by Ralph T. Niemeyer
A lot is being written and said about the right of self-determination and a people’s right to be “independent” and one should also allow for a moment to compare the right of the Russian speaking minority in Ukraine with the same right of Catalans as both groups are defined by their ethnicity, language and culure that make them distinct from the respective majority in the state they are living in. At least Russia has not executed any force when the referendum in Crimea was held.
But, one should ask, do the proud Catalans, many of them very young, fully understand the scope of their strive for independence? Are they aware of the consequences? And, do they have a clue which major powers have historically shown an interest in the divide and splitting-up of nations in Europe?
The EU is not Europe, although many of it’s protagonists always claimed it. They also like to speak of a Europe of the regions rather than nations. Only Germany and France do not want to hear that terminology, because in the ruling classes of these member states the nation state is indispensable. Germany is standing tall in the centre of Europe flexing it’s hegemonial muscles.
France is suffering from minority complexes towards post-unification Germany ever since and has every reason to mistrust their neighbour. My pen dropped out of my hand after at that time EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso told us at a press conference in 2007 that the EU was an unimperialistic empire.
Voting for “independence” without at the same time deciding over the economic system under capitalistic auspices amounts to folkloristic excercises. That’s why it is different in Scotland which at best will turn a bit more social democratic but will remain a capitalistic stronghold. Northern Ireland, if joining the Republic of Ireland, could take a far more progressive road towards an anti-capitalistic society.
Catalonia, Flanders or Veneto for instance will, if seperated from their home-states, do so only to protect the rich and their wealth. That is greedy and nationalistic. Ugly, because at the same time these richer parts of their countries will force the poorer into yet another corporate tax dumping competition.
When the population of Scotland will again be asked to vote on becoming “independent from Westminister”, one may ask who would benefit from it other than nationalists who satisfy their pride in trying to make the Battle of Culloden of 1746 forgotten. Clearly, the UK would not exist anymore and by this Great-Britain would suffer as a fractioned power. Influence in the EU would be diminished, while yet another tax-dumping competition between mini-republics could empty pockets of states because the new legal entities fight over granting most favourable conditions for major corporations.
But, also one nation would benefit immensely: Germany. With many of it’s neighbours having either financial and economic difficulties, additional weakening by “independence” movements making nation-states become superfluous, Germany, that less than 200 years ago consisted of 300 micro kingdoms and principalities that never got their act together and because of this fell behind economic development while the UK for instance did well because of industrialisation, will stand united, strong and tall.
Germany would laugh about Greatbritain if it further engaged in self-destruction but at the same time it should not be overseen, that Germany always tried to enhance those nationalistic movements of supposed “self-determination” – as long as it did not affect Germany itself.
The government of the Federal Republic of Germany continuously paid about 140 Million German marks (73 million €) for “supporting German Minorities in East, ‘Central’ and Southeast Europe” per annum. In 1995 it was 143 million DM. Through the following years it has been 140 million.
At least 110 m DM were spent on “Direct support for the German ‘minorities’ and their abilities to make a living abroad”. This describes acts of sovereignity which Germany again executed outside its own borders. The funds were spent on “administrative units in territorries occupied by German nationals.
The fact that those territories were parts of neighbouring states whose inhabitants, respectively citizens, can not legally be governed by German authorities, but it appears that this principle did not bother the distributors of those funds. Due to the minister of the interior’s never-changed blood line principle definition, people are German if they have a certain proof of ancestry.
That’s why the German budget reserved such funds to be paid “for German-occupied regions or future regions to be occupied by Germans.” Indeed, this follows the ancient NAZI policy and ideology, and the German government not only distanced itself from such heritage but even enforced it in the Kosovo-Albanian conflict in Yugoslavia.
The Kosovo-war was meant to show the good German attitude to fight for minority rights and human rights of others in order to be able to demand the same in future conflicts where populations of German origin were affected, i.e. in the former Soviet Union or France, Beglium, Austria and Italy or Poland.
Relevant funds are channeled through an organization known as BdN to FUEV/FUEN, which calls itself in English, ‘Federation of European Nationalities’ which does not quite meet the exact translation nor does it reflect the meaning of the German term Volksgruppen. Let me quote what the U.S. State Department wrote with good reason in 1943: “The ‘Volk’ (as the Germans again are defining it) is an obscure, compelling, natural entity, bound together by blood and common culture. It is entirely different from our notion of ‘people’, the social community of citizens having an open, conscious, and optional allegiance to a political union of their own making. The ‘Volk’ is rather conceived, on the one hand, as a natural organism and as such exerting a compulsory hold on the individual through blood relationship and, on the other hand, as a supernational being, imposing an absolute claim for loyalty and allegiance.”
The Federation of European Nationalities is nothing else than an ancient German foreign policy tool, an organisation reflecting the NAZI policies of the twenties and thirties of the twentieth century, following the ideology of racists. Their aim was to let it supersede by a socalled European Centre of Minorities (ECM).
In fact, the FUEV support meant to employ the racist and fascist policy of the dark German past. And, indeed, Schröder’s claim for ‘continuity’ is also reflected in saying that “Germany calls itself a Great Power again,” as well as former Chancellor Kohl’s presumption that “Germany has concluded from its history that it may now openly demand a leading role in world policy.”
Merkel and Schröder, as well as previously Kohl, supported FUEV by state funding, although this organisation had its roots in NAZI organizations. And whereas the authors of said State Department memorandum emphasised the blood line principle of the term “VOLK,” they described acurately the racist meaning of such and reflected these in the terms racial or folk community as well as racial corpus.
According to its own publications (Satzung der Fuev, Artikel 3), FUEV demands the creation of an internationally recognised Volksgruppenrecht, a right for folk groups and minorities, and it even refers in its own statements to the well-known minority-groups of the thirties of the last century. Moreover, it claims to be the legal representative and heir of such groups whose links with the NAZI government is historically evident.
The magazine of this particular institution, Nation & Staat (Nation and State) in 1932 (publishing year six), dealt with the segregation of Jews, while the magazine of the FUEV, Europa Ethnica, published in it’s 18th year in 1961 (!!) even publicly states on its front page that it stands in the tradition of the NAZI paper Nation & State.
It advanced to become the most prominent paper for organisations like Union of Germanhood Abroad (Verein für das Deutschtum im Ausland VDA, Bonn), Hermann-Niermann-Stiftung, Düsseldorf, as well as Federation of German North Schleswig people (Bund deutscher Nordschleswiger BdN und FUEV).
The paper received annually 10 million marks official support from the federal government, channelled through Hermann-Niermann-Stiftung. Enormous funds were used for the support of a European Minority and Folkgroup initiative, basically demanding independece for minorities in regions of special interest like Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Alsace, Corsica, Macedonia, Greece, Kosovo, Catalunya, Czech Republic, Eupen-Malmedy (Belgium), Southern Tyrolia, Northern Italy (Padania, Veneto), Basque region, Dutch Friesland, Bretonia, Finland (Samen and Lappen), Kaliningrad (Russia), Romania, Chechnya, and so on.
The German media reflected proudly that the “ethnic principle of minority and folk group protection can be successfully implemented, not only in Europe but also in Asia.
In order to find a way to Europeanise the method of disintegration, and let it appear independent and worthy of support as it claims to be, multinational, European and helping to overcome the division of the European continent and its nations as every European Institution for a while had a positive image, the European Centre for Minorities indeed developed an image of a caring institution understanding and supporting the minorities in a good way.
In fact, the ECMI (European Center for Minority Issues) issues have been founded largely by those German organisations which don’t even try to hide their roots in and from the Third Reich.
Documents from the German Ministry of the Interior make it clear that FUEV had to play a key role in the foundation of the ECM, and as the headquarters of the ECM are in walking distance from the FUEV office in Apenrade, Schleswig Holstein, there have been intensive synergy effects. Moreover, the former foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, on 2 May, 1995, wrote that the ECM operations shall be effectively coordinated through the Foreign Office, department VI and department KII5 of the Ministry of the Interior.
And the governments of Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel did not only not stop such illegal activities, but even encouraged them and used the ethnic principle the first time after WWII again when claiming to protect ethnic minorities in Yugoslavia. They fall just short of the logical-sounding propaganda of Adolf Hitler when rushing to “defend” German minorities in the Czech Republic of those days.
references: Waiting for the new Führer, a book analysing german strategies after WW II