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Surprise: Europe's Richer Regions Want Out

NY Times: 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.

Continue at the N Y T i m e s

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The European Union was not marriage. Poor promise to pay...

The European Union did not make an honest woman out of any maiden. She was not made an honest woman. Nor her nation.

Today, we find ourselves in a world where big nations are stymied by enormous debt they cannot or will not pay. Small nations are in much the same state of affairs, only their huge debt is smaller.

Bailouts are proposed. Doesn't anyone stop to notice the absurdity? How will a small country that is unable to pay its debt be able to pay for a bailout granted by a larger, hopelessly in debt nation?

Are terms in pounds-of-flesh? How many pounds of flesh?

Clarke and Dawe: Lending merry-go-round. 2:35 min:sec. How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money?

How can broke economies lend money to other broke economies who haven't got any money?

Disclaimer: Mark Twain (1835-1910-To be continued) is unlicensed. His river pilot's license went delinquent in 1862. Caution advised. Daily Paul