In further signs that the Scottish referendum on independence is inspiring secessionist movements across Europe, Germany’s Bavaria Party has signalled its support for the Scottish Yes campaign amidst hopes that Bavaria could also become independent.
The Bavaria Party has long argued that it is not in Bavaria’s interests to finance the poorer northern and eastern regions of Germany, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel has dismissed Bavarian independence. Her spokesman Steffan Seibert told reporters “I deem that to be an almost absurd thought,” EurActiv has reported.
The states of Bavaria and Hesse have in the past challenged Germany’s fiscal equalisation system legally. In March 2013 they brought a case to the High Court in Karlsruhe challenging the mechanism used to calculate how taxpayer’s money is redistributed across the states, highlighting the €7.9 billion ($10.3 billion) that Bavaria, Hesse and Baden-Wuerttemburg jointly sent to poorer regions in 2012.
Hesse and Bavaria sought a cap on transfers, plus incentives for poorer regions to improve their economies. The government of Baden-Wuerttermburg opted out of the legal action as they sought to negotiate a new deal through political channels instead.
The city state of Berlin receives more than 40 percent of the total amount redistributed, whilst the city state of Hamburg is a net recipient, despite paying the highest tax per capita in the country, a situation that prompted Horst Seehofer, Prime Minister of Bavaria, to deem the equalisation program “grotesque”.
In a post entitled “Scottish independence: YES!” the Bavarian party wrote on their website
“An independent Scotland, connected to her people, would be a real boost in terms of democracy and participation. Because the larger the political unit, the less chance there is to be heard as individuals.
“The process of breaking a smaller state from a larger one is not new. In Europe alone, there are many examples. A particularly positive example from the recent past is the separation of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The two states are better off today than they were before. Both are EU member states, and they have a good relationship with each other. Both are smaller than Bavaria.
“We in the Bavarian Party wish our Scottish friends victory in the referendum! A “Yes” would have a positive effect on other regions in Europe.
“It would be a real boost for us in Bavaria as our media would not be able to so easily ignore or ridicule the issue.
“Scottish and Bavarian independence would greatly benefit the people of those regions. It is not only feasible, but also necessary!”
The Bavaria Party enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1950s, when it polled almost 18 percent of the Bavarian vote. However, support has waned since then and it lost its last parliamentary seats in 1966. In last year’s elections it secured just 2.1 percent of the local vote, consequently its demands are not on the agenda for Germany’s ruling CSU party.