A recent YouGov poll commissioned by the German newspaper Bild struck a blow to the federal government in Germany. 32 per cent of people in the federal state of Bavaria indicated that they support the secession of the state from the power in Berlin. Out of the 16 states polled, support for the creation of an independent state was between 8 and 22 per cent, yet in Bavaria secessionists are comparably strong.
Good reasons for secession
Bavaria ranks second on GDP when it comes to Germany’s 16 states and is simultaneously, with 22 per cent growth between 2010 and 2015, the fastest growing of all of them. This is largely due to the automobile manufacturing industry in Munich, gun manufacturing, the IT sector and tourism (Bavaria is the only German state which has the Alps). If Bavaria were an independent country, it would rank 9th (on GDP) in Europe, outperforming Sweden, Belgium, Norway and Ireland. In GDP per capita, the federal state outperforms Germany itself.
Bavarians have good reasons to be upset with the fiscal policy of the German state: the country’s so-called Länderfinanzausgleich is a equalizing payments mechanism which makes the productive states financially assist those which are not performing as well, in an attempt to reach a level playing field. In practice, this meant that in the past decades, productive Bavarians were paying the bill of the inactivity of other states, which have lowered their competitiveness by increasing taxes and regulations.
Don’t trust big government
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
said the brilliant Lord Acton. The more we centralise power, the more we end up handing politicians and bureaucrats considerable power. Take the example of the European Union:
The island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea is 122 square miles large (making it 20 times smaller than Delaware), and is governed by a parliament of 67 members. The Maltese GDP is €8.4 billion. The European Union’s expenditure on administrative costs is a total of €10 billion. The EU employs thousands of bureaucrats to draft new regulations for people whom they will never meet and whose countries are increasingly fed up with the avalanche of overtly ineffective lawmaking that is dumped on them.
Centralising power means contradicting the concept of localism. Localism is the belief that the policymakers should be as close to citizens as possible, so that many important decisions should actually be taken on the local level. Believing that the government should make rules about how individuals should live their lives is one thing, believing that these rules are better made in a city far away than by people who live right next door is just odd.
There is every reason to believe that Bavarians are perfectly able to govern themselves. The question therefore shouldn’t be “should Bavaria secede?” but “why shouldn’t Bavaria secede?”
The fact that Bavarians do share a culture with Germans up and down the rest of the country could only reinforce the belief that a newly created state would be as friendly when it comes to free trade and freedom of movement as the neighbouring countries in Central Europe.
The German constitution, as of now, does not allow for the secession of its member states. There might be some amending to do.