International Herald Tribune – European Economic Woes Spur Separatists in Pockets of Prosperity

The enduring economic crisis in Europe is providing a spur to separatist movements in some of the most prosperous regions, with voters being encouraged to break away from their national governments and go it alone.

The municipal elections on Sunday in Belgium, where the separatist New Flemish Alliance triumphed in Dutch-speaking Flanders, were the latest indication of a pro-independence trend that could redraw the map of Europe.

Separatism is also on the rise in Spain, in Britain and in Italy, whereprotestors turned out in Venice this month to demand a referendum on establishing an independent Venetian Republic.

In the Italian province of South Tyrol, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, thousands of people marched in April to demand independence.

In Spain, where Catalans have marched to support a break with the country, Artur Mas, the Catalonian regional president, plans to hold a referendum on independence.

Read @ International Herald Tribune