German Alarm Grows Over EU Determination To Punish Britain For Leaving
The business community and conservative politicians in Germany are becoming more annd more hostile towards the way Brussels is trying to force the UK Parliament to accept the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (which some say was drafted by arch Federalist Angela Merkel,) as a fundamental failure of European statecraft that can lead only to a diplomatic catastrophe and long term animosity between the EU and one of Germany’s largest expot customers.
If the EU’s aggressive policy causes a geostrategic rupture with a pillar of the European defence, security, and financial system, as it surely must under existing terms the unelected bureaucrats of the EU Commission are trying to force on Britain, the recriminations in Berlin will be ugly.
“Europe is well on the way to inflicting huge damage on itself for decades by the way it has handled the failed Brexit talks,” said Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).
The Article 50 process may give the EU legal and psychological leverage as the cliff-edge nears but this does not make it is wise to exploit that power. “Not just the British but the whole European Union will pay an immense price unless EU leaders make a fair offer under plausible terms,” he said.
Professor Fratzscher believes the EU is undermining its democratic legitimacy by demanding that Westminster MPs swallow the deal offered by Michel Barnier with a “gun to their chest” and subject to threats of “catastrophic consequences” after two-thirds of British lawmakers have already rejected it. What the EU is doing, from spite rather than a desire to help the Irish leader Leo Varadkar reunite Ireland, is insist that a soft border between The Republic of Ireland and Ulster, which remains part of the United Kingdom, is not acceptable. Yet such soft borders work elsewhere, between Sweden and Norway, between Switzerland and its EU neighbours Germany, France, Italy and Austria.
Parliament is justified in rejecting an arrangement such as the proposed Irish backstop, that would lock UK in a customs union against its will. “No sovereign nation could agree to such terms lightly. The Bundestag itself could hardly have voted otherwise in comparable circumstances,” Fratzscher wrote in Der Spiegel this week. He also argues that if MPs capitulate and accept the Withdrawal Agreement this would be “just as catastrophic” as a no-deal Brexit.
It is an obvious political absurdity to try to contain a military power with a large industrial economy in the EU’s regulatory and legal orbit without that powerful nation having EU voting rights. This must blow up in acrimony and end in an abrogation crisis. Fratzscher obviously reads this publication, our editor has often written that the way to reselve the brexit crisis is to station Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers in the mouth of The Rhine, The Seine and The Elbe and wipe several large EU cities off the map. It’s a simplistic solution but at least it would get their full attention.
Needless to say, the ‘game theory’ calculus for Brussels has been greatly influenced by signals from Parliament, the Cabinet Office, and powerful forces within the British economic establishment that Brexit could be eviscerated or reversed altogether.
Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor until last year, says Europe can’t afford the luxury of a total eonomic and military break with Britain. The EU is split politically on multiple lines of — North-South over money, East-West over the rule of law, and elite — people over immigration, taxes, Islamification and the erosion of democracy — and is surrounded by dangerous neighbours.
When the British voters delivered their message of ‘shock and awe’ to the EU in June 2016, Europe, already aware of the rumblings of discontent throughout the union ought to have steppee back and taken stock, and recognizing that the Monnet — expresswayto a federal European Superstate (EU Acquis) and centralization of power on a committee of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels was no longer viable. It could have come up with a system for a two tier Europe, with Germany and France, along with Belgium and Luxembourg moving towards a single political entity called Greater Germany while ring of countries on the outer fringes of Europe had partial membership of the club on sovereign terms.
This was the plan for a “Continental Partnership” — first for Britain but then as a model for Ukraine, Turkey, and others — put forward by a roster of leading European figures for the Bruegel think tank in Brussels. Among the authors was Emmanuel Macron’s top economic adviser Jean Pisani-Ferry. It was shot down in flames. Mr Macron said Britain had to pay a price for its apostasy, and be seen to pay a price. In fact it the the idiotic boy — president Macron who is paying the price for his betrayal of French sovereignty as the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow vests) protests against Macron’s federalism, high taxes, immigration and surrender of French sovereignty to Brussels tear France apart and threaten to bring down the government.
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