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Silesians Vote in German Federal Elections


Bieganski 17 | 901
22 Sep 2013 #1
AS GERMANS prepare to cast their vote in federal elections on September 22nd, in neighbouring Poland a group of Polish citizens are also debating whether or not to give Angela Merkel, the chancellor, a few more years in office. For the first time Poland's tiny German minority is allowed to vote in German elections. The freedom stems from a decision last year by Germany's constitutional court allowing Germans living outside the country to vote, even if they were not born there. The decision has been gratefully received by Poland's German community, estimated to be around 350,000 strong.

Source: The Economist, "Angela Merkel's voters in Lower Silesia"

I am sure those in the Silesian Separatist Movement will use this cross border voting right to further their own cause. Others may dismiss all of this as mere gesture politics since those Silesians who are eligible to vote are quite small in numbers and those who actually vote are likely to be even smaller.

For me it is just another example of a trend among EU states to recognize their ethnic and linguistic diaspora even when their ties have become more and more tenuous over the decades.

I posted about this previously regarding the Polish government's declared and pro-active interest in protecting the culture and rights of Poles who have become citizens abroad; particularly in Lithuania.

And this past April the Czech government made a very substantial donation to a town in the American state of Texas following a fertilizer plant explosion for the following reason:

The Czech foreign minister said while on a trip to Brussels his country will donate $200,000 to West, Texas, where a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15. Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister, made the announcement in Brussels Tuesday, saying most of the money will be used to rebuild the Sokol building in the town, Radio Prague reported. Three-quarters of the inhabitants of West, Texas, are of Czech descent. Sokol is a gymnastic society founded in 1862 to promote Czech culture and social life.

Source: UPI, "After blast, Czech Republic makes donation to West, Texas."

It is clear that after years of EU expansion and open border policies (both internally to any and all EU citizens as well as de facto to anyone else on the planet who felt like showing up) more and more individual EU states have become keen on identifying with and helping those with whom they share a common history and a common heritage.

True. That is one of reasons why Polish, Czechs, Slovak and Bulgarian youth group and coordinate in order to support Serbians

Perhaps, but my thread is about elected governments in the EU recognizing and extending a helping hand and even citizenship-like rights to their own national minority groups which have long existed in other countries.
jwojcie 2 | 763
24 Sep 2013 #2
Kind of similar when for example USA Polonia votes in Polish election. Personally I don't accept situtation when someone who is not a taxpayer in Poland has the right to vote. It is just not fair. So, similarly if I were a German living in Germany I would have been angry that some people of German ancestry living elsewhere have a rigth to decide about my taxes. It work both ways for me:

1. No taxation without representation
and
2. No representation without taxation
smurf 39 | 1,981
24 Sep 2013 #3
who is not a taxpayer i

So someone who's unemployed isn't allowed vote?

For me it is just another example of a trend among EU states to recognize their ethnic and linguistic diaspora even when their ties have become more and more tenuous over the decades.

Yep, I agree. I'm watching the situation in Catalonia very closely.

I feel that Warsaw will never let Silesia become autonomous...within the next 10 years Silesia will have the highest wages, best standard of living, highest tax revenues, best infrastructure etc. no way is Warsaw going to allow Silesia to run itself. Interesting times lay ahead. And the more Warsaw says no, the more the locals will want it and to say no to +4million people is quite tricky. They too should keep a close eye on what's going on in Catalonia.

They might learn something.........oh wait, we're talking about politicians, naw, they won't learn a thing ;)
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Sep 2013 #4
And the more Warsaw says no, the more the locals will want it and to say no to +4million people is quite tricky. They too should keep a close eye on what's going on in Catalonia.

Fantasy.

There is no way the EU would allow it, the EU was not setup to allow little nationalistic empires to form, quite the opposite. The Catalans will have to join the EU on the EU's whim and its probable that one of any of the existing states would veto its entry. That would be the end of Catalonia's economy as EU and international companies would exit taking their jobs with them.

The same would apply to Silesia, its economy depends on EU membership and talk of autonomy is meaningless bollocks.
smurf 39 | 1,981
25 Sep 2013 #5
one of any of the existing states would veto its entry

Now, that's fantasy.

There is no way the EU would allow it

Don't really see why they wouldn't. The break up of Czech & Slovakia went off without a hitch. Yugoslavia was finally dismantled. Other nations will break, it's only a matter of time, sure even Scotland is probably, hopefully, going to break away from the yoke of London.

its economy depends on EU membership

Taxes earned from Silesian industry has been propping up Warsaw for donkeys years, if you cannot see then you don't really know what you're talking about.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,734
25 Sep 2013 #6
The Catalans will have to join the EU on the EU's whim and its probable that one of any of the existing states would veto its entry. That would be the end of Catalonia's economy as EU and international companies would exit taking their jobs with them.

Spain wouldn't have much of a choice - they may attempt a veto, but Germany (as is becoming normal for her) would apply some pressure and Catalonia would be admitted.

The real problem for Spain in the long term is that if Catalonia goes, the Basques may very well follow.
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Sep 2013 #7
ven Scotland is probably, hopefully, going to break away from the yoke of London.

Scotland won't vote for independence, although I wish they would. Unfortunately Scottish independence is more popular with English voters than Scottish.

Taxes earned from Silesian industry has been propping up Warsaw for donkeys years, if you cannot see then you don't really know what you're talking about.

First, outside the EU their would be duties to pay on imports and EU businesses would move to Poland and Germany. Second, as a stand alone (hahaha) economic miracle, on re-entry (if allowed) Silesia would have to pay into the cohesion fund to support Poland and the rest of the EU.

Spain wouldn't have much of a choice - they may attempt a veto, but Germany (as is becoming normal for her) would apply some pressure and Catalonia would be admitted.

They would have to use force to get Spain to agree to that, interfering with a nations borders is an act of war, one of the few reasons a country can use force legitimately.

Germany will veto as would Belgium, Netherlands, UK, France, Italy and pretty much every other country with separate regions who may want to declare 'independence'. There is no way countries such as France and Germany would be party to the break up of the EU by nationalists. It is fundamentally against the founding principles of the EU.

Spain has already indicated it would veto Scotland's entry to the EU.
smurf 39 | 1,981
25 Sep 2013 #8
First, outside the EU their would be duties to pay on imports and EU businesses would move to Poland and Germany. Second, as a stand alone (hahaha) economic miracle, on re-entry (if allowed) Silesia would have to pay into the cohesion fund to support Poland and the rest of the EU.

Silesia has no intention of being independent, just autonomous. Quite a difference.
I think it's totally wrong that Warsaw governs how Silesian tax money is spent though, letting the different provinces govern themselves could only be good for the country. Certainly I know from back home that local government do far more work for their localities than the central govt.

They would have to use force to get Spain to agree to that

Which might reignite ETA, can Spain afford to have 2 terrorist organisation bombing and killing people? Wouldn't think so.

It is fundamentally against the founding principles of the EU.

I'm not sure it is, surely people have a right to govern themselves?
I cannot see these regions making full breaks, I think that making regions more autonomous is the key. And if that's a test and they pull it off successfully then I cannot see a reason as to why regions cannot be independent.

Borders are fluid y'know, sure jaysus Poland used to be half the size of Europe and look at it now, I think it's less than 1/6 of what it was at one stage, was even wiped off the map for many, many years as we all know.

Countries change and unify and fall apart all the time. Sure the EU isn't even the first organisation to be establish common trade rules in Europe. The Hanseatic League was founded in the 14th C and sure Britain had the commonwealth over most of the planet.

I'm sure that over time the EU will continue to work, but it will eventually fail and fall and something akin to it will be eventually established again.
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Sep 2013 #9
Just remember that lot of people would kill to defend Poland, especially from foreigners attempting to break it up. This isn't a trivial matter, Poles are well aware of the past.

I think it's totally wrong that Warsaw governs how Silesian tax money is spent though

Its part of Poland, how money is spent is down to its democratically elected government.

I cannot see these regions making full breaks, I think that making regions more autonomous is the key. And if that's a test and they pull it off successfully then I cannot see a reason as to why regions cannot be independent.

Look at Syria or Serbia to see what it can lead to. The Syrians who started the protests did not expect or want a civil war but that is what they got and now they deeply regret starting it.

As I said, this sort of talk started wars in Europe in the past and its what the EU was founded to prevent.

I'm sure that over time the EU will continue to work, but it will eventually fail and fall and something akin to it will be eventually established again.

Yeah, right. Someday over the rainbow.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
25 Sep 2013 #10
Poland has no tradition with autonomous regions. In this respect Piłsudski was much more broadminded I think. I doubt the Silesians want to become independent, just as the Kashubians do not want that. They want autonomy in many respects (language, education), which is not the same as becoming independent, or looking for accession to Germany.

Besides Lower and Higher Silesia have in my view distinct identities.
In my native Belgium the German-speaking minority has full and equal rights (indeed the constitution is also written in German), and I as a Fleming can only applaud cultural autonomy
smurf 39 | 1,981
25 Sep 2013 #11
especially from foreigners

Silesians are foreigners?

its democratically elected government

But Poland's version of democracy is a joke as those of us living here know. For example, in Krakow, Anna Grodzka was 'elected' for the Krakow region. However, she wasn't actually elected by the people, Mr Pailkot's party got enough votes in that area and he chose Ms Grodzka to represent that area. That's not really democracy. I'm not quite sure what it is, but democracy it is not.

Look at Syria or Serbia to see what it can lead to

Look at Czech and Slovakia. No war there.
Canada & Norway also became independent peacefully.
As did the vast amount of African countries which became independent during the 1950s & 60s.
You mentioned Serbia....pretty sure Serbia's beak with Montenegro didn't lead to a single drop of blood being spilled.

Yeah, right.

Yes, that is right. In 500 years I'll be able to say "Na-naw, told ya so.'

They want autonomy in many respects (language, education), which is not the same as becoming independent, or looking for accession to Germany

Exactly.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
25 Sep 2013 #12
especially from foreigners attempting to break it up.

So where would you classify Kashubians and Górale for example?
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Sep 2013 #13
Canada & Norway also became independent peacefully.

Well done for finding two countries that settled a split amicably. Neither were in the EU. Doesn't make up for the thousands of other wars over territory over the millenniums.

Funny you mention African, after its half century and ongoing wars and civil wars.

Serbia's beak with Montenegro didn't lead to a single drop of blood being spilled.

Shame about the wars against the Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia.

Silesians are foreigners?

Sorry I assumed you are not Polish. Are you?

Yes, that is right. In 500 years I'll be able to say "Na-naw, told ya so.'

:) Indeed you can.
smurf 39 | 1,981
25 Sep 2013 #14
Well done for finding two countries

Wasn't that hard, I use google, I find it's quite good ;)

Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia

the break up of Yugoslavia was a horrible conflict, those lands should never have been put together in the first place, it was bound to happen eventually. People when forced to share a country usually don't like that.

Are you?

Nope, but according to the most previous census I am Silesian :P
peterweg 36 | 2,316
25 Sep 2013 #15
Nope, but

So you are advocating a break up of Poland to reduce the payment of tax to Poland.

A country which was nearly was wiped out in the last war because its couldn't afford the modern weapons to defend itself.

Poland may well join German and Italy in the MEADS missile defense, integrating militarily with Nato is far more important than selfish financial gain.

I hope you take that into consideration.
Crow 137 | 7,745
25 Sep 2013 #16
the break up of Yugoslavia was a horrible conflict

Ironically, Yugoslav project (back in past some 100 years, Garasanin`s Nacertanie- project) was result of the deal made by Polish and Serbian intellectual elite. One of our worse business deals in history, our joint failure where in my deep opinion France and Britain manipulated both of us. That is again proof that when it comes to Slavs- Britain, France and Germany have similar agenda.

Anyway, idea was to cut German and Turkish presents in the region, as well as to minimize Russian influence. Fertile ground for creation of Yugoslavia was founded in idea of Pan-Slavism and in historical Serbian background of the many regions (citizens) within Yugoslavia (but outside of the borders of Serbian state).

But, in reality. Only Russian influence was minimized (because only that depended on power of the Serbs), while German presents even increased (via Croatia and Bosnian Muslims) and Turkish also (via Bosnian Muslims).

Spain has already indicated it would veto Scotland's entry to the EU.

Also, Spain refused to recognize secession of ethnic Albanian minority in Serbia and condemned EU`s stance on Serbian Kosovo province.

They would have to use force to get Spain to agree to that, interfering with a nations borders is an act of war, one of the few reasons a country can use force legitimately.

yes. Just don`t forget that destruction of Yugoslavia even started by the EU`s and NATO attack on Yugoslavia and then they focused on Serbia. Parallel with open war, war in media followed.

But, what many people actually don`t understand. Serbia practically didn`t start to use her force (Serbian army was involved in wars during conflict in former Yugoslavia only for three months when NATO in 1999 started to bomb and attack us and conflict existed since 1991). Really. Of course, it doesn`t mean that won`t start to use it one day, considering illegitimate secession of Kosovo and illegitimate overrun of traditionally ethnic Serbian territories all over former Yugoslavia. Serbia wait.
sobieski 107 | 2,128
26 Sep 2013 #17
A country which was nearly was wiped out in the last war because its couldn't afford the modern weapons to defend itself.

What does this have in common with the Silesians wanting to have cultural and educational autonomy?
Or the Kashubians for that matter?
peterweg 36 | 2,316
26 Sep 2013 #18
What does this have in common with the Silesians wanting to have cultural and educational autonomy?

Smurf is talking economic separation, to stop sending money to Warsaw. Thats not 'cultural and educational autonomy'.

Or the Kashubians for that matter?

What does that have to do with the topic?
Crow 137 | 7,745
26 Sep 2013 #19
Poland threatened by 'Kosovo scenario'

The Silesian Autonomy Movement has sent a petition to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk asking him to allow all regional communities to gain autonomy status.

Same as Germany took part in destruction of Yugoslavia and partition of Serbia, Germany interfere in Poland`s Silesia

Rola Niemiec w rozbiciu Jugosławii
sobieski 107 | 2,128
30 Sep 2013 #20
NATO could act against Poland.

In case you did not know it, Poland is a fully-fledged member of NATO and the EU.

Silesian separatists.

Nope. They strive for autonomy. But this is a definition which you do not understand...
Crow 137 | 7,745
30 Sep 2013 #21
yes, Poland is in delicate situation. But, tell me, why do you think that agreements with Britain or France (for example), functioning better via NATO today, then similar agreements functioned back in time of WWII and before. Why are agreements via NATO more obliged then it was before? Plus, have in mind that NATO proved to be organization of double (or even more) standards, from situation to situation.

Seams to me that you simple decided to trust to NATO and EU. Very nice.

Nope. They strive for autonomy. But this is a definition which you do not understand...

oh, i understand it very well. If there are powerful outside interests, autonomy can easily turn to be something else.
Harry
30 Sep 2013 #22
yes, Poland is in delicate situation.

No, Poland is not in a delicate situation: the only way Poland would have anything to fear from NATO (or the EU) would be in the impossible scenario where the Polish government orders the Polish army to begin a campaign of rape and murder designed to drive all Silesians out of what Poland considers to be Polish territory. In that scenario, hopefully NATO would act. However, that scenario is very simply never going to happen: Poles are civilised people; Poles are not barbaric scum who carry out campaigns of mass murder, rape and genocide. If you want to see scum who do things such as that, perhaps you should go look out of your window?

Seams to me that you simple decided to trust to NATO and EU. Very nice.

Poland's choices are either to join the organisations of civilised Europe or to sit in caves muttering delusionally about Slavija and Sarmatish victories a thousand years ago; as is noted above, Poles are civilised people.
Crow 137 | 7,745
23 Oct 2015 #23
When problems in Silesia culminate, Poland would realize what must do in order to secure legitimacy of Polish actions in defense of Poland`s sovereignty. Poland would then annul its Kosovo recognition. That mistake would be corrected. Mistake that Poland made under pressure of partners from western Europe and USA, as Tusk himself admitted to Polish students and that his statement was recorded.


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