The way in which Germany and France are refusing the right of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union demonstrates the fact that the EU is not simply a straight-jacket -.
It also goes to show that the Europeans still care as little about their neighbours as they did during the two World Wars.
Manifestly, they have forgotten that governing a country means more than simply defending its interests in the short term, but also thinking in the long term and avoiding conflicts with its neighbours.
The member states of the European Union seem unaware of the clouds that are gathering above their heads.
They have identified the most serious problems of the EU, but are treating them with nonchalance, and fail to understand what the British secession (Brexit) implies. They are slowly sinking into a crisis which may only be resolved by violence.
The origin of the problem
During the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the members of the European Community accepted to bow to the decisions of the United States and to integrate the states of Central Europe, even though these states did not correspond in any way to the logical criteria of adhesion. With this momentum, they adopted the Maastricht Treaty, which transformed the European project of economic coordination between European States into that of a supra-national State. The idea was to create a vast political bloc which, under the military protection of the United States, was intended to engage with the USA on the road to prosperity.
This super-State has nothing democratic about it. It is administered by a collegiate of senior civil servants, the Commission, whose members are designated one at a time by the heads of state and government. Never before in History has an Empire functioned in this way. Very quickly, the paritarian model of the Commission spawned a gigantic paritarian bureaucracy in which some states are « more equal than others ».
This supra-national project turned out to be inadaptable to a unipolar world. The European Community sprang from the the civil chapter of the Marshall plan – NATO being the military chapter. The Western European bourgeoisies, frightened by the Soviet model, had been supporting the European Community since the Congress convened by Winston Churchill in The Hague in 1948. However, after the disappearance of the USSR, they no longer had any interest in continuing along this road.
The ex-States of the Warsaw Pact could not decide whether to engage in the Union or form a direct alliance with the United States. For example, Poland bought US war planes which it used in Iraq with the money granted by the Union for the modernisation of its agriculture.
Apart from the development of police and legal cooperation, the Maastricht Treaty created a single currency and foreign policy. All the member states were obliged to adopt the Euro as soon as their national economy would allow it. Only Denmark and the United Kingdom, catching the scent of impending problems, stayed out of it. As for the foreign policy, it seemed to make sense in a unipolar world dominated by the United States.
Taking into account the differences within the Euro zone, the small fry were destined to become the prey of the biggest of the sharks, Germany. The single currency which, at the moment it was put into circulation, had been adjusted to the dollar, transformed itself progressively into an internationalised version of the German Mark. Incapable of competing, Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain were symbolically qualified as PIGS by the financiers. While Berlin pillaged their economies, it offered Athens a restoration of its wealth – if Greece would hand over a part of its territory.
It so happened that the European Union, while pursuing its global economic growth, was overtaken by other states whose economic growth was several times faster. While adhesion to the European Union was an advantage for the ex-members of the Warsaw Pact, it had become a millstone for the Western Europeans.
Drawing lessons from this failure, the United Kingdom decided to retire from the super-State (Brexit) in order to reconnect with its historic allies from the Commonwealth and, if possible, with China. The Commission panicked, fearing that the British example would open the door for other departures, for the maintenance of the Common Market but the end of the Union. It therefore decided to set conditions which would be dissuasive for leavers.
The internal problems of the United Kingdom
Since the European Union serves the interests of the rich at the expense of the poor, the British workers and rural citizens voted to leave, while the tertiary sector voted to stay.
Although British society, like other European countries, has an upper middle class which owes its enrichment to the European Union, unlike the other great European countries, it also has a powerful aristocracy. Before the Second World War, this class enjoyed all the advantages offered by the European Union, but also a prosperity that it can no longer expect from Brussels. The aristocracy therefore decided to vote for the Brexit against the upper middle class, which sparked a crisis within the ruling class.
Finally, the choice of Theresa May as Prime Minister was intended to preserve the interests of people from all walks of life (« Global Britain »). But things did not go as intended.
First of all, Mrs. May was unable to conclude a preferential agreement with China, and experienced difficulties with the Commonwealth, with whom the bonds had been loosened over time.
Next, she encountered problems with the Scottish and Irish minorities, particularly since her majority includes Irish Protestants who cling to their privileges.
Besides that, she ran into the blind intransigence of Berlin and Brussels.
Finally, she will have to face up to challenges and questions about the « special relationship » which links her country to the United States.
The problem revealed by the application of the Brexit
After having tried in vain several readjustments of the treaties, the United Kingdom democratically voted for the Brexit on 23 June 2016. The upper middle class, who did not believe this could happen, immediately attempted to invalidate their choice. There was talk about organising a second referendum, as had been done in Denmark for the Maastricht Treaty. This did not seem possible, so a distinction was made between a « hard Brexit » (without new agreements with the EU) and a « soft Brexit » (with the maintenance of various pre-existing agreements). The Press claimed that the Brexit would be an economic catastrophe for the British people. In reality, studies carried out before the referendum, and therefore before this debate, all attest that the first two years after the British exit from the Union would be recessive, but that the United Kingdom would quickly recover and overtake the Union. The opposition to the result of the referendum – and therefore opposition to the popular vote – managed to hinder its application. The notification of the British exit was delivered by the government to the Commission with a delay of nine months, on 29 March 2017.
On 14 November 2018 – two years and four months after the referendum – Theresa May capitulated and accepted an unfavourable agreement with the European Commission. However, when she presented this deal to her government, seven of her ministers resigned, including the minister in charge of the Brexit. Clearly he had overlooked the elements of the text that the Prime Minister had assigned to him.
This document includes a disposition which is absolutely unacceptable for a sovereign state, whatever it may be. It institutes an unstated period of transition, during which the United Kingdom will no longer be considered as a member of the Union, but will nonetheless be obliged to follow its rules, including those which are still to be adopted.
Behind this devious plot hide Germany and France.
As soon as the result of the British referendum was known, Germany realised that the Brexit would provoke the loss of several tens of billions of Euros from its own GDP. Merkel’s government therefore got busy – not at adapting its own economy, but at sabotaging the United Kingdom’s departure from the Union.
As for French President Emmanuel Macron, he represents the European upper middle class, and is therefore by nature opposed to the Brexit.
The men behind the politicians
Chancellor Merkel knew she could count on the President of the Union, Polish Donald Tusk. In fact this man is not at his current post because he is the ex-Prime Minister of his country, but for two different reasons – during the Cold War, his family, members of the Cachoube minority, chose the United States over the Soviet Union, and besides that, Tusk is a childhood friend of Angela Merkel.
Tusk began by questioning British engagement in the multi-annual programmes adopted by the Union. If London were to pay the sums to which it had agreed, it would not be able to leave the Union without paying an exit tax of between 55 and 60 billion pounds.
French ex- minister and commissioner Michel Barnier was nominated as head negotiator for dealings with the United Kingdom. Barnier had already stirred up a number of solid enmities in the City, which he treated badly during the crisis of 2008. Furthermore, British financiers dream of handling the convertibility of the Chinese yuan into Euros.
Barnier accepted to take the German Sabine Wey as his assistant. It is in reality Ms. Wey who is leading the negotiations, tasked with the mission of guaranteeing their failure.
At the same time, the man who « made » the career of Emmanuel Macron, ex-head of the Inspectorate General of Finances, Jean-Pierre Jouyet, was named as the French ambassador in London. He is a friend of Barnier, with whom he handled the financial crisis of 2008. To kill the Brexit, Jouyet is relying on the Conservative leader of the opposition to Theresa May, the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee to the House of Commons, Colonel Tom Tugendhat.
Jouyet chose Tugendshat’s wife Anissia Tugendhat as his assistant at the French embassy in London. She is a graduate of the elite École Nationale d’Administration.
The crisis came to a head during the the summit of the European Council in Salzbourg, in September 2018. Theresa May presented the consensus that she had managed to establish in her country, and that many others would be well advised to use as an example – the Chequers plan (to maintain only the Common Market ties between the two entities, but not the free circulation of citizens, services and capital, and no longer to be ruled by Luxembourg’s European administrative and legal system). Donald Tusk brutally rejected this plan.
At this point, we have to take a step back. The agreements that put an end to the revolt of the IRA against English colonialism did not resolve the causes of the conflict. Peace was only found because the European Union allowed the abrogation of the frontier between the two Irelands. Tusk demanded that in order to prevent the resurgence of this war of national liberation, Northern Ireland be maintained in the Union’s Customs sector. This implies the creation of a frontier controlled by the Union, cutting the United Kingdom in two, and separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the country.
During the second session of the Council, before the heads of state and government, Tusk slammed the door in Mrs. May’s face, leaving her alone. A public humiliation which could not remain without consequence.
- Reflections on secession from the European Union
All this fiddling attests to the skill of the European leaders at political sleight of hand. They appear to respect the rules of impartiality, and to take their decisions collectively with the sole aim of serving the general interest (even though this declared motive is refuted only by the British). In reality, certain of these leaders defend the interests of their country to the detriment of their partners, while others defend the interests of their social class to the detriment of everybody else. The worst is obviously the threat brought to bear on the United Kingdom – it must submit to the economic conditions of Brussels, or there will be another instalment of the war of Independence in Northern Ireland.
Such behaviour can only lead to the re-awakening of the intra-European conflicts which triggered two World Wars – conflicts that the Union has masked within its own territory, but which remain unresolved and persist outside of the Union.
Conscious that they are playing with fire, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel suddenly evoked the creation of a common army which would include the United Kingdom. It is true, of course, that if the three major European powers should agree to form a military alliance, the problem would be resolved. But this alliance is impossible, because it is unfeasible to build an army without first deciding who will command it.
The authoritarianism of the supra-national State has swelled to the point where, during the negotiations on the Brexit, it created three other fronts. The Commission opened two procedures for sanctions to be instituted against Poland and Hungary, (at the request of the European Parliament), accused of systemic violations of the values of the Union – procedures whose objective is to place these two states in the same situation as the United Kingdom during the period of transition – being constrained to respect the rules of the Union without having any say in their determination. Besides which, hampered by the reforms currently under way in Italy which are working against its ideology, the supra-national State refuses to allow Rome the right to build a budget in order to implement its own politics.
The Common Market of the European Community enabled the establishment of peace in Western Europe. Its successor, the European Union, is destroying this inheritance, and is setting its own members one against the other.