Internal Enlargement (innere Erweiterung)
What does ‘internal enlargement’ mean? Can really the EU be enlarged from within? Of course it can, in fact, it already took place in the past, not in the EU, ‘cause it is still too young, but in the United States. After realizing I had not been able to finding this topic, well explained, neither in English nor in Catalan, I’ve decided to write it here in this blog. Indeed, I’ve found the information I detail below written in German by a number of people from a variety of Institutions who, by the way, have no relation at all with the independence movement in Catalonia. In fact, they are no Catalans.
In June 2014, Dietmar Ostermann published an article in the German newspaper Badische Zeitung, with the headline “Will the EU-enlargement come from within?”. In the article, he refers to a workshop in Tutzing organized by the Academy for Political Education (Akademie für Politische Bildung), the speaker Thomas Schausberger stresses “The EU needs a concept, a strategy for the internal enlargement”. Dr. Schausberger, university Professonr and President of the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) created in 2004, explains the topic in great detail and in a crystal clear way in a publication that can be found at the web of this institution; the headline tells it everything “The EU must be prepared for an internal enlargement due to the independence attempts".
These statements are made citing specifically Scottland or Catalonia, well known through the media. By the way, the author mentions as well the 16.500M € that Catalan citizens send yearly to the Administration in Madrid, four times what the reachest Land in Germany, Bavaria, sends to Berlin. In the same article, a reference is made to the EU-expert Peter Schmidt-Egner, from University in Siegen, who does not believe a ‘snow ball effect’ would take place in case several regions, currently part of an EU-member state, would declare independence and would re-join the EU as new states.
In May 2014, the weekly German newspaper Die Zeit published a short article written by correspondent in Cairo, where he proposes the EU should look for a solution to cases like Scottland, Catalonia or the Basque Contry, through an ‘internal enlargement’. It is evident the author has studied the case in depth, as he is citing 4 states in the US that transited directly from being part of the Union as region of a member-state to being a new member-State in the Union. These are: Maine, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Vermont. I found this specially relevant, because while reading it, we will much better understand how this could be managed from Catalonia, currently within the EU as part of Spain.
Within a time frame of only 18 months, between December 1787 and May 1790, 13 states created the first Union, the United States of America; among these 13 states, Virginia, New York, and Massachussetts. The remaining 37 to complete the current US with 50 states, were incorporated till 1959, when Alaska did incorporate in January, and Hawaii in June. But we are interested specifically in four particular cases. Curiously enough, the 14th and 15th states to join the Union were states that sceeded from existing member-states in the Union. Vermont, that was part of the state of New York, declared its independence on February 18, 1791 and it was admitted to the Union as the 14th state on March 4. Kentucky, which was part of Virginia territory, voted to become an independent state, it seceeded from Virginia and it continued as part of the Union as the 15th state being incorporated to the US on the first of June 1792. Maine was a region in the state of Massachussetts, that voted for independence in 1820 and, in spite of initial Parliament in Massachussetts opposing to it, Maine was finally admitted to the Union on March 15 1820 as the 23rd state in the Union. Finally, West Virginia, a region in Virginia, voted to be an independent state in 1863, seceeding from Virginia and being admitted to the Union as 35th State on June 20, 1863. Isn’t it so that everything looks pretty much easier taking these precedents into account?
Now listen up please, this is exactly what expert EU-jurists endorse. These endorsements are virtually absent in Spanish media due to obvious reasons; they are extremely hard to find in the british media, perhaps related to the strong pro-independence movement in Scottland; the information can, though, be found quite easily on media in Germany or Austria.
As a matter of fact, one of the think tanks assessing the German government, SWP Foundation Science and Politics (Stiftung Wissenshaft und Politik), based in Berlin, has already referred to the topic. From this foundation, known also as the German Institute for International Politics and Security, at least a couple ot times there’s a reference to Catalonia. What is written in the reports of this institute has been accurately and deeply analyzed, as it’ll constitute a strong basis for German goverment to take decisions based on these writings. Two members of the SWP team are Susanne Gratius and Karl-Olaf Lang. One report, written in August 2013, headlines “Catalonia, on its path to independence?” and the second report was written in January 2015, “The Catalan Labyrinth”; it is within this last report that the "EU internal enlargement (innere Erweiterung)” is invoked as a way to getting out of the Catalan labyrinth.
Summing up, the politicians either in Catalonia or in Spain, who during the last several weeks ‘ensure’ that a Catalonia voting and declaring independence would exit the EU, they are simply lying; whether they are doing it consciously or not, it’s up to you to decide.