[ Editor’s note: Phil Butler has a dark view piece on the future of the EU. While we can easily see the EU flag with tears and tatters in it, we can assume that there will be a transformation, as opposed to its disappearance.
Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill it quickly with whatever is available. That could happen if an EU political vacuum would materialize, and it would be a spin of the wheel guess as to the result. However, the great powers of Europe are not spin of the wheel gamblers.
Before the EU would crash and burn we would see steps to respond to the growing populist demands, often mis-characterized as growing far right extremism, when it is more fairly described as a political reaction against the elitist top-down management style that many Europeans feel has effectively disenfranchised them. There is nothing “far right” about that. It is people revolting against what they feel is an unaccountable Brussels government.
By comparison, the US is hardly less fractured, with the country basically in a political war of multiple levels — social class, rich against poor, and an illegal immigration invasion that both Democrats and Republicans have supported, albeit for different reasons. Add to that a variety of “wedge” issues that have carved the electorate into a divide and conquer putty-ball that several billion in campaign funding molds into whatever shape the elites feel suits them, while keeping the lid on.
Meanwhile a “free” democratic country’s wealth continues to be concentrated into fewer bank accounts, but the political response we see to that is Trump riding into office on an “Everyman” protest vote, when we can clearly see he is serving the interests of wealth concentrators.
Instead of a more populist administration which his supporters thought they were getting, it is a completely reactionary one of billionaires who have “top-down control” oozing out of their pores, and yet, we see no revolt from the Trump voters whatsoever.
Frankly, I am at a loss for words for Trump supporters who are not outraged over this. And Hillary is water under the bridge now. As I had predicted when he took office, at the end of the first 100 days, all would be revealed as to what the Trump voters got for their money, both the elites and the rank and file.
If the latter think the elites are there to serve their interests, I will have to suggest forced political reeducation camps as a possible solution, or as the last desperate measure. I really do hope I am wrong… Jim W. Dean ]
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– First published … March 06, 2017 –
The 60th anniversary of the formation of the European Economic Union is coming up. However momentous this occasion is though, the Treaty of Rome has clearly favored some European nations over others. A pall shadow now looms over the experiment that was supposed to bring peace and prosperity to hundreds of millions. Here’s a look at a stopgap initiative called EU60, an attempt to rescue what remains of a once powerful idea for Europeans.
The European Union has failed most of its citizens. The parliamentarians in Brussels, harnessed to the fragmented national players and institutions, are now tattered threads holding together a frayed idea. Those who questioned the union’s efficacy from the start are now being proven right. Euroscepticism in the UK has caught fire in countries from Latvia to France.
This reality is obvious by both the level of protest and activism against Brussels policies, and in the context of “nationalism” rekindled across much of Europe and the western hemisphere. Donald Trump’s win in America, the Brexit vote, the emergence and popularity of right wing candidates like France’s Marine Le Pen all reveal the weakness of the Eurozone today.
What’s more, today’s acute problems really only validate the original skeptism critics had. But the desperate measures EU leaders like Jean-Claude Juncker are undertaking shows the real danger of an EU breakup soon.
Looking at EU60: Re-Founding Europe for instance, this initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), in cooperation with the Centro Studi sul Federalismo (CSF) shows desperation damage control on the part of the globalist in my view. The project addresses key stumbling blocs in the current structure of the EU, and in no uncertain terms proposes the very breakup experts have predicted for months now.
The short version of this, a fallback position for the original six countries that signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957, cannot be understated here. I am told Jean-Claude Juncker stands behind EU60, so it is safe to assume Brussels is prepared to re-create a new EU once Eastern and Southern European members finally drop out.
To frame this, let me quote directly from an EU60 paper entitled “The EU’s Existential Threat: Demands for Flexibility in an EU Based on Rules:
“If the root-cause of the Euro crisis lies at the level of member states, then that is where reforms should start. This paper argues that countries unwilling or unable to reform should not demand flexibility on EU-rules, but should instead leave the Union altogether”
So, from the mission statement Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and (West) Germany have as their fallback position telling the rest of Europe to take a flying leap? This is the long and short of what EU60 is proposing. The rhetoric inside all the documents I’ve scanned leaves little doubt that Brussels is assured of an EU collapse.
What makes matters worse though, is the fact these “thinkers” have no real and concrete plan for even a “re-envisioned EU”. Every time Juncker or any key player is mentioned in the texts, the points are only stating the obvious. This is, after all, the only thing the parliamentarians do actually. This paper’s authors project Juncker’s brilliant solutions and ideas so:
“According to Juncker in his State of the Union speech of 2015, growth and jobs have to be created to end the Euro crisis so that the public will regain confidence in European integration. Unemployment, Brexit, the success of Trump and the rise of populism have imposed the need to address unemployment, inequality and perceived short-term needs of citizens.”
And this is the best EU thinkers can come up with to address the growing skepticism of a trampled citizenry? This is mediocrity at its apex! The EU is wasting time pontificating and diagnosing an ailment that is already critical. The EU is dying of a chronic disease the last 60 years, and the doctors in charge have research labs observing the same symptoms.
The promise of an EU-wide cure is nowhere in sight. The authors continue with; “Is it that evident that citizens lack trust in the EU? Effective steps towards a sustainable Eurozone first require a proper diagnosis of the weaknesses.”
But I say, “Really now?” Is it finally time to form a proper diagnosis for the almost dead patient?
Furthermore, the EU60 studies skew the real meaning behind even their most in depth analysis. I looked at the section entitled “European Integration by Default”, from the document in question for clues of this. A table provided showing the relative competitiveness of EU countries was framed by the authors to show Juncker’s brilliant theory that “the EU does not have enough union”.
Nowhere in EU60’s dogma, rhetoric, or theories is there a hint that Germany’s unbalance competitive position is anything more than coincidence. As Luxembourg, Netherlands and Germany prosper within Europe’s economic competitive index, France (La Pen) and two of the three Baltic states decline yearly. As for Italy, the Italians occupy the same pitiful position they did 10 years ago. No solutions are in the wind either. What EU60 is at task doing is to simply pretend to address the problems.
What Juncker and the other EU decision makers propose is creating more “institutions” to address problems. This is where the term “Integration by Default” comes in. Europe’s geniuses create a bureaucracy every time trouble pops up. The solution in Brussels is to throw out Romanian or Greek corruptness, and to replace it with a new institution. And in a moment of utter arrogance and obtuseness, the thinkers behind this study condemn wayward EU people’s:
“A Eurozone based on responsible countries may also help to prevent further division between the Euro-ins and the Euro-outs.”
Clearly the EU leadership failed to hire a PR expert, and instead replaced the position with some Humpty Dumpty egg head wannabe. These people are the epitome of mediocre. I wonder how long it took, and how much it cost to pick their tiny brains to regurgitate this pseudo-science? They even go so far as to quote dead American presidents.
“Allowing weak member states to leave seems to benefit the integrity of the EU at large. Paraphrasing J.F. Kennedy, countries that have taken the obligations of convergence too lightly should not ask what the EU can do for them; they should ask what they need to do to save the Euro and the EU. A strong Union can only be built on strong member states. If time is used wisely than it is still possible that the Eurozone has a bright future.”
Wow! All I can add here is “Sieg Heil” to victory and the superior central European mind.
In light of the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, it’s a bitter irony that that monumental document was intended as a “declaration of future good intentions” (historian Tony Judt), and that the “successful” nations in the EU now prophesy some really bad intentions. Germany and Holland at the forefront, trying to roll in disgruntled France and Italy into a new “Reich” of sorts – well, it just smells like a bigger mess than ever in Europe.
The EU is a two-tiered confederation, and the polarization that was not inevitable in 1957, has certainly manifested into full blown policy disease today. The bad news is, nobody has suggested the real (and obvious) cure.