Alaska Dispatch. European stability shaken separatism 17oct2012
Europe’s rising tide of nationalism swept over Belgium on Sunday when separatists seeking independence for the country’s Dutch-speaking north surged in local elections to take power in city halls across the region.
“This is a point of no return in our history,” Bart De Wever, leader of the New Flemish Alliance, told cheering supporters after his election as mayor in this historic seaport. “The Flemish have chosen change and we are going to continue on that path.”
Separatists also made news in Scotland, where the first minister signed an agreement on Monday setting up a referendum on breaking away from British rule. And in Spain, the president of the Catalonia region vowed to push for the right to hold a similar vote on independence.
Supporters say citizens of historic nations are finally asserting their right to self-rule, but the resurgent separatism, combined with growing political extremism in some countries, is underscoring concerns about European stability as the continent struggles to pull out of its deepest economic crisis in decades.
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