Last night’s defeat of Theresa May in the Commons made an already complicated and tense Brexit situation infinitely more fucktangular. Which was obviously cue for politicos of various ways, shapes and forms in Muddy Hollows not to resist the urge and comment on the entire shituation.
This fact is mildly interesting in itself as Brexit was by far one of the least debated aspects of EU matters in Slovenia, a country where EU matters don’t rate high on the agenda as it is. Unless, of course, it has to do with EU funds, in which case suddenly everyone is an expert.
You may have missed it, but Luxembourg held its legislatives Sunday last. The politics of the tiny European country are not all that important for this blog (although pengovsky does dabble in Luxembourg over at Luxventures podcast, do check it out), but for some reason the Grand Duchy did catch the attention of the SDS leader Janez Janša the other day and made him fire off this pretty amazing tweet:
For those not versed in the Slovenian language, the Glorious leader tweeted, verbatim: ‘These people want to lecture us on the “erased”. About half of Lux residents do not have citizenship because they don’t speak Luxembourgish. They don’t have access to public sector jobs and are not allowed to vote. There are 256,000 people eligible to vote, which is less than 43 percent of the population.‘ If your mind was just blown, you’re not the only one….
It takes a special sort of naiveté to look at the last ten days in Muddy Hollows and see it as anything but a shameless run for cheap political points. The matter at hand is the issue of one Ahmat Shani, a Syrian refugee who ended up in Slovenia where the state is refusing to process his asylum application and is now facing deportation to Croatia.
Ahmad Shami (source)
Ahmad Shami was a part of the 2015 refugee exodus which – despite numerous warning signs – caught the EU more or less unawares and scrambling for stop-gap solutions, hobbling the Schengen area and inducing levels of panic and overreaction not seen since, well, the eurozone crisis. But Ahmad Shami probably cared less about that than getting to safety and making sure his immediate family could follow in his footsteps.
UPDATE 29/06/2016 @ 1630 CET: The Tribunal has announced its decision which (at least in part) goes along the lines argued in the post. See the end of the post for details.
Once for a change, Slovenia and Croatia have every right to feel like the centre of the world. It’s not as if they don’t feel like that most of time, but with the final decision of the arbitration tribunal on the border between the two former Yugoslav republics due on Thursday, the attention of much of the continent (if not the world) will be upon them. And it shows.
The disputed maritime border between Slovenia and Croatia
The story of the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute is as long as the independence of the two countries and has in the past quarter-century gone from practically non-existent to near-armed-conflict and back again, with everything in between. It has been used time and again for scoring cheap political points, divert attention from other problems or even (allegedly) coordinated by players on both sides of the borders to swing elections. But in reality it was nothing more than a neighbourly dispute over a few patches of land that got out of hand.
The fact that Norbert Hofer of the Austrian Freedom Party came within a whisker of winning the country’s presidency speaks volumes. Indeed, it is a sign of times that a Neo-Nazi candidate winning “only” forty-six percent of the vote is considered a success for the democratic order. The sad reality is that the election of Alexander van der Bellen for Austrian president is merely a respite from the onslaught of forces of destruction and division that have engulfed much of Europe and the Western world in general. A welcome respite, to be sure, but a respite nevertheless. The shit has not yet stopped hitting the fan.
The Most Interesting van der Bellen In The World (source)
That van der Bellen defeated Hofer twice and with a larger margin on the second go is a silver lining and perhaps strengthens the rationale for a second Brexit referendum. But one should not count on the far-right tide ebbing across Europe. Not with the Dutch, French and German elections still in play and with their own Neo-Nazis well positioned to make substantial gains and sow further discord and hatred. This, of course, was made possible (not solely but in substantial part) by several critical failures of both the European project as well as of the underlying concept of post-war liberal democratic order.