Late June 2021, the Dutch PM urged the Hungarian PM to leave the EU following a spat over LGBT rights (eg, BBC, Bloomberg, Dutch News, WaPo). Recently, Hungary announced a referendum on its (anti) LGBT law (eg, Guardian, Reuters). If its citizens agree, the EU options seem limited to accept, deny or delay (eg, committee).
In 2016, the UK announced a referendum on the United Kingdom leaving the EU, a.k.a. Brexit. The outcome was in favour, albeit marginally (Leave 51.9%) and without any referendum safeguards (eg, minimum turn-out, minimum difference). Scotland is still using this 2016 outcome to force the UK government into accepting an update of its 2014 independence referendum.
Late July 2021, the leader of the Flemish nationalists urged a reunification between Flanders (ie, north of Belgium) and the Netherlands (Knack). His arguments are realistic: “Together they would be one of the world’s strongest economies. The ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam could merge and become the gateway to the northwestern European economy.” In my 2015 blog, I proposed an additional merger with Germany.
Several European developments suggest a forthcoming showdown between the EU and some of its member states (eg, Hungary, Poland). A similar development is happening in Great Britain considering the potential departures of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and/or Wales. In 2013, The Economist already dubbed this as Little England or Great Britain?
During 1988-1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union took place. The moment that Soviet republics were able to decide on their own future, they did. They chose for freedom. Some of these republics later joined other (military) blocs (eg, Baltic states), others are still trying (eg, Ukraine).
China would probably follow the dissolution of the Soviet Union if its citizens could choose. However, China offers its citizens an interesting choice: (individual) economic growth vs freedom (eg, T&F Online). China’s economic growth is, however, fuelled by debt expansion which looks increasingly unsustainable (eg, FT-2021, Reuters-2021).
A strong nation is probably better than a weak federation, like the biblical story of David vs Goliath. Size (quantity) does not compensate for talent (quality). Hence, a merger of Flanders, Germany and the Netherlands might be as strong as the entire EU, albeit in economic terms. It should be noted that the EEC stood for European Economic Community.
In my view, we should appreciate that countries like Hungary and Poland remind Brussels that Europe is not a Federation, unlike Germany and USA. Brussels may not even dream of holding a referendum to certify its own existence. Likewise, national leaders seem (very) wary about holding a Frexit, Grexit or Nexit as the likelihood of a new Brexit is only (but slowly) increasing.
Burying your head in the sand does not make a threat go away. Even ostriches know that.
The Final Countdown (1986) by Europe
artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2
We’re leaving together, but still, it’s farewell
And maybe, we’ll come back , who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We’re leaving ground (Leaving ground)
Will things ever be the same again?
Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.