In the runup to Germany’s election Angela Merkel seems to think a strategy of big, bold, and bossy will win election day for her. News she is bent on blocking Turkey’s EU bid personally, and Brussels adopting her “educate the peons” policy strategy dominates headlines. Merkel may win her fourth term as chancellor, but she may also lay waste to Germany’s foreign policy.
A headline on The Australian reads, “British ‘must be educated’ about Brexit consequences: EU”. As EU cognizant as European Union Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier’s boasting was though, he was only mimicking Frau Merkel when he addressed an Italian economic conference the other day. While Merkel and her minions preach Brexit has strengthened the EU, negotiators demanding a €100 billion euro divorce settlement belies an economic reality I’ve reported on recently. Meanwhile, Germany’s Merkel struggles to look tough and competent by catering to her countrymen’s recent dislike of Turkey. Reuters reported on the EU-Merkel call for ending accession talks on account of Turkey’s leader. The EU-Merkel decree comes just weeks after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Turkey it would never become a member of the EU as long as it is governed Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But the reality of Merkel’s policy message is something altogether different.
On September 1st the European Commission issued a press release announcing the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine having come into being. In the release the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker is quoted applauding something destined to be a catastrophe:
“Determination is a virtue. Today, in spite of all the challenges, we have made it. With the entry into force of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, the European Union is delivering on its promise to our Ukrainian friends. I thank all those who made it possible: those who stood on Maidan and those who are working hard to reform the country for the better. This is a day of celebration for our European continent.”
For the uneducated reader the press release appears as the usual political back patting, or just more mumbo jumbo meant to justify the European oligarchy some more. For those of us familiar with the killing fields in east Ukraine though, EU politicos harping about Ukraine people reaping benefits of EU incorporation are laughable and sickening. The commission’s sellouts speak of Ukraine reforms as be “unprecedented”, when in reality there’s an oligarch civil war there to decide who steals what. The real meaning of the Maidan movement is hinted at in the “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)”, or the ability for freewheeling EU oligarchs and banksters to rape the country like they have the rest of Eastern Europe. Also, these moves will virtually ensure that the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia will withdraw from free trade agreements with Ukraine. This will lock the Ukraine people into a dependency that will mirror what Ukraine felt as a Soviet satellite state. With Russia out of Ukraine’s economic future, Merkel’s EU will have accomplished what Hitler’s Third Reich could not sustain – a slave labor state in the Rus. This brings me back to my original argument, the lie that is EU prosperity.
Here in Greece, where my family moved only three weeks ago, the level of EU education among the populace is quite astounding. The cab driver or hairdresser, and especially the college grad forced to take a job at a bakery all know the failings of the European Union. I’ve discussed with two dozen shopkeepers in the last week what each thought of Tsipras and the huge IMF and German attitude toward their country. Almost unanimously Greek feel Tsipras sold them out in turning his back on Putin’s offer of relief. Looking out from the inside here, I see a country that should be the third or fourth richest in Europe devastated and stagnant instead. This is fodder for a future story, but I mention these “attitudes” because they are shared by family and friends who are Romanian, Bulgarian, Serb, and even Croatian. The EU brought most of these Eastern European peoples nothing, nothing except a chance to drive a truck or serve as a waiter in Germany. Slave labor for the Fourth Reich, I guess. For most Greeks there’s a huge sense of nostalgia these days. Hard hit by the economic crisis and debt, the people are beginning to recall the days of the dictatorship, even as cruel as the “Regime of the Colonels” was, Greece’s growth per annum tripled what it today’s figures. Walking the streets here in Heraklion on Crete, it’s easy to trace architecture and style to a period of opulence in the early 70s when growth bumped the 10% mark. While most people baulk at the idea of a military junta running things, severe austerity prompts everyone to question the Euro.
Greece is a good example of how Eastern Europe has faired since EU ascension. In the 1980s Greece’s debt began to stifle an economy already staggered when the military dictatorships were ended in the 70s. Between 1973 and 1993, inflation ravaged the economy, averaging roughly 18% annually. Without making this story about the Greek bailout, it’s important to note the similarities in between all the Eastern European “pledges” central European EU bosses lured into the Euro trap. In Romania today even the youth believe life there was better during the almost 16 years of Nicolae Ceaușescu. My wife and partner Mihaela is from Romania, and identifies owing to her parent’s sparse pensions. The situation is mirrored all across East Europe, and overall EU growth in the years 1996 to 2017 has been barely above 2%. Much of that overall growth was achieved by Germany and other central Europe partners in the early 1990s after the fall of the wall. By comparison, France’s growth has maintained just above zero since the 1960s, and Italy’s prosperity is the inverse of what it was in the late 60s. The point I’m making here is that the EU has broken growth and prosperity for hundreds of millions of citizens since the 80s. Another example of the disparity in between Frau Merkel’s constituents and the rest of Europe comes in the form of external debt. The EU is tipping the debt register today at about 83.5% of GDP, but Germany’s debt to GDP percentage is only 63.3%. Most of the EU total debt is owned by Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Interestingly, the debt Nicolae Ceausescu paid off for Romania before his demise has been kept even lower than most other EU nations.
So, Merkel’s EU minions schooling either US President Donald Trump or the Brits on how the EU functions is laughable these days. What’s more, an EU further burdened by a pitiful and destroyed Ukraine economy stand even less chance of ultimate success. In 2004 when Ukraine was on good terms with Russia the debt was an all-time low of just under $24 billion. Today Ukraine’s external debt is almost $120 billion, and approaches 80% of overall GDP. If I did not know better I’d think Luxembourg and Frankfurt bankers are recruiting debtor nations into the flock in order to scarf up more physical assets. Oh, but that would imply some Rothschild sharks wouldn’t it?
€100 billion euro bill to the Brits, bucking Donald Trump’s “Great new America”, kicking sand on Russia and Vladimir Putin, as a political analyst I’ve honestly no clue where Angela Merkel and her throng are headed. One thing is for sure, the failed EU system has no right to lecture anybody or any nation on “how to” run nations. The disparity in the EU is a blinding reminder of her failures, and the failures of those who put her in power. Another term by Merkel may spell the end of a noble, if haphazardly orchestrated European unity.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.