EU founders left no room for self-determination

Lettera al Financial Times sul referendum catalano

16 Ottobre 2017

Financial Times

Alberto Mingardi

Direttore Generale

Argomenti / Teoria e scienze sociali

Sir, Wolfgang Münchau, in “A Catalan breakaway would make Brexit look like a cake walk” (October 9), writes that the “main argument against [Catalan] independence is economic”.

Secession from Spain would trigger exit from both the EU and the euro, which may account for a global economic shock. In fact, the Catalans do not want to leave the euro or the single market: only Spain. And yet they’ll be forced out of European institutions because the latter are tailored around member nation states.

When you’re forced to do something you do not want to, it’s not economics, it’s politics. And, indeed, the main argument Mr Münchau refers to is not economic, but political. In a globalized world, smaller political units do not need to fear isolation as long as they are open economies. Smaller states are less likely to be tempted by protectionism as its cost will be higher for them.
The problem the Catalans are facing lies with the legal infrastructure of the EU. Though the EU’s founding fathers preached the principle of subsidiarity, they didn’t allow room for the principle of self-determination of peoples in the treaties. Perhaps it is the political problem that should be tackled, establishing ordered ways of exercising the principle of self-determination at least within the EU.

Da Financial Times, 13 ottobre 2017

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