Saturday, August 30, 2014

Atlantic Council: The Military Implications of Scottish and Catalonian Secession

AUGUST 26, 2014

Scotland will free-ride in the Atlantic without sustained investment, but Catalonian maritime specialization would be welcome in the Mediterranean.

On 18 September, Scotland votes on the question of independence from the United Kingdom, and the polling strongly suggests a vote of no. On 9 November, Catalonia could be voting on the same issue vis-à-vis Spain, but the polling slightly suggests a yes—if the Spanish Constitutional Court allows the vote to take place. NATO members should treat neither case lightly, but the independence of Catalonia would pose fewer military problems for the alliance than that of Scotland.

The secessionist movements in both countries have endorsed joining both the EU and NATO. But both organizations have warned that accession is not remotely automatic, and depends on the agreement of every existing member state. Those are slightly different lists of 28 countries, and one must only remember the juvenile and endless exclusion of Macedonia by the Greeks—over a branding dispute—to understand how long a blackballing can last. The Spanish probably could not manage to block a determined move for Catalonian self-determination. That said, two of my Atlantic Council colleagues have questioned whether the European Union would admit Catalonia, as some member states (e.g. Belgium) have cause to fear further secessionist activity. Would the British accede to Scottish independence, but then plausibly attempt to exclude the country from NATO? A currency union may be off the table, but such dickering over the serious business of defense would be unacceptable.
As Griffe Witte of the Washington Post argued just this week, in the long run, Scottish secession could be challenging for maintaining Britain’s Trident submarine force. The Scottish National Party (SNP) aims to declare independence in 2016, and see the nukes off by 2020. Today, the submarines and their warheads are conveniently somewhat isolated at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, 40 kilometers from Glasgow. The Royal Navy’s other two major facilities, HMNB Devonport and HMNB Portsmouth, are both in populated areas on the south coast of England. This has caused some to question whether the south coasters would appreciate the sudden arrival of a few hundred nuclear weapons. But Devonport is where the RN overhauls and refuels those nuclear submarines, so the locals are already accustomed to the presence of things nuclear. In the breach, it is likely that they would prefer the several thousand high-paying industrial jobs that would transfer down from Scotland.
That could be all well and good, but assuming that Scotland and Catalonia were admitted to NATO, what would they contribute? At the Strategic Foresight Forum this past spring at the Atlantic Council, Anne Marie Slaughter—late of Princeton and the US State Department, and now running the New America Foundation—opined that an independent Scotland and an independent Catalonia would do a fine job of defending themselves. At the reception afterwards, a former defense official and defense industrialist argued to me that the consequences for NATO would be adverse, “because the Scots think that defense is a free good”. But even beyond the hyperbole, it’s important to note how significantly plans for forces flying the Saltire cross and the four bars of the Senyera differ.
Scotland is a country of 5.3 million people, with over $200 billion in GDP. The SNP has in mind a tiny version of Britain’s armed forces as a whole: a navy of a few frigates, a fighter squadron, and an armored infantry brigade. With enough investment, a short-ranged maritime patrol squadron might follow as a welcome addition to the recent loss of RAF Coastal Command. The problem, however, is that Scottish resources aren’t likely to match these goals. Spending the NATO average of 1.6% of that GDP on defense would provides just over $3 billion annually. That level of spending is equivalent to the budget of Austria, a neutral country which needn’t maintain a navy. Unless Scotland steps up to a higher rate of spending, its exit from the United Kingdom would produce another free-riding Celtic state on the periphery of the open North Atlantic.
 Catalonia has 7.3 million people, with more than $300 billion in GDP. Spending just 1.6% of that on defense provides over $4.5 billion annually, or roughly the budget of Denmark, which has well-regarded and efficient armed forces. Catalonian military plans are more vague, but so far, they emphasize the navy. With excellent ports in Barcelona and Tarragona, Catalonia is well-positioned as a minor naval power, ‘with the Mediterranean as our strategic environment, and NATO as our framework’, as the nationalists’ think-tank on defense argues. The rough plans call for a littoral security group of a few hundred sailors at first. After a few years, Catalonia would assume responsibility as "a main actor in the Mediterranean," with land-based maritime patrol aircraft and small surface combatants. Eventually, the nationalist ambition may include an expeditionary group with a light assault carrier and hundreds of marines, to take a serious role in collective security.
 Of course, all these plans are subject to the vagaries of each country’s political process, but even the announced policies differ importantly. Scotland’s tiny replication of British capabilities wouldn’t be so clearly efficient. On the other hand, Catalonia’s ambition would be more restrained. If accurately characterized by the few white papers that have surfaced, the separatists’ position suggests a valuable and refreshing view of specialization in collective defense: build a navy that is comparatively focused on influencing events ashore. By de-emphasizing the military forces that any landlocked country will have, and instead steering investments towards those it is comparatively positioned to provide, Catalonia could punch above its weight in European political affairs. There may be no further Álvaro de Bazáns in Barcelona, but there may be new littoral forces that NATO needs around the periphery of the Mediterranean.
James Hasík is a senior fellow in the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

Atlantic Council: Segon article sobre Catalunya  : 

Assessors de l’OTAN veuen els avantatges d’una Catalunya independent. Un expert en defensa internacional dels EUA considera que Espanya no podrà aturar la independència de Catalunya i que aquesta serà la nova potència militar de l’OTAN en la perifèria de la mediterrània
Vejam si els catalans comencen a entendre quin pot ser el paper al món d'un Estat Català independent i quins són els elements de negociació i amb qui hem de negociar per tal d'assegurar-nos el nostre reconeixement internacional abans de proclamar la independència de Catalunya.
Josep Castany, Director General de Catalunya Acció
Segon article sobre Catalunya de l’Atlantic Council :


Un expert en defensa internacional dels EUA considera que Espanya no podrà aturar la independència de Catalunya i que aquesta serà la nova potència militar de l’OTAN en la perifèria de la mediterrània

L’Atlantic Council, format per un grup d’experts especialitzat en temes seguretat internacional que assessoren l’OTAN,ha publicat un article sobre les implicacions militars de la independència d'Escòcia i Catalunya. L’autor de l’article, James Hasik, considera que l’OTAN hauria de prendre’s seriosament el cas català i escocès i assegura que Espanya difícilment podrà evitar la independència de Catalunya i que aquesta estaria ben posicionada com una potència naval a la zona mediterrània. També qüestiona els possibles vetos de l’entrada de Catalunya a l’OTAN i recorda el cas de Grècia amb Macedònia que titlla d’infantil i conclou que potser no hi haurà més fragates espanyoles a Barcelona “però pot haver-hi noves forces  litorals que l'OTAN necessita al voltant de la perifèria de la Mediterrània”.
L’article recorda que Catalunya compta amb 7,3 milions d’habitants i té un PIB de 300 mil milions de dòlars i que si Catalunya invertís només el 1.6% del PIB  en defensa tindria el mateix pressupost que Dinamarca, país que compta amb unes forces armades molt eficients.

L’autor destaca la posició estratègica de Catalunya, amb ports excel·lents a Barcelona i Tarragona, per començar a ser una potència naval menor a la Mediterrània i subratlla que, tot i  que ara els plans sobre defensa de Catalunya són vagues i hi ha pocs documents tècnics al respecte, en el futur Catalunya podria assumir la seva responsabilitat en defensa i esdevenir un “actor principal a la Mediterrània”,  i jugar un paper clar en la seguretat col·lectiva.

En aquest sentit diu que “la posició dels independentistes suggereix una visió valuosa i refrescant de l'especialització en la defensa col.lectiva”. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

LA DUI. LA MERKEL I RAJOY. El Rey Elefante i el pobre apostol! Ai, ai ai!

La DUI és la porta del reconeixement internacional. Sense la DUI ets un afer domèstic. Les sortides són després de la DUI, no pas abans!

  • Si Merkel no habla español y Rajoy no habla inglés ni alemán, ¿Qué coño significa esta foto?

  • Tens raó. Qui ha fet la foto d'aquesta paròdia? El jacobinisme, enemic d’Europa, té por de Catalunya.

  • Merkel defensa el ‘no‘ de Rajoy: “Té molta lògica i crec que se li ha de donar suport”

    La cancellera alemanya evita entrar a valorar el fons de la qüestió sobre el procés català

    Merkel i Rajoy, abraçant l'apòstol Santiago, a la catedral de Santiago de Compostel·la Foto: EFE.
    La cancellera alemanya, Angela Merkel, ha lloat aquest dilluns els arguments del president del govern espanyol, Mariano Rajoy, contra el procés català assegurant que tot el que ha manifestat fins ara sobre aquest afer “té molta lògica i crec que se li ha de donar suport”. Amb tot, Merkel no ha volgut entrar a valorar el fons de la qüestió perquè considera que tracta d'un “assumpte de política interna d'Espanya”
    Darrera actualització ( Dilluns, 25

  • El jacobinisme, el secular pitjor enemic d’Europa, té por de la Independència de Catalunya.

  • la BANCA ALEMANA la principal acreedora de la BANCA ESPAÑOLA

  • Merkel donarà suport perquè De Guindos presideixi l'Eurogrup

    Veu 'lògica' la postura de Rajoy sobre el referèndum d'independència
    La canceller, Angela Merkel, ha confirmat aquest dilluns que Alemanya donarà suport a la candidatura de Luis de Guindos per presidir l'Eurogrup un cop acabi el mandat de l'holandès Jeroen Dijssebloem. Merkel ha lloat 'l'excel·lent gestió' de De Guindos com a ministre d'Economia durant l'època de crisi i ha destacat la bona sintonia entre el responsable espanyol d'Economia i el d'Hisenda alemany, Wolgang Schäuble.
    'Han resolt temes conjuntament i de manera excel·lent', ha subratllat. La canceller alemanya ha fet aquestes manifestacions en roda de premsa després de la reunió informal que ha mantingut amb Rajoy, a Santiago de Compostel·la.
    D'una altra banda, Merkel veu 'lògica' la postura de Rajoy sobre el referèndum d'independència de Catalunya. Rajoy ha reiterat que és il·legal i ha recalcat que el dictament del Consell de Garanties Estatutàries fou aprovat 'només per una majoria de cinc a quatre dels membres' de l'òrgan.


    Sunday, August 24, 2014

    BCN capital european tourism

    Barcelona El Prat airport exceeds 4 million passengers in one month for the first time ever

    Alicante-Elche's and Palma de Mallorca's airports improved its figures in July for the fourth month in a row in both cases
    This July, Barcelona El Prat Airport broke a new record by surpassing 4 million passengers in one month for the first time ever. 4,027,585 travellers passed through the main Catalan airport last month, an increase of 4.9% from July 2013, according to Aena, the public body that owns and operates the majority of airports in Spain. This makes Barcelona's airport the second busiest in Spain, only just beaten by Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, which registered 37,831 passengers more than El Prat this July, a total of 4,065,416. There has also been good news from Girona Costa Brava Airport, 100km north of Barcelona, which has reported a 5.5% growth in aeroplane capacity utilisation this year, despite the falling passengers numbers overall. The amount of airport passengers in Spain as a whole has now increased for the 9th consecutive month in a row and represents a 4% rise in the number of travellers from this time last year.  
    This is the first time Barcelona El Prat has managed to achieve over 4 million passengers in one month, as the previous record was broken in August 2013 when 3.9 million travellers passed through Catalonia's main airport. This represents an annual increase of 4.9%, whilst the cumulative growth from 2014 stood at 6.5%, with a total of 21,261,217 passengers between January and July.
    The biggest increase was from travellers on flights within the European Union, an 8.8% rise compared to July 2013. This was followed by users of international flights from countries that are not part of the EU, which have increased by 2.6%. However, in contrary to these figures, the number of domestic passengers has dropped by 0.6%.
    During July 2014, 29,191 take-offs and landings took place at Barcelona El Prat Airport, 4% more than during the same month of last year. This statistic was only exceeded in July 2008, when 29,733 flights passed through the Catalan airport. On the 11th of July 2014, 1,018 flights were recorded to have used El Prat's runways, a figure which had not been reached since 2008. The total number of flights from January to July 2014 totalled 164,295, which is a 2.6% increase from the same period last year.
    Cargo transportation figures also rise
    The aeroplanes passing through Barcelona El Prat airport this July have transported 9,061,624 kilos of cargo, representing an increase of 9% compared to July 2013. There was a 12.6% increase in cargo transportation from flights which do not come from the European Union and a 7.7% rise in the cargo from the EU. The total amount of cargo transported through El Prat this year is 59,418,410 kilos, a 4.1% increase from 2013.
    Hot on the heels of Madrid-Barajas airport
    Barcelona El Prat is currently the second busiest airport in Spain in terms of passenger numbers, only just beaten by Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, which recorded just 37,831 passengers more than Barcelona's, a total of 4,065,416. This is a 4.8% increase from July last year and the 6thconsecutive month that Madrid-Barajas has seen an increase in the number of passengers.
    The third busiest airport in July was Palma de Mallorca, which recorded 3,451,911 million passengers, 1.8% more than the same month last year. In Spain as a whole, passenger numbers have grown for the 9th consecutive month, a 4% increase in respect to June 2013. The total number of passengers that have passed through the country's airports is 21,905,338, and of these nearly three-quarters, or 15,754,224 people, were international passengers.
    The Madrid-Barcelona airport rivalry
    These figures come after a long-standing controversy in which AENA, the Spanish Airport Authority which owns and manages the majority of Spanish airports, has repeatedly given Madrid Barajas Airport more funding than Barcelona El Prat Airport for decades. This is in order to convert Madrid Barajas into an international airline hub, particularly for intercontinental flights to South America, a role which many argue El Prat could fill just as effectively. In addition, the partially state-owned airline, Iberia, took the decision to concentrate all its intercontinental flights in Madrid and therefore stop most of its international routes to Barcelona, a change that many feared could damage business at El Prat. On top of this the Spanish Government obliged some foreign airlines to sign an agreement stating they would only operate from Madrid Barajas if they wanted to land in Spain.
    However, in the last few years there has been a great effort to change the situation and consolidate Barcelona El Prat Airport as an important intercontinental flight centre. There are signs that these efforts have paid off as intercontinental and international flights have increased dramatically over the past few years and passenger figures and statistics have started to reach Madrid Barajas' levels. In fact, in August 2013, Barcelona El Prat overtook Madrid Barajas for the first time in monthly figures, although in September Madrid took back the leadership. However, there is still great room to improve the situation, particularly for transfer passengers.
    Things start looking up for Girona Costa Brava Airport
    After months of falling passenger numbers, another Catalonian airport, Girona Costa Brava, located around 100km north of Barcelona, has finally been able to announce some positive statistics. It has reported that since January 2014, 80% of the potential capacity on Girona's aircrafts has been filled, a 5.5% improvement from the same period last year. Furthermore, there has been growth in the number of travellers on all the major airlines operating in Girona Airport, apart from Ryanair. Between them, the airlines have witnessed an 11% growth between January and May and are increasing operations by 9.5%.
    This comes after the dismal news that Girona Airport experienced a 23% fall in passenger numbers during the first half of 2014 and a 25.2% decrease in the number of flights passing through the airport in June due to Ryanair's dramatic decrease of flights from this airport. In addition, these figures are predicted to worsen in the next six months as Ryanair, the airport's principal airline, is planning to cut the number of flights down to just 14 destinations during the winter season.
    However, in the longer term there might be some hope for Girona Costa Brava Airport. Firstly, Ryanair has recently announced that it is buying 175 new aeroplanes to add to its current fleet of 300, with the hope of transporting up to 112 million passengers by 2019. Furthermore, Girona Airport has the advantage that it is far cheaper than El Prat, proving to be around half the cost for airlines to fly to that city than to Barcelona's main airport. Finally, the Spanish Government has recently announced plans to freeze airport tax during the next ten years, which is sure to be a key selling-point for Spanish airports in the next decade.
    Palma and Alicante also beat records
    Alicante-Elche’s airport registered a new historical mark during the month of July, which exceeded 1,200,000 passengers. Specifically, in July more than 1.2 million passengers were recorded, representing an increase of 2.3% compared to June. This is the fourth consecutive month that the airport increases the number of passengers.
    Palma de Mallorca’s airport is also increasing its number of passengers for the fourth month in a row. The main airport in the Balear Islands increased in July by 1.8 percent the number of passengers compared to the same month last year, a total of 3,451,911 passengers.

    Blog Archive