Sean Ring gives insight into the fractures within established countries.
Having come across a video on YouTube on the topic and witnessing two UK referendums in recent times I decided to look into some of the countries most likely to break up in the foreseeable future. Since I was born in 1994 Serbia and Montenegro broke apart in 2006, South Sudan became independent in 2011 and in 2008 Kosovo declared its independence. Only 5 years prior to my birth the Berlin wall fell. This goes to show that the map in continuously changing. In no particular order, here are 7 countries that we may outlive:
Belgium is divided by language. The Southern ‘Walloons’ predominantly speak French while the Northern ‘Flemish’ speak Dutch. The Flemish tend to want to form their own state while the Walloons want to keep things as they are. While some would argue a break up is inevitable there is debate about what would happen to Brussels in such a scenario as it is a French speaking city in Flemish territory. This is further complicated by the fact it is the EU headquarters.
2. United Kingdom
The big question here is if one country leaves can the other three remain ‘united’. The most likely contender to leave is Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon leader of the SNP has made it clear she does not want Scotland dragged out of the EU against its will. However certain EU countries would not make it easy for an independent Scotland to remain in the EU for fears it could ramp up independence movements in their own countries (Spain and Belgium for example). The only other part of the UK to vote remain was Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein quickly called for a border poll on a united Ireland in the aftermath of the referendum. If Northern Ireland were to leave the UK one of two things would have to happen; (i) A united Ireland (ii) An independent Northern Ireland. Obviously unionists want to remain a part of the UK but if that was no longer possible option (ii) may be the next best thing. Rory McIlroy, often reluctant to talk politics, said; “If I’m Northern Irish, what’s better? To be part of the UK and not be in the EU? Or to be in a united Ireland and still belong to the EU? People are going to have to weigh that up.”
As you will know, people in Canada are predominantly either English or French speaking. 80% of people in Quebec speak French, by far the most of any province. In 1995 the province held its own independence referendum with No winning by only 54,000 votes. Many in Quebec still harbour ambitions of it being independent.
4. United States
Many states could leave the US such as California and Alaska. The most likely in my opinion however is Texas. ‘Texit’ is supported by the Texas Nationalist Movement and the state annually celebrates an independence day (from Mexico in 1836). Thinking back to the American civil war Texas was one of the states that attempted to cede as the ‘Confederate States of America’.
Even before the current conflict in Iraq the country has always been made up of three distinct groups; Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. Even back in 2006 Joe Biden, now Vice President, said the country should be broken up into three. This year the Kurds are hoping to hold a referendum on breaking away from Bagdad. Could their exit see the rest of the country break up also?
There are three regions that could conceivably break away from Spain; the Basque Country, Galicia and Catalonia. All three of these regions do not speak Spanish as their primary language. In a 2014 ‘informal vote’ 80% of Catalans backed independence. Catalonia contributes 20% of Spain’s GDP and Spain have made it clear they will not make it easy for Catalonia to leave. The Basque fight for independence came to violence via the ETA, an internationally recognised terrorist organisation who declared a ceasefire in 2010.
7. The European Union
Technically not a country, but questions must be asked as to whether the union can keep surviving the various crisis’s that seem to occur every few years. I doubt the union would be able to survive another member state voting to leave and questions would have had to have been asked about the future of the euro had Greece left it in 2015. Who would be most likely to leave? In my opinion either France or the Netherlands. Marie Le Pen has stated that if elected president she will hold a referendum. Meanwhile the Netherlands hold a general election next year where the Eurosceptic Party for Freedom are expected to double their seats.