FYRUK? Ukoslovakia? Herceg-Engleska?

East Ethnia

It has become mildly popular, in the wake of the disastrous referendum in which a small majority of a deliberately misinformed public voted to advise the UK government to leave the European Union, to draw parallels between the future of the UK, which would certainly not survive such a dramatic move, and the recent past of the states of the former Yugoslavia.

There are a few similarities, which might as well be noted. The first of them is that decisions deeply affecting the fate of a great many people were decided after bitter, ethnocentric populist campaigns in a referendum. The second is that they led to the rise into prominence of bizarre and clownish figures from the political margins who would never have a chance if they had to face an informed public or oppose a responsible and engaged elite. And of course the third is that we were able…

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The Balkans Specter of Brexit

confessions from the field

imagining_the_balkans

To the snowballing list of Brexit commentaries concerned with the rise of nationalism in the EU, Pope Francis has recently added his own warning about “the “Balkanisation” of Europe in the wake of Britain’s shock vote to quit the EU”. His Holiness was not, however, referring to the alarming post-Brexit rise of racist and xenophobic violence and intimidations, nor the anti-immigration and Islamophobic hysteria simmering since the Schengen Crisis earlier this year. The Pontifex was, more precisely, worried about something else, and it deserves to be quoted in full:

“There is already a war going on in Europe. There is also a sense of division, not just in Europe. Think of Catalonia, Scotland last year… I’m not saying these divisions are dangerous but they need to be carefully examined before any steps are taken towards a split, there needs to be discussion and feasible solutions found. I have not…

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