We tend to think of the European Union as a kind of continental USA, America with a better cuisine: a loosely united group of individual states who continue to run their internal business, but collaborate on issues concerning their neighbors.
But the last few years in which the EU’s less robust economies, such as Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to name a few, have experienced a terrifying upheaval whose end is not yet in sight, taught all of us a lesson in freedom of choice a la Union Européenne. Those economies have had to tow the line and impose austerity on their own people, or risk the economic wrath of the big states, most notably Germany.
Over in Israel we’ve observed the bullying methods being employed as we speak by the EU, to produce an outcome palatable to them in a dispute between Jews and Arabs. The kind of relentless, aggressive pressure these Europeans have been using, threatening an academic boycott, a scientific boycott, boycotts on goods, boycotts on tourism – that we know these are not nice people.
But did you know whose neck really gets to be directly under the European Union’s boot, which presses down metaphorically with the same zeal and determination as those great soldiers of the Fatherland used to do? The Europeans themselves. Or rather, the Europeans who wish to change the status quo.
Scotland is about to vote, this coming September 18, on a referendum on whether it should become an independent country. As a result of an agreement between the Scottish Government and the UK, the Scottish Independence Referendum Bill, was passed by the Scottish Parliament on November 14, 2013, and received Royal Assent in December (the equivalent of the president signing a new law). The Scottish parliament wants the referendum question to be: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
The main issues Scotland would have to deal with should it become independent are the economy, defense, relations with the rest of the UK, and membership of supranational organizations, especially the EU and NATO.
I would think that this would be viewed by any democratically minded person with admiration: a substantial sector within a democratic state wishes to disengage and the process is being handled without bloodshed, through legal channels, with everyone’s rights (well, most everyone) being observed.
Over in Brussels they’re not nearly as excited about the whole thing.
An independent Scotland would find it “difficult, if not impossible” to gain EU membership and obtain the acceptance of other EU member states, declared European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Barroso said, “In case there is a new country, a new state, coming out of a current member state, it will have to apply and… the application and the accession to the European Union will have to be approved by all the other member states of the European Union.”
Seriously? It’s not majority rule, but unanimous now? Is he going royal all of a sudden?
Imagine, a people have decided to change their political direction, and they’ve gone about doing it in the most civilized manner – and this Portuguese bureaucrat says they’ll be boycotted, unless every last member approves their acceptance into the EU. And we know how he’s going to vote.
There’s a good reason why the oligarchs in Brussels don’t want to let Scotland be free, even if the UK accepts it. It’s called Catalonia, an autonomous community at the north-eastern corner of Spain, designated a “nationality” by its own Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia is by far the most economically dynamic region of Spain, and, listen to this: the Catalan government has announced its intention to hold a referendum on possible independence from Spain this year.
There’s no doubt the UK will go through some difficulties should Scotland decide to call it quits – but it will get over it. No so certain about the situation in Spain. Catalonia practically feeds the rest of the country, pays everybody else’s bills and feels greatly disrespected. In short, they’re the only rich people in Spain, for all intents and purposes, and should they build up a wall around their land—which they’re planning to do—everybody else in Spain will starve.
This is why Spain will definitely vote against accepting an independent Scotland into the EU. And should the required vote be unanimous – there goes Scotland down the tube into poverty and lonely nights nursing a 12-year-old Glenfiddich by the open fire.
Barroso was skeptical that many other states would want to offer support for the Scotts when they seek EU membership. “We have seen that Spain has been opposing even the recognition of Kosovo, for instance, so it’s to some extent a similar case because it’s a new country and so I believe it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, a new member state coming out of one of our countries [getting the agreement of other existing EU member states].”
A new country! Scotland had been a proud and independent country centuries before there was a United Kingdom, and certainly before there was a Portugal. But when you’re an oligarch watching your chickens running away to unexpected coops, you don’t have to be right, you just have to own a big boot.
Scotland’s Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was offended by Barroso’s unconcealed disdain for freedom and democracy, and she told the Guardian he was being “preposterous.”
“…As the ridiculous comparison with Kosovo illustrates. Scotland is already in the EU and has been for 40 years,” Sturgeon argued. “The question of Scotland’s independent membership of the EU is a matter for the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the views of other member states – not the European commission.”
It’s raining bad people over there, in Brussels.Yori Yanover
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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