Theoretical Question on a breakaway state in Europe.

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Dwarf, Sep 1, 2012.

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  1. This morning I read in the newspaper that a Spanish Army colonel threatens actions if there are any moves towards independence from autonomous communities in Spain.
    Both Catalonia and The Basque country have been making nationalistic noises with reactions to the disaster that is the current Central Government.
    I have lived in Catalonia for a quarter of a century now and have never seen such a groundswell for independence with more and more Catalans considering that the way forward is as a national state.
    Imagine a Scotland where the Scots all speak a common language that is different to English (OK I know that happens in Glasgow) and where the English tell the Scots that they are English and that Scotland is an indivisible part of the country, which is more or less the situation that we find in Spain.
    A local town of just over 2,000 is considering declaring themselves Free Catalan territory next week. This is largely symbolic but the 11/9 is the Catalan National Day and there is a possibility of a huge series of demonstrations indicating the desire for independence.
    A Spanish Colonel has stated that the Mayor should be arrested for treason, and that he and sectors of the Army are disposed to die to maintain the territorial integrity of Spain.

    Herewith the theoretical question. If Catalonia declared independence and the Spanish army was sent in to re-establish Spanish hegemony, what would be the possible gamut of reactions of Europe and NATO in your opinion?
    I'd be interested, thanks.
     
  2. Basque Country has been trying it for years. Catalans have always considered themselves as separate from the rest of Spain. Here in the Comunidad Valencia region, they have called for more de-regulation from central government (as if the Spanish states haven't got enough already, the layers of government here make UK seem like a politician-free zone) but no actual independence from Spain itself.
    Not sure if NATO would get involved in what would be a civil war in a member state (they did nothing over Greece and Turkey when the Cyprus bit kicked off, for example) but I could see an even more withdrawal of funds from the area. Troubled times for certain parts of Spain, I feel. Old habits die hard and even the Royal Family no longer gets the respect it did just a few years ago. 24.6% unemployment (with the figures for 18 to 24 year olds being 53%), banks closing (8 savings banks were merged into one fairly recently causing almost a 1000 branches to be closed), the number of businesses closing due to a lack of people buying property (going back to live with Mum and Dad etc) is staggering. Of course, the Spanish have a way to deal with this. Not getting enough people out buying? Raise the VAT to 21% (school books, educational material and so on see a rise from 4% to 21% as from today, new houses were charged at 7% but reduced to 4% to stimulate the economy but, as from today, this is put up to 10%). Not getting enough money from retail rents because they can't afford them? Raise the rents on the other so you get the same money back. People can't afford repayment mortgages? Charge them a few thousand euros to switch to interest only for a few years then a few thousand euros more to switch back. People can't afford the costs of switching? Repossess the property and ensure the banks have more money in property on their books than funds and they then have to sell them off at silly rates thus losing more than if they had allowed the buyer to switch mortgages (and having the knock-on effect of reducing other property prices in the area). Not enough people coming into your bar/restaurant? Raise the prices so the few that are coming will have to pay more.
    And so on and on.
    I suppose, in a few years, the Bavarians will raise the thorny issue of independence as well after they realise they are subsiding Spain and others for not a lot in return.
     
  3. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    I can't see NATO getting involved under any circumstances. You have only to look at the UK's experience during Op Banner, Spains Basque campaign (for want of a phrase) to see what would happen.

    Alternatively, we could always send the Gib Regt north and re-establish the days of Empire.
     
  4. Hypothesising is all well and good if there is an understanding of the various consequences – something that, here in Breizh, did not happen during earlier attempts to secede from France. Our leaders at the time, during my early childhood, could only think of one thing – independence regardless of cost. Needless to say they failed miserably without the intervention of outside forces because the consequences had not been considered. Today we have moved on from independence leaning more towards federalism, using our economic strength to ensure our demands are met. Like us the Catalans have their own language and culture, as do the Basques and other minority nationalities, something that some sovereign states are unwilling to accept – it is highly unlikely that a Spanish-speaking person will understand a single word of Catalan or Basque just as the French speaking person will not understand Brezhoneg or Lenga d'òc.

    If my memory serves then Catalunya is already an autonomous community with the official status of a "nationality” with the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia as the fundamental organic law. Similarly the region has its own security forces – the Mossos d’Esquadra. Maybe I am being a bit slow but I do not see what advantages “independence” will achieve. As for any form of reaction by other nations, it is doubtful there would be any – certainly not anything tangible, just weasely words. So do not expect a re-run of the “Bombing of Gernika” by some outside force – it will not happen. The best that can be expected is a RyanAir flight overshoots the runway at Girona-Costa Brava and lands in the Onyar river.
     
  5. NATO would stay out of it. Remember that the principal state within NATO is the USA. Even if it wasn't the run-up to an election, which it is, it would be a bit of a hard sell for Obama to tell the American people they were to be dragged into internecine unpleasantness in downtown Barcelona, let alone an armed struggle over which flag flies over the town hall in Lloret de Mar. Catalonia? A small state of which we know little.The EU though is a whole different kettle of red herrings. For years it has been working towards acquiring the trappings of statehood, including its own quasi-embassies, dips, and yes, armed forces. Look at Op Atalanta - the 'EU Navy' taking on Somalian pirates.If Spain hit the fan, Brussels would relish the chance to get stuck in. The question would be, on which side?Not as daft a question as you might think. Long term planning for the EU involves the break up of the traditional nation state members into regions, with internal powers for those regions roughly akin to those of UK county councils. This would leave supreme power in the hands of Brussels.So would the EU intervene on the side of Madrid or Catalonia? I suggest neither. It could stand back and let Spain tear itself apart and then pick up the pieces later, or - probably more likely - it would send a 'peace keeping force' that would take up pretty much permanent residence.It is not in the interests of the EU to have strong national governments. It is in the interests of the EU to see member states broken down in manageable bite-size chunks. That's my tuppence worth anyway.
     
  6. Have NATO ever turned up in Northern Ireland?

    Question answered.
     
  7. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    May I refer the honourable gentleman to post #3?