The EU is in trouble. Its own outdated idea about governance is being replicated by a French leader facing defeat. He has announced a blockade of all ‘accompanied freight’ officially to prevent the transference of the new mutant Covid19. But probably, in reality, because it looks like No Deal Brexit is a real possibility and he will have the notoriously powerful, and militant, French farmers to placate. You may recall the scenes of Welsh and British sheep being burnt at roadside protests during previous CAP renegotiations. It as reported in the NY Times here and AP here
It is clear to see that the EU as a viable project is not only in a panic mode currently, but actually going backwards, its desire to model itself on a United States of Europe federal model slowly slipping from it’s grasp. And there can be no better examples than our Brexit negotiations, Covid19 and France’s current predicament, France was one of the original architects of the EU and is still one of its primary beneficiaries.
At the eleventh hour, as we have seen, despite Britain remaining steadfast to its demands at the negotiations for a departure from the European Union, the EU itself shoots itself and looks even to its own supporters to be losers of the highest order. Last minute demands are thrown into the negotiations by France’s Macron, who, fearful of his own presidency being scuppered if he has to deal with the wrath of thousands of French farmers, and now fishermen, who will be out of work by January 1st if Britain gets back full control of her own waters.
Of course as a non-member of the bloc, the UK will have its own ideas about how government interacts with business and state aid rules. How a desperate French president threw this into the negotiations at the eleventh hour demonstrates how weak the EU is and, when it is presented with important matters, how it plays the role of a spurned and petulant child!
The fact that France is allowed to do this is shocking. But the truth is that Macron is not playing for a deal. He prefers a no deal which he can use as political capital for his own fishermen. And the EU almost fell for it. Clearly there are divisions within the EU as to how to go about getting a Brexit. Many member states, like Germany, for example, are happy to give back fishing rights to the UK in exchange for a Brexit deal. Doesn’t the EU have billions of euros at its disposal to compensate and retrain out of work citizens? Of course it does. Structural funds run into billions and there is no viable reason why the existing EU rules would not favour out of work French fisherman.
But this cheap shot by the EU, hijacked by France, makes it look weak and ineffective, which will cost it dearly at the polls when it has its own elections in 2024.
But it’s not only Brexit which is dividing this bloc which has ambitions about being a superpower with its own army.
You don’t need to look very far to see that there is a distinct lack of unity in the organisation which is causing it to haemorrhage. In mid-November, it couldn’t sign off an agreement to put aside almost 2 trillion dollars for a rescue plan for member states which were hit hardest by the Covid19 pandemic, namely Italy and Spain.
The six-year budget, which is supposed to be approved now, will not include this package, which will be seen as a major blow to Italy and will almost certainly lead to a growth there of an anti-EU sentiment, marking out Italy as ripe for a massive swing to La LEGA and Salvini in the European parliament, if not a campaign for Italy to leave the EU all together.
Poland and Hungary blocked the proposal as a way of showing France and Germany – the real owners of the entire EU project – that it wouldn’t be bullied on other areas like immigration.
This is the real worry for eastern European countries. Their elites could not face an influx of immigrants from hotspots in Africa (which coincidentally are also the same recipients of hundreds of millions of euros of aid).
The EU itself can’t join up the dots and see this. Just as journalists aren’t making the link between Macron’s problems in France – an economy struggling to cope with cheaper imports which are supposed to respect EU directives (but invariably don’t) – and immigration, which is leading to the so called far right taking more votes.
France, a founding member of the EU, can’t find a single journalist in the entire republic to make these links, and yet the people themselves see it clearly. A cursory search on YouTube is full of independent news sources documenting it.
But Macron’s thinking behind new laws which he is pushing for – to make it illegal to film police officers, comes straight out of any Middle Eastern dictator’s handbook on how to create a police state. Macron needs to deal with immigration and the police, to save himself at the polls. And no one is kidding themselves about the new law and its purposes.
The EU has always been a dictatorship which uses the auspices of ‘democracy’ to cover its real intentions. Its creation was really about being a greater power to supersede existing democracies. But now, what we are experiencing is a full circle where individual member states are reacting with such vitriol towards the project, that they are indulging themselves at the same font.
Macron is becoming a third world dictator who will happily strip France of its democratic credentials, if it means he can stay in power. Clinging on to power, in fact, is the shared theme of both his presidency and the EU itself.
And, like all empires, Roman, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and British it will expire. That time is now.
Main image courtesy Michael Gaida
If you liked this, why not help keep me going? You can buy me a coffee at https://Ko-fi.com/algwriter