September 18, 2014
One positive result of the referendum about the independence of Scotland can be seen already now: the central government in London starts finally to think about a more “federated” United Kingdom, but nobody of the political class is using this term “federal’, because this word was misused as “centralization” in the context of transferring national competences and powers to the European level.
Especially the British media, and, Mr. Cameroun, now have a problem to explain that the proposals of “decentralization and regionalization” and the promisses to give more competencies to the Scotish government constitute finally a “federative approach”, which shall keep a more autonomous Scotland within a “Federated Kingdom” with the Queen and the Pound as common framework.
Just to remember: Why the British and Americans had been keen after the Second World War to create the “Federal Republic of Germany”? – Not to create a centralized German republic, but to promote political decision making “from the bottom up”, from the local and regional political entities. The Scotish Referendum reminds the British to think about the original meaning of the word “Federal”.
Federal means “democracy in diversity”, multi-level governance (subsidiarity) and solidarity; in particular, taking decision as near as possible to the citizen, a famous phrase in the Treaty of Maastricht creating the European Union. This also includes fiscal solidarity between rich and poor municipalities, rich and poor Region, Cantons or Districts, as well as at the national and European level, even in the international context.
It does not matter so much whether this time the referendum about Scotish autonomy already will succeed, but the discussion has shown, that the centralized political structures of the United Kingdom need a “regional refreshment”.
In any case, if this time the referendum would not result in autonomy, the Scots will have a second and even better chance to become a Member Country of the EU, as the “federal question” will come up for the British at least in 2017, when “all subjects of the Queen” might been confronted with the choice either to remain in a federally organized European Union, or, to see how finally Scotland will stay as “last part” of the United Kingdom in the European Union. The reason is simple; if in a regionally organized referendum a majority in Scotland votes for staying in the EU, this would mean an easy and “automatic entrance ticket” for the remaining part of the still existent membership of the United Kingdom in the European Union.
Perhaps the discussion and the rethinking of the British about Scotland and about the question: What does federal finally mean? guides us, in the end, to an alternative approach of organizing the EU, in the direction of a Federation of States, countries and Regions, in short, a “Europe of countries and regions.”
18.09.2014 Michael CwikAuthor : Michael Cwik