Tag: Spain

The EU is Flawed, but Not How I Previously Believed

By Owen Heimsoth | United States

Over the past several months, my beliefs on foreign policy have drastically changed. In fact, I wrote this article critiquing a proposed United Europe. Don’t get me wrong, I am still opposed to this idea, but for different reasons.

My opinion on the European Union and general foreign policy has basically taken a one-hundred-eighty-degree turn. I have become sharply more internationalist and pro-globalism. This has been caused by a careful mixture of more research on global affairs, and also life experience.

Quite simply, I made several straw-man arguments in this anti-EU article.

First up was an argument about a potential cultural collision.

Each country in the EU has its own culture. Obviously, some of the better run governments are run in homogeneous countries. In this situation, there are twenty-three different cultures and histories that are to be mashed together. This would become a melting pot bigger than the United States. This doesn’t even include the cultures of different regions of a country.

First off, there is no statistical proof that homogeneous governments are so-called “better off.” In fact, the USA is the melting pot of the world, yet has the highest GDP out there. Culture mixing exposes others to new ideas and teaches those to be more accepting of others. Yes, there may be some cultural clash, but Europeans are also raised having more multiculturalism than Americans like myself.

Next up, I argued that language would become an issue. This ignores the fact that most Europeans, especially those in the West, speak two or more languages.

My last major argument was about religion and the three countries in the EU that have a state-endorsed religion.

Religion would also come into play. There are three countries in the EU that have a recognized state religion-The UK, Denmark, and Greece. There are also multiple countries in the EU that favor a religion but doesn’t list it as official. In the formation of the “United States of Europe,” religions would clash and states would likely leave because of this. State secularism would have to be adopted and many countries would be opposed to this.

This is ignoring the fact that people are increasingly staying away from religion. Actually, being non-religious is the second most popular affiliation in both the UK and in Denmark. This lack of religion is becoming more popular among young citizens.

To finish my article, I argued about 2 failures of the EU. I noted EU-imposed austerity measures as a problem causing the debt crisis, but this is just factually incorrect and simply not the cause of the crisis.

The EU, of course, is not without fault. In fact, there are a number of key issues with it. That being said, straw-man arguments against the union are very common. Despite clear flaws, all government deserve a proper and fair evaluation. By doing so, we can begin to focus on the problems that do exist and further liberty worldwide.


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Spain Is Giving Crypto Tax Breaks, Promoting Blockchain Experts

By James Sweet III | Spain

Governments around the world fear cryptocurrency and the blockchains that many rely on. From Poland’s central bank spreading propaganda to South Korea’s stiff stance on regulations, the crypto community has been threatened by big governments and their fear. However, refuge can be found in nations like Switzerland, and soon, Spain. Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy’s party, the People’s Party, has shown its support for the community and the industry it relies on, hoping to bring companies that use the blockchain to the nation.

According to a Bloomberg article, Teodoro Garcia Egea, a federal legislator for Spain, as well as a member of the People’s Party, is preparing a bill that could provide tax breaks to blockchain companies. Egea believes the blockchain technology could provide new advancements for the education, medical, and finance fields. According to Egea, “The level of the digitalization for companies will be key. We hope to get the legislation ready this year.”

The Party also plans on inviting many crypto and blockchain experts to speak and testify in the Spanish parliament, as well as examining nations like Switzerland that are embracing cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology.

Egea, as well as some of his companions in the party, are also pushing for small amounts of investments into cryptocurrency to go unreported, allowing those that are wary of government regulation to take a step into the industry. A regulatory system would still be established, but the odds of it threatening crypto is low, although it still might scare some investors off.

This move is certain to cause some tension between the nation and the EU, considering that many member states of the EU have openly talked about cryptocurrencies in a negative light. Whether it’s with France, Germany, or the European Central Bank itself, Spain is bound to have some disputes.


Image from Coindesk.

Spanish Courts Rule in Parental Authority Over Privacy Rights

By Jackson Parker | USA

The Provincial Court of Pontevedra recently ruled parental responsibility over children’s privacy in the case of a woman against her ex-husband on Tuesday, December 26th. The woman filed on the behalf that her ex-husband was breaching the privacy rights of their children by forcibly reading their WhatsApp chats, which would break article 197 of the Criminal Code. Entailing one to four years of jail time with a fine “to discover the secrets or violate the privacy of another, without your consent, take possession of your papers, letters, emails or any other documents or personal effects (…)“.

The complaint filed detailed the father threatening to take the children to the police after the children refused to give him their cell phone passwords. The court emphasizes “the defendant shares with the complainant the parent authority of his minor children and, therefore, has an obligation under the article 154 Civil Code to watch over them, educate them and provide them with an integral education.”

The court concludes, “the father would have reviewed with the minor, in his presence, certain WhatsApp conversations.” It can not be said from the report of the complaint that the father seizes without the consent of the youngest daughter of his WhatsApp conversations made to review with it certain conversations” and ” neither that they deserved the qualification of data ‘reserved’ as data pertaining to the unknown or hidden privacy of the child and that this would not want the father knew and even less that the defendant sought to discover the secrets or violate the privacy of the child”

The discussion of the control of mobile phones of minors by their parents between privacy and control has been heated, but at the moment the Spanish courts have officially ruled in favor of parental responsibility via the civil code over the privacy protection in the criminal code.

Spain to Suspend Government of Catalonia

By Austin Anderholt | SPAIN

The Spanish government is set to impose direct rule over Catalonia after the president of the east Spanish municipality refused to end the push for Catalan independence. The event is creating one of the biggest Spanish political meltdowns of the millennium. The Spanish government is pushing for the “Nuclear Option” of the Spanish constitution, also known as article 155, allows the Spanish government to directly control any rebellious self-governing Spanish communities. It would give Madrid the authority to suspend Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and other Catalan lawmakers and to take charge of the region’s autonomous administration, including the Catalan broadcaster and autonomous police force, although the Spanish Prime Minister has not publicly committed to an emergency intervention.

The statement came after Puigdemont threatened to secede if the Spanish government refused to discuss the issue of independence. The Spanish government commented Thursday morning, saying Puigdemont had ignored its calls to drop his independence plans and had once again failed to confirm whether independence had actually been declared. Madrid’s government took this a reason to declare that article 155 of the Spanish constitution would be invoked to begin the process of occupying the region’s self-government. “At an emergency meeting on Saturday, the cabinet will approve measures to be put before the senate to protect the general interest of Spaniards, including the citizens of Catalonia, and to restore constitutional order in the autonomous community,” it said.

The Spanish government also called out the Catalan government for “deliberately and systematically seeking institutional confrontation, despite the serious damage it is causing to coexistence and Catalonia’s economy”.  The Spanish government announced it will have an emergency cabinet meeting “to defend the general interest of Spaniards, among them the citizens of Catalonia.” But on Thursday, Puigdemont wrote a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, stating “If the government continues to prevent dialogue and maintains the repression,’’ he wrote, “the Parliament of Catalonia could go ahead, if it deems it opportune, and vote the formal declaration of independence.”

About 200,000 pro-Catalan protesters gathered on Tuesday in central Barcelona, to demand the release of two Catalan separatists, who were sent to prison without bail.  In his letter on Thursday, Mr. Puigdemont mentioned the arrest of the two separatists as evidence of Spain’s repressive stance. Catalonia, which is culturally and linguistically distant from Spain, is an important powerhouse of the Spanish economy. Independence cries have skyrocketed in recent years over a host of social and economic grievances.

Although Catalan independence movements date back to the medieval times, tensions climaxed to their current status after an overwhelming support of 90% of participating voters casted their ballots to secede from Spain. Despite this massive uproar for Catalan independence, Madrid declared the vote illegal, resulting in hundreds wounded in police blockading polling places.

France and Germany both appear to side with Madrid and Spanish unity, in statements made by their leaders, Emmanuel Macron, and Angela Merkel, respectively. The European Union has also declared their public endorsement of a United Spain.

These 10 Places Could Become the World’s Next Countries

By Jake Melkun | Worldwide

Recently, there has been a big resentment of big government and more regionalism in today’s world. Read on to see which places could actually become the next countries in the world.

 

10. Venice

Venice, the city where people transport themselves not by car, not by train, but by boat. Venice is the third-richest region in Italy, and brings in a lot of tourism from foreigners wanting to experience an almost car-free city. But, the region of Veneto has a growing separatist movement, trying to break away from Italy. In 2014, a non-binding referendum showed that a stunning 89% of Venetians supported independence.

9. Flanders/Wallonia

No, we are not talking about Ned Flanders here, but we are talking about the northern half of the country of Belgium. Belgium is made out of mainly two distinct regions which all have different backgrounds, traditions, and cultures. The one on the North is Flanders, which is closer related to the Netherlands and Dutch is spoken. Wallonia, on the other hand,  is the southern part which speaks French and is closer related to France. Many people on both sides want to either separate or gain more autonomy, although many Wallonians have spoken in favor of joining France.

8. Québec

We all know Canada as the home of ice hockey, maple syrup, moose, and poutine, but could it also be the home of the next independent nation? Québec already has many cultural differences to the rest of Canada, as they are the odd ones out when it comes to language because Quebec is officially a Francophone province. Many Québécois feel that they are not a true part of Canada because of the language and cultural barriers, and that they would be better suited to be a part of the French-speaking world.

 

7. South Ossetia/Abkhazia 

South Ossetia and Abkhazia go hand-in-hand because they both are autonomous regions claimed by in Georgia (the country, not the state) and Russia. The people of these regions are not really ethnically nor culturally related to the Georgians, and they have backing from their neighbors to the north. Some people support the states joining Russia as autonomous oblasts or completely separating from both countries. South Ossetia and Abkhazia were both supported by the Russians during the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, leaving the two territories in a sticky situation.

6. Transnistria 

Transnistria is a small strip of land on the eastern side of Moldova, a country bordering Ukraine and Romania. Transnistria is also an autonomous region, which it sets out a lot of its own border and passport control, meaning that to cross through it you need a special stamp. Transnistria uses the Moldavian SSR (Soviet-Era Moldova) flag, and has very close ties to Russia. We have an article on Transnistrian independence here.

5. East African Federation

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda have proposed a plan to unite their countries into the East African Federation. This proposed union could either end up being a glorious unification, or, as it likely will, end up in a civil war and a huge mess. African nations already have a tough time getting by, but could this proposed union help to turn the region into a superpower?

4. Kurdistan

The Kurds are a major ethnic group who live from South-Eastern Turkey and stretch throughout Iraq, Syria, and even major parts of Iran. They have a huge separatist movement, referendums, and support from global superpowers like the United States. Why haven’t they gained independence yet? First of all, Turkey, which is highly opposed to letting the Kurds free, is also a member of NATO. This means that it would put the US in a tricky spot with aiding both the Kurds and the Turks. Secondly, ISIS and the Syrian Civil War has put a big stop to the Kurds’ mission, as the area is too war-inflicted for another war to take place. Maybe once the cards are in the right place, Kurdistan might join the list of nations of the world, but as of now an independent Kurdistan seems unlikely.

3. Scotland

You might be saying to yourself, “Isn’t Scotland already a country?”. Well, yes, it is a country, but not an independent one. The United Kingdom is a country of countries, which the independent countries don’t really have much independence. Many Scots are not happy with this. They believe that Scotland should be able to make decisions for themselves on the global stage, but under the UK they can’t. In 2014, Scotland made the decision to stay in the UK in a referendum, but after Brexit, could there be another referendum on the horizon?

2. Kosovo

Kosovo is an Autonomous Region located in Southern Serbia, but they do not like being ruled by the Serbs. The majority of Kosovoans are of Albanian ethnicity, and they would much rather be their own nation instead of being under the Serbian flag. It has also been proposed that they join Albania instead of being their own nation. Kosovo is recognized by the United States, but they still only have about one-third of the world’s recognition. Kosovo is very close, but not there just yet.

1. Catalonia

Catalonia is a region that has been in the news lately as they partook in a referendum that overwhelmingly supported Catalonian independence. The Spanish did not take to this well, though, because the Spanish police injured over one thousand poll-goers in an attempt to stop the fair referendum. The Catalonians are currently planning their next step, as they are supposed to release their Declaration of Independence soon. You can read our article on this here.

 

Of course, the independence of these areas are not certain, but it will surely be interesting to watch and see how all of this plays out.