The Fourth Reich: be warned, the EU is on the march
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the Lie
One of the most commonly repeated howlers concerning the EU is the belief that the great European club was originally created to promote trade and reproduce the 19th liberal idea of free untrammeled markets.
This is not only wildly inaccurate but represents a complete misunderstanding of how and why the EU came into being and with what intentions for the future.
The luminaries who dreamt up the Treaty of Rome, the famous tablet of stone which enshrines the objectives of European solidarity, were not any of them businessmen. Nor were they remotely connected, if at all, with the sordid worlds of manufacturing, transportation, money changers and so forth.
One of their first acts was the creation of the monstrous Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) an offence to both nature and markets.
To this day family budgets bear the costs of bloated waste and senseless destruction of food to maintain producers’ support prices (see my polemic The Sacred Cow, 1987).
One of the great Founding Fathers of European federalism, Robert Schuman, gave the real game away in his famous speech in Strasbourg, on 16th May 1949. He could not have made it any clearer as to which road the infant institutions of Europe would take.
“Our century, that has witnessed the catastrophes resulting in the unending clash of nationalities and nationalisms, must attempt and succeed in reconciling nations in a supranational association. This would safeguard the diversities and aspirations of each nation while coordinating them in the same manner as the regions are coordinated within the unity of the nation.”
Like many of those who swarmed around him, the pixy-faced Schuman was the classic functionaire par exellence. He was born in the miniature state of Luxembourg, and then studied at universities in Germany and France. He became prime minister of France, despite speaking the language with a thick German accent. Borders and nations were largely irritating distractions to Schuman (see how he airily dismissed nations as ‘regions’).
Jean Monnet, who shares the pantheon of Pan European gods, was a French politician who chiefly wanted to cure the addiction to war by eradicating the cause: nations.
The Archduke Otto van Habsburg strove to restore the old Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium wanted to give his countrymen something to believe in, since they basically detested their own artificial homeland.
Americans experience difficulty appreciating that the EU is a bureaucratic and not a political confection. There was never any call from the peoples of Europe to be roped into Schuman’s grand ‘supranational association’, or anything like it. So there is no direct comparison with the American experience of popular liberation.
The noted US financial commentator Michael (‘Mish’) Shedlock rather nicely summed this up recently with a note on his website. He observed that if the EU went back to basics, basically by recreating the spirit of 19th century free trade liberalism, then it might find itself with something useful to do.
He implied quite wrongly however, that the original founders of the EU set out with this purpose foremost in their minds.
But as we have seen the founders were supranationalist bureaucrats, not capitalists and even less were they free traders. They were foremost tidy minded central planners with a love of passionless rigidity.
Nor was there a glorious era of free trade in the 19th century make-up of Europe. On the contrary, European countries used every protectionist trick in the book to safeguard their precious markets from unwanted predators.
It was not until late into the 19th century that two entirely new nations appeared on the map of Europe; Italy in 1870, Germany in 1871. The Italians had no great markets or liberal traditions to speak of.
The new German (or actually Prussian) state was the end result of the glacier-like amalgamation of city states and petty feudal fiefdoms that occupied the previous hundred years. Some internal trade barriers persisted up until WWI. External tariffs, as everywhere in Europe, were as thick as the German forests.
Mr. Shedlock is correct, of course, when he says that Europe is drowning in red tape, the infamous harmonizing directives (Euro laws which over-ride national ones) that govern everything from the right shape for cucumbers and bananas to a common design for motor car wing mirrors.
This plague really has nothing whatsoever to do with free markets but instead everything to do with facilitating a bureaucrat take-over of all activities and choices in an individual’s daily life.
But he should be reminded of the strange irony that one of the great Euro skeptics of the 20th century, none other than Margaret Hilda Thatcher, was almost entirely responsible for driving through the famous piece of Euro legislation called the ‘Single European Act.’ In effect the SEA, which came into force in July 1987, at last created a true and practically seamless common market.
It was Thatcher the free-booting anti-federalist revolutionary who put an end to customs controls between the member states, thirty years after the original six national signatures to the Treaty of Rome.
It was not long before the treaty of Schengen (1985) witnessed the abolition of passport controls between the majority of the member states. Mrs. Thatcher may have been keen on the freedom of goods, but not when it came to people. So the Brits are still stuck with their passports.
The world is watching Europe anew because of the supposed threat to the common EU currency, introduced to great fanfares eleven years ago. The Euro zone does not precisely overlap the Euro political block, but we are now told that it is impossible to think of Europe’s future with including the supranational currency.
This is an entirely false proposition on a number of grounds.
First, there is no such thing as the Euro. There is however a Greater German Mark disguised as the Euro.
This has swallowed all of the available countries which are really significant in monetary (meaning market) terms. These are France, Italy and the Benelux grouping. The UK, so far at any rate, is not available, but I am one of those who believe that the Bank of England’s days are firmly numbered.
To say that Greece (or Italy, Portugal, Belgium et al) can bring the Euro down is just as preposterous as the efforts by various conmen over the years to sell the Eifel Tower for scrap. What is interesting is that these enterprising entrepreneurs always found ready mugs for takers. It is the same with the Euro collapse talk right now.
The Euro is not in any danger of collapse because it is basically impossible for this to happen. This is because European pan-sovereignty – Robert Schuman’s gift to the world, in the bright new morning of superfederation – has now reached a critical mass.
The contrived crisis has no purpose but to speed the process of creating a European Monetary Area. The Euro then ceases to be a fiat currency and instead function as the coin of a formal monetary union. The European Central Bank will absorb most if not all the functions of the subservient national central banks. There will be the long foretold formal market in Euro bonds.
The regulation of banking and financial markets will move to one central spigot, as part of the long process of centralization which began in the immediate post war years.
An attempt to bring all this about by the usual cumbrous method – the long winded and often seemingly intractable process of complex treaty changes – might well ignite a popular backlash.
Most Europeans are already using the Euro, so why should they care one way or another? The answer is that the Euro is only grudgingly accepted in important countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Finland. It is not tender in the UK, Denmark, Sweden or the former bloc states which are now members (colonies) of the EU, except for Estonia (and Slovenia, in the old Yugoslav union smashed by NATO).
Full monetary union would mean that what presence there remains of national sovereignty would vanish at the stroke of a pen.
By engineering a crisis the EU (with a little help from the US Federal Reserve) can achieve what otherwise might take years of bitter negotiations, if past experience is our guide.
The interest of the United States is simply explained. Washington seeks to reduce the number of world currencies as a form of containment of Russia and China, and the imposition of an imperial currency on the rest of the rest of the world.
From another direction, one way for the US to exit the nearly $15 and rising trillions of national debt is to switch to another currency.
The grossly inflated and over-heated rhetoric about the implosion of the Euro has already allowed the Bilderbergers and the Trilateralists to take over Italy and Greece. But for the contrived crisis, Premier Silvio Berlusconi was in no immediate danger.
Instead, the fabricated Italian debt crisis allowed those moving the levers behind the scenes to stage a coup d’état.
The Italian techno-government will be followed by a sanitized form of one party state, headed by a prominent industrialist.
My money is on the aristocratic Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the former boss of the employers’ federation and the Fiat auto firm. He is also a junior member of the old royal House of Savoy, to boot.
Please remember, this was a putsch designed in Brussels, where the head of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, is a prominent Bilderberg gargoyle.
But there is one more important factor concerning the status of Germany.
The most powerful political leader in Europe today is not the pompous Old Etonian David Cameron, still less the clownish Nicholas Sarkozy. It is the federal German chancellor Angela Merkel who owns the title of Führerina of the EU.
She understands perfectly well that European experience consistently demonstrates how solidarity grows from a crisis.
Bismarck attacked and defeated France in 1870-71 to forge a national spirit in a young state. The appearance of French troops in Italy made the rather flagging cause of the Risorgimento suddenly rather popular. The Versailles peace conference that followed WWI allowed the attendant statesman to thoroughly enjoy themselves re-arranging the jigsaw of Europe like some sort of giant board game.
Post WWII, the European institutions swiftly began to overturn national sovereignty at a remarkable pace.
All the main components of the New World Order – the IMF, the Bank of International Settlements, the World Bank, the European Commission on Human Rights, NATO – marched firmly alongside in tight lock step.
Germany is re-militarizing against the wish of most Germans. This is an exact repetition of the mood in the young federal republic that resisted rearmament and being dragooned into NATO.
The same sort of anxiety that threw up the Baader-Meinhof Gang is now directed at Germany’s sprawling and corrupt banks. Time, in that sense, is short.
Merkel has moved across the board from euro-agnostic to increasingly interventionist.
“The challenge of our generation is to finish what we started in Europe, and that is to bring about, step by step, a political union,” Merkel told the party congress in the East German city of Leipzig. “Europe is in one of its toughest, perhaps the toughest hour since World War Two,” she said.
She believes that it is well past time that Germany was respected and honored for her role in bankrolling the European Union all these years. Germany is now the lead funder in the so-called banking crisis.
Historically speaking, when Germany moves to center stage in European affairs, the Continent invariably trembles.
But in a purely strategic sense, she is the natural lynch pin of Europe. Germany is the most populous state. She has the largest economy. She is wealthier than any other EU member state. She hosts the European Central Bank. Many Europeans are using her money, even if in disguise. Her politicians, if not all her people, are fed up with being hobbled by history.
Moreover, the Euro-Mark is the currency of eight-tenths of the citizens of EU states. It is traded on world markets.
The German government is disinclined to allow it to fail and with it the prize of the captaincy of Europe. The price will be paid in in another currency altogether; the ancient sovereignties of the member states.
Edited by End the Lie
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