The European Empire is becoming increasingly authoritarian and centralised. As always, a major crisis is used to increase control by the Council of the EU through an intensified centralisation of power.
The EU is not, of course, a totalitarian state, but it is increasingly centralised. In the wake of the Maastricht and Lisbon Treaties the EU has begun to reveal its authoritarian nature as regards decision-making.
So it remains a Council that runs the EU from its twice-yearly meetings that are in practice much more frequent. I’ve not counted but the EU must have had at least 2 Council meetings in October alone. In this each member of Council has a number of votes in approximate proportion to a formula based on population and per capital wealth.
But at least as important as these calculations is the chance for each Council member to use informal influence and contacts to sway decisions or at least appear to be doing so – even when it is not. Of course, as in any governing by secret clique the ordinary folk will never know how decisions are made, or even which decisions.
In today’s EU, the growing economic power of Germany means it can effectively run the EU with only one additional large member state, which at the moment happens to be France. The very reluctance of France shows clearly how disparate the countries of Europe are.
This EU Council will become more unbalanced as German power grows. The political geography of the EU, in which Germany lies at the centre of a north-south and east-west Teutonic Cross, also makes it possible to rule a Europe that excludes Russia, so the new ostpolitik makes German dominance easier (on which see the EU’s Drang nach Osten). It is particularly striking that the Iron Chancellor looks to China rather than Russia, despite the fact that China is no more a democracy than Russia, or indeed the European Empire. The entire rhetoric of democracy is used as a means of demonising enemies while taking care not to do so to allies or neutrals, as well as using the right language to avoid criticising the EU.
Is democratisation the solution? The EU is very far away from any process of democratisation. Quite the opposite, the Council is still in the process of weakening democracy by centralising power even further by drawing more and more decision-making from the EU Commission to the President of the Commission, Barroso and now Juncker. And how can such a tower of babel be any different?
Commissioners are, therefore more to be understood as the senior civil service of the EU, or state secretaries, or in German statssekretär which is not at all the same as the English terminology Secretary of State, which refers to a senior governmental minister, as used in countries that have English as their official language.
But there has been a growth of a class of technocrats including the President of the Commission who is The President of the European Union, who gives the annual State of the Union Address (to the EU Parliament). This imitating of the US practice is appropriate given the EU is a product of US Cold War policy, as described in Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s now classic article in The Telegraph 14 years ago: Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs.
The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security is also unelected, as is the shy and modest President of the Council (Van Rompuy) with a 2½ year term of office as chair. The Nomenklatura becomes larger with each mutation that the EU undergoes.
So I find it hard to see democratisation ever happening. The government of each member state – irrespective of its current political bias – will not want to lose its power, however little and irrelevant that may be in the case of small member states like Latvia and Sweden. Indeed, the smaller member states gain considerably more from being able to maintain to their domestic electorates that they are involved in the Council deliberations, especially as what they discuss and decide is kept secret. The fear of being left out of the Council can always be used as an argument for staying in the EU, and indeed is used so.
But it gets worse. Spiegel online 2 April 2012 describes how Germany’s Finance Minister now wants to introduce tighter fiscal controls on all EU Member States – including Britain and the Czech Republic, neither of which have agreed to the Fiscal Pact.
And now the Commission seems to be making decisions based on sounding out the Council. This too is a convenient way of reinforcing the deception that no Council Member can be identified as having agreed to it.
Global hot-spots of the European Empire’s expansion eastward:
The first is Turkey which has the largest armed forces of any NATO member, second only to that of the USA. Expanding the EU into the Middle East is a highly risky venture Turkey being admitted to the EU by the back door is probably the only way it can be admitted without causing a major EU crisis. At the same time this would not be new. When the Maastricht Treaty met opposition the Lisbon Treaty was a repeat that was a blind but that many signed up to. The most fanatic supporters of this expansion included the Moderate Government of Sweden. Both Reinfeldt and Bildt strongly supported it, no doubt in part because the EU would acquire a powerful army. But I doubt the Commission understands what its longer term consequences will be. These are far-reaching and incalculable. The biggest problem is Kurdistan, discussed in the preceding post.
There are several border conflicts between Turkey and Kurdistani lands. Of these the potentially most dangerous is the Turkey-Iraq border (see Time World 29 Dec 2011). Syria is another, particularly during the Syrian Uprising, with Turkey and Syria in increasing conflict. There is an informative post on the Syrian Kurdistan Campaign (2012 to present).
One of the big advantages to the European Empire gaining Turkey as a member state would be giving the Empire control over the entrance to the Black Sea via the Dardanelles. The aim, of course, is to make the Black Sea a land-bound lake of the European Empire accessed via the Dardanelles by sea, with Anatolian Turkey as its southern shore, and Ukraine as its north shore.
So when the Turkish adventure failed, the EU turned its attention to Ukraine, in order to incorporate the northern coast of the Black Sea. The Nomenklatura’s overweening ambition to control the Black Sea’s southern coast – Anatolia – has not been abandoned, its incorporation in the empire has only been postponed, until such time as Ukraine becomes a full member of the European Empire.
But the incorporation of Ukraine went wrong already at an early stage with the incorporation of Crimea into Russia. The loss of Crimea was a major blow to Imperial Europe’s nomenklatura. Retaking it would be far too difficult other than by unleashing the Third World War. So it has been postponed while work proceeds to recruit Ukraine to the European Empire.
In the long run (apart from us all being all dead) the European Empire will want to expand to the Urals at least. But the Urals are no barrier and like previous German Chancellors this is a dream that none have yet come close to gaining. Russia now faces a waning global hegemon and a resurgent Old Europe.