European Voices: Spain‎

We can’t be truly independent alone

Like Catalonia, will the UK ever be free of the EU’s mechanisms?

Felipe González GilSocial innovation

Seville – I remember one story I heard about a British guy trying to buy something in a Chinese shop in the 80s in NY. After a while trying to ask for a “Zippo Lighter”, the British guy was frustrated. And then, suddenly, the Chinese shopper screamed to him: “PLEASE, SPEAK IN ENGLISH!”. I think this joke tells us something about what could happen to the UK and the British people if they finally achieve exiting the EU. There is a huge contradiction behind the idea of “independence”. I remember a conversation with a friend from Barcelona who told me before the Catalunya’s independence became a hype, there was a debate between the left-wing people which was: “Ok, we truly believe the right of nations to self-determination…but if we really achieve to leave Spain..are we going to be independent from The Troika? and from Germany?”.

Of course, the documented rise of the far-right in Europe is an answer to the crisis, years of austerity and the crash of the european project. But what has failed is also the nation-state as a framework to understand and to solve the social challenges we are facing right now. We live in an interdependent world with shared vulnerabilities. Either we commonly rebuild what has been Europe (including the UK and the particular english accent of their people) or we are gonna be lost. Or, in the words of Jack Shepard from Lost: “Live together or die alone”.

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