The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union – a political construct designed (we were told) to ameliorate trade and improve our balance of payments, but always known (and openly declared) on the Continent to have been concerned with values, rights and deeper political motives. Of course there was a strong desire to bring to an end a thousand years of turbulence and war between the Frankish and Germanic peoples: the quest for a Teutonic Order has been a long and bloody one. But it’s something of a propaganda distortion to attribute 60 years of peace in Europe to the existence of the EU. What would Alfred Nobel make of this cynical abuse of his legacy?
There’s a certain irony in awarding his prestigious Peace Prize to a union of nations which is presently being ripped apart by fiscal anarchy and economic folly. While the Greeks are burning German flags and Croatians are burning EU flags, Herman Van Rompuy seems to shuffle on obliviously. Continue reading →
He didn’t use the word ‘Reich’, of course: he’d be sensitive to shadowy historical undertones and averse to Godwin’s tendencies. But by warning that Germany risks being the centre of an ‘empire’ that ‘caused the collapse of the eurozone’, he certainly raises the spectre of a Fourth Reich, doubtless to the delight of those who have long believed that the ECSC/EEC/EC/EU is just a German racket to achieve by incremental treaties what they could not accomplish with bombs and bullets.
‘Soros warnt vor deutschem Weltreich’, read headlines in the German press. According to the multi-billionaire financier, the Reich re-emerges as the mechanism for effecting German foreign and economic policy: it is the kingdom or realm for the realisation of the dreams of kaisers long gone and chancellors not so long gone. Continue reading →
It was exactly 20 years ago in 1992 that Europe’s élite were tortuously negotiating the Maastricht Treaty, which paved the way for Europe’s single currency. Germany’s Chancellor Kohl was telling us about the importance of building the House of Europe, explaining that if there was no monetary union there would be no political union (and vice versa). President François Mitterrand of France was more than happy to sacrifice le franc for his plus grand projet. Belgian Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene assured us that monetary union was the motor of European integration. And President of the European Commission Jacques Delors was busy turning the ERM into EMU and founding the ECB to impose binding budgetary rules upon all Member States. When the currency was named the ‘euro’, it was Spain’s finance minister Pedro Solbes who proclaimed: “Thou art Euro, and on this Euro I will build Europe,” as though the gates of Anglo-Saxon Hades could not prevail against it. Continue reading →