Bavaria as a Free State?

A Maypole in Upper Bavaria (photo Ken Macbeth Knowles).

As the Eurozone is increasingly called into question by conservative forces in many European nations, voices of dissent and separatism also have been increasing in volume. While many have mulled over Greece leaving the EU, or Germany making an exit from the monetary union, this would also have devastating economic consequences: not only for the indebted nations in the south, but also for the loaning countries, such as Germany, which have greatly profited from the economic freedoms the Union afforded. This has resulted in a form of a stalemate, as the governments are unable to make concessions, while citizens are enraged about the masses of debt accumulating on the continent.

The situation is more complicated than that, though, as recent developments in one of the richest German states have showed another sentiment entirely: Bavarian citizens are reconsidering their place in Germany. Bavaria and the rest of Germany have long had an uneasy relationship, since it was a part of France for a long time, until Germany was united after the Franco-Prussian War. Bavaria has also considered itself crippled by the rest of Germany after the reunification with East Germany, which has proven to be a costly project considering the structural investment required in the east. Bavaria is home to much of Germany's industry, and views Berlin with much skepticism. However, while Germans, both in the south and the north, have long joked about Bavaria being a foreign country, now a formal plea has been published by Wilfried Scharnagl, the editor in chief of the Bayernkurier, to create a new country in Bavaria.

While financially and culturally Bavaria has long been slightly different than the northern German states, these feelings have peaked in response to EU measures which are not supported by the relatively conservative southern state. Scharnagl makes a case that the momentum, which incorporated Bavaria as a part of the Prussian Empire, was the same which effectively culminated in World War II and has no place in the modern world. The CSU stronghold, incidentally, was also home to the famous beer-hall putsch, which helped bring Hitler to power, putting his claims in a very strange light.

The voices, whilst possibly loud in Bavaria, are not received with sincerity in the German capital and it is unlikely any consequences will result in the increasingly liberal Germany - which has seen political forces such as the Pirate Party rise to power during the last election cycle. The CSU has remained fairly dominant in its consistent strongholds in the Bavarian countryside, but has not gained enough momentum to leave the shadow of its sister party the CDU.

 


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