayed the spirit of the Renaissance and of Enlightenment, they have become 20 th century Americans. 

THere is no more to say. Its the last metro to hell. 

How "greed is good" is now eating into the soul of first world to the very core. Decadence galore! 

Winston Churchill's picture


These divisions were always there.What was false was  papering over them in some

eurocrats wet dream.If the 300 year union between England and Scotland fails,what

chance a untied Europe.The Scots actually did well out of that in the last 100 years,both

financially and in disproportionate political power in Westminster.

A united Europre was merely a transitory shared delusion.

Reality bites back.

falak pema's picture

you sir are talking like your avatar. Enuff said. Divide and rule, half naked fakir, never will I undo our Empire, and between Europe and the Usa I will always chose the USA.

All this is his legacy. I don't buy the current Euro kleptocracy. But I do subscribe to a greater vision where we retain the essential lessons of W1 & WW2. Never to tempt the devil again in Armageddon. It requires compromise and convergence. 

That is non negotiable if we have learnt the lessons of our collective past.

This poster is just pouring oil to confort the kleptocracy cabal of Pax Americana and its relays in the City. 

This eurobashing by Anglo shills is totally unwarranted. The European project is necessary, even if the current Anglo conspiracy of runaway financial oligarchy has caught the eurocrats with their pants down.

We have to recover the essential once the storm has passed. Its the demise of current PAx Americana which will clear up the past legacy of a forty year empire that has morphed into this dyspotia of today.

disabledvet's picture

One could argue it is the failure of Pas Americana that is causing the EZ to "dissemble." (which of course is literally done when trying to explain the actions of the the surge in value of the Euro to me is the "tell" that the gig is up for some "grand unification scheme"...but is that really so bad with the USA wilding in the Middle East? Aren't all we saying here is that Europe has learned from all its wars of aggression while the USA has not? sure seems like it to me...and given the Marshal Plan which was a Plan for Europe to rebuild itself and learn from its ultimate mistake...without imposition by the USA of an imperial authority but indeed the exact opposite (NATO is a collective enterprise...the exact opposite of the now failed Warsaw Pact)...and General Marshal and the creator of these institutions (Dean Acheson et al) look quite pre-escient indeed. Unless you want to argue that the USA's approach to extolling the virtues of freedom as practiced on the homeland are something that must be emulated of course....

sun tzu's picture

Cut the crap with your statist bullshit. Because someone doesn't want to be ruled by a gang of tyrants who live 2000 miles away, they are greedy and backwards?

In your twisted shitbrain, the Europeans were greedy and backwards because they refused to be ruled by Hitler and then Stalin. 

The EU is only necessary for the tyrants and bankers who want to rule over Europe with an iron fist while pillaging from the peons.

lakecity55's picture

1 currency to rule them all

and in the darkness, bind them.

Haus-Targaryen's picture


I'm not Anglo -- I'm German.  


See, there are a few sheeple left over here that can think independently as well, but like she (lady in the video) so elloquently said, until local politics catches up with national ones, we will bankrupt ourselves trying to apologize to a bunch of lazy worthless countries for something none of us, and none of them were alive for.  

odatruf's picture

She also said that the Germans are afraid that the end of the Euro will mean the end of Germany's export economy.  Why should that be true? Sure, I understand that currency exchange plays a part, but look at the facts. Prior to the single currency in 99/00, German exports were growing at a healthy rate. So, why would now be different?  So long as the products were competitive and of high quality, they would do fine.  As another data point, look at the UK, who is not on the Euro but shares almost all other market similarities . If having one's own currency would be a death knell, then we should see it there, but we don't.  UK exports are growing nicely and in relative parity with the growth of German exports, so where is the Euro advantage?

Well, ok you might say, but the UK currency (GBP) must have dropped in value relatively speaking in order to keep the export levels high.  You might think that, but it isn't true.  The data proves it.  It also proves that prior to the Euro conversion, the Pound to Mark conversion was pretty stable as well. Meaning that the internal economic conditions count for more than the external ones when thinking about exports.

Yes, there are many asterisks and exceptions to my argument, but the thesis holds.  Germany's export economy would be fine and any loss of trade would be more than made up for by the gain in cutting the rest of Europe lose. And it would be to the rest of Europe's benefit, too.


See here for UK exports:

Here for German exports:

And here to look at currency values for pre and post Euro values:


knukles's picture

Oh Jesus, not more Eurotrashhypocrisy. 

kaiserhoff's picture

Rooks rike we're stuck with Commie-Tyler tonight.


jonjon831983's picture

Inevitably things expand and contract in cycles... we'll see what happens though, but prosperity for all only hides past grievances.


I wonder how many in Venice really call for independence, just looking at a cropped photo it does not look like many.

ShortTheUS's picture




francis_sawyer's picture

If Apartheid is what you desire... Move to Israel...

Sheriff Douchenik from AZ's picture

A shitload better than post-apartheid South Africa libtool.

Solarman's picture

Or maybe to Egypt and open up a bible study or demand equal rights for the Copts, who by the way lived in Egypt 700 years before the Muslims.  You are such a douche.  Arabs live better in Israel than they do in their own countres. Have you been to Lebanon or Jordan?  The love for the Palestinians overflows.  HaHaHaHa. Get off of this Jew hating misinformation campaign.

sun tzu's picture

Strange the leftist infatuation with the Palestinians while virtually ignoring the plight of the south Sudanese, Coptics, Kurds and many other groups who are much worse off.

Vigilante's picture

All Libtards/Lefties/Loonies are keeping a watchful eye on Israel..

at the same time embracing every tyrannical tinpot dictator...

...their latest love du jour...Ahmadinejad...

Viva Israhell bitches.

Atomizer's picture



07-03-12 - STATISM - Part I I- Charles Hugh Smith 

Banks Make Huge Profits From Central Banks, But Who Will Bail Out Central Banks? 

Special interest groups are working hard to develop mass conformity thru global acceptance in the new world thinking.    ;>)


debtor of last resort's picture

It's not new, in Belgium the same thing a few years ago

debtor of last resort's picture

By the way, culture, soevereignity, diversity and brutal 'get your greedy fingers out of my neighbourhood' are THE perfect weapons against the usual suspects. In case you didn't notice.

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Figures in article above are really wrong for Belgium, so is the map, so is much of the article

But Stratfor and NY Times are both CIA bullsh*t companies ... and American journalists usually do not know shite about Europe ... Plus they are always trying to sell 'European crisis' ideas to distract from hell in America

Brussels is not part of Flanders, tho the map above makes it look like that. Belgium is not '69% Flanders'. There are around 60% of Belgians natively speaking Dutch, but some of them are in Brussels or French-speaking Wallonia. There is a small German-speaking region too.

Belgium and Canada have been the same since the 1970s ... two main languages, always talking about splitting up, never doing it ... It is how we are, tavern-talk

There is nothing wrong with a country where regional identity is stronger than the national one ... USA used to be that way too till Abraham Lincoln's war killed 600,000 Americans to make it One Imperial Nation

Europe is more complex and different, but there is a heritage of the Enlightenment that really means something all across here ... no death penalty, some sense of human rights for everyone

We have almost no one in prison on the European Continent, very little police state or judicial harassment ... in the north-West Continent there is essentially zero poverty among legal residents ... still the best place to live in the world

We have a Byzantine political structure that is difficult for non-Europeans to grasp ... but Stratfor or NY Times are not the people to explain anything about Europe

Pants McPants's picture

Thanks.  Your comments help me better understand Europe....I'm a US citizen, but will forever remain interested in how other countries/nations/civilizations work.

debtor of last resort's picture

Now i can run and hide. With only one state, i have to keep running.

debtor of last resort's picture

Weet ik. Ik ken enkele Belgen, van zeer dichtbij. Maar zoals Vlamingen Walen kennen, zo kennen Spanjaarden de Hollanders of Belgen niet. Die culturen liggen mijlenver uit elkaar, wat ik wil zeggen is dat de Belgische vriendschap tussen noord en zuid absoluut niet kan worden vertaald naar een Europese versie. De gevoelens die het vormen van een regering in Belgie lang hebben gedwarsboomd zijn vriendschappelijk en cultureel. Dus houdbaar. Op Europees niveau zijn ze onhoudbaar. Enneh, geen couponnekes kopen he?

frenzic's picture

Ehm. Check your records on the police state thingy. You're not Dutch I gather. Just last week they digitised my motherfucking fingerprints in order for me to get a new rfid equipped passport. There has been a slew of court cases on this and TPTB have just stopped storing that data in what they cleverly call a decentralised database but nobody is talking about the backups that are made AND stored at the issuing party (local government) on account of another law on administration. There are camera's everywhere. I live downtown and just around the corner there is a place where they stash some 30 to 50 brownshirt (well blue actually, like the ties of the ruling class) assholes with no training but all the rights to bug and fine you. That place was not there two years ago and the police station is only a couple of hundred meters away. We have choppers and planes constantly buzzing the area. Shit is getting fucked up fast.

BigDuke6's picture

Goddam right!
Amsterdam is a changed place these days
It's a big effort to get baked now

sun tzu's picture

You spew a ton of bullshit. The EU countries criminalize speech. People go to jail for saying things that are not politically correct. That's what the USSR did when it was around. It's basically against the law in many EU countries to defend yourself against criminals. 

Why do you select the wealthy northwest to point out that there is zero poverty? How are the Europeans doing in Greece, Italy, and Spain? Do they not matter?

That byzantine political structure was set up so that bankers like you can steal from the people and keep them from rebelling. First it was Ireland, then Greece, then Spain. Next will be Portugal and Italy. 

Zwelgje's picture

There is a lot of poverty in northwest Europe.

But it is hidden. 60% of the Dutch people work just to pay bills.

They look fine/OK because they have acces to cheap clothing made in India.

The political 'class' is in full service of zion.


Vigilante's picture

Better Zion than Mecca.

awakening's picture

'People go to jail for saying things that are not politically correct.'

My favorite are laws against Holocaust Denial, IMO that may probably become a popular option for those looking for 3 meals in a bed to sit out WWIII when it starts up (unless that changes to a period of conscripted service in the military, though you'd have bigger problems by now if that happened).

Cosimo de Medici's picture

I suspect it is all once and at the same time more complex and more simple.  We are all a product of our biology.  If the internet taught us anything, it is that deep down none of us really likes each other.  We all want---or rather we are driven by instinct to believe---our gene pool is the one that should propagate.  That's why in each culture it's "about family".  Family is automatically better?  Toss us all on the planet with no memory and we'd choose our family as our closest associates?  I don't think so.  No, it is the instinct that drives us to work for our own gene pool's survival. 

Europe as a construct is a lot older than the US.  Folks in Europe already settled into their respective families, or the closest thing to it, ethnic groups.  So long as times are good, we can tolerate less similarity in the collective societal gene pool, even interbreed to make the genetic differences less with time.  Barely a scratch, however, unleashes Yugoslavia of the 1990s.  When there is a struggle for survival, minor ethnic differences take on far greater importance.  Biology drives it.

The US is young, and that E Pluribus Unum thing had as its goal that all the mutts and mongrels---the wretched refuse from your teeming shores---trying to work together.  It took a while.  Resources and an ethnically competitive work ethic helped it come together, give or take a Civil War and a Civil Rights movement or two.  Razor thin are the connections, however, and a disunion in the US, as this aritcle suggests about Europe, is quite possible.

Now that times are not so good, we're all getting a little more concerned about somebody else's gene pool propagating more effectively and efficiently than our own, whether we accept that as the reason or not.  We're becoming less tolerant.  Look how much Joooo hatred shows up here.  Look at the various nationalistic movements in Europe.  Look at the skinheads, something most societies have in one form or another, which is just a dressed up way of saying my gene pool over yours.

So there's an EU?  Wonderful.  Worked like a charm, sort of, when times were good.  Now, however, Germans and Greeks don't like each other so much.  There's a general North-South divide, within the zone and even within countries (Italy, Spain). Also, slowly lots of ethnic originals (i.e., French French as opposed to Algerian French) are getting concerned about the "cultural dilution" owing to the influx of non-Judeo Christian types. 

So what happens first, does it all blow up, or do we inbreed enough so that genetic differences become so minor that instinct takes a back seat?  I'm going to go with blow-up.

On here we often write that we cannot escape debt.  That's true, but neither can we escape biology.  The Arabs have a saying:  "Me against my brother, my brother and I against you".

AnAnonymous's picture

For 'americans', the group is all. It is impressive.

It pervades everything as such levels that once again, it pictures so obviously that 'americanism' is all about submission.

As the group is all, it is people fighting for their family gene pool to pass down.

'Americans', with their group perception, even manage to manage gene passing down a group matter.

Wooo, impressive. With US of A as leader of the 'american' world...

Passing down collectively genes is of no interest.

Again, 'americans' are stuck with 'americanism'. On the paper, freedom can be shared by everyone.
Everyone can be freed. It is an independent condition.

But 'americans' run an extortion of the weak, farming of the poor.

One could run a clones society using the 'american' model, this will stick up.

For an extorter to be, extorted are needed. For farmers to be, farmed are needed.

No extorted? No extorters. No farmed? No farmer.

But, hey, 'americans' are freedom supporters, they cant admit that they are running an extortion, farming show that requires two sided coins.

So they make up biological explanations to show that ultimately the group is all.

Vegetius's picture

So we see more people wanting to go their own way, but never fear we will see the rise of militant Nationalism.

Do I care, not a bit of it, the Euro trash created this mess and the whole ugly mess is going to explode.

So what to do well it’s too late now to do anything except relax and enjoy it.

“(A unified) ‘Europe’ is the result of plans. It is, in fact, a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure: only the scale of the final damage done is in doubt.”

— Margaret Thatcher

Crisismode's picture

Aunt Maggie at her best.