T HE result of the referendum of June 23, 2016 regarding Britain’s continued membership of the European Union is the first major defeat for the German-controlled European Union of banks and multinationals. It undoubtedly shook the dominant British and European political and economical system.
The British are not people who might have a slave mentality. They are the proud people of a great country that in the past was an empire and today is one of the world’s largest economies. The British therefore, winners of two world wars, have developed a highly dignified attitude and behavior. British citizens who endured with unprecedented fortitude and bravery, the fierce bombardments of the Nazi air force in World War II, would not be able to accept, against any short-term negative economic impacts arising from Brexit, the German domination and leadership of the European Union. Thus, the incredible surprise of the German political leaders and bureaucrats in Brussels caused by this amazing, liberating (for the ordinary people) result on June 24, 2016, does not comply in any way with any historical knowledge and thorough data analysis.
Germany’s assiduous effort to put under its complete control the European people and level once again the continent –this time not by the use of military weapons as in the past, but the use of economic ones—presents similar, ahistorical characteristics. It is obvious that the Germans who cannot control their great political and economic power, are completely ignorant of history, and so now find themselves, by mathematical determinism, on the verge of a new defeat that will come through the imminent unraveling of the European Union.
The European Union, which in 1993 through the Maastricht treaty replaced the previous EEC, is basically a defective political and economic union of states with different political, legal, economic, military and cultural levels. It is a union of people who feel like strangers to each other, without any mutual and brotherly feelings of solidarity. Thus, the grandiose pronouncements and unrealistic visions for a democratic and prosperous European Union could not but be bitterly ruled out.
Germany, taking advantage of the impacts of the crisis which erupted in September 2008 through the grandiose collapse of the banks (Lehman Brothers) and invoking of course the Maastricht Stability Pact and the need for reform packages so that the negative effects of the crisis can be confronted, has been implementing since then with exaggerated dominance, a kind of economic totalitarianism, mostly against the weak member states of the European periphery.
The anti- grass roots economic plans of the strictest neoliberal austerity imposed by Berlin have indeed levelled the societies of southern Europe. In Greece, which is certainly the most typical example of the pilot implementation of these incredibly absurd and economically irrational policies, unemployment has increased dramatically to 26.8 per cent of the workforce, while 36 per cent of the Greek population lives below the poverty line. In Italy, 24.4 per cent of the population is facing the risk of poverty and social exclusion. In Spain, 22.2 per cent of the households live below the poverty line and more than one in three children, -that means 2.6 million, – are facing the risk of poverty and social exclusion. In Portugal, one in four children lives below the poverty line and a total of about two million people – 20 per cent of its population live amid poverty and destitution.
At the same time, Germany has clearly received unprecedented economic benefits. Its extremely big profits arise from the transfer of investors’ money to low risk German bonds due to the crisis plaguing the eurozone. Especially after 2009, yields on German bonds have reached the bottom of the barrel, while in some cases (eg 5-year German bonds) reached negative interest rates. That means that Germany not only does not pay to borrow, but on the contrary, investors -given the insecurity in the euro zone- pay it in order to safeguard their money. Thus, in five years time (2010-2015), Germany has managed to save a total of EUR 100 billion, equivalent to three per cent of its GDP, precisely because of the dramatic reduction in borrowing costs.
So, it is more than obvious to every benevolent observer that the European Union, and surely the extremely neoliberal eurozone, operates in the interests of the dominant Germany at the expense of other member states and mainly at the expense of the southern European countries. The extremely high trade surpluses achieved by Germany— in 2013, it had a trade surplus of 200 billion thus remaining a highly competitive state—are certainly due to the great German economic machine. At the same time, they are scandalously increased by the unfair eurozone monetary system.
Germany for the first time in many years, apart from its economic boom, has become a first rate international player, given that its political leadership has found itself at a key position. It has been able to represent the other European countries without being asked to. So, the exit of Great Britain, the first military power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the country with the third largest contribution to the EU budget from the European Union represents a fatal blow to the international status of the European Union and to the status of Germany.
In the same time, the European Union institutions and decision-making processes lack democratic legitimacy and are distant and inaccessible to the ordinary European citizen. Thus, a deep democratic deficit directly opposing the founding treaties of the European Union and grossly violating the original declaratory core of values, is clearly visible. The people of Europe do not exert any direct influence on the important European Union decision-making institutions, for instance the European Council with its strong centralized role and the European Commission with its highly bureaucratic and technocratic nature, while these institutions have absolutely no accountability to the citizens. On the other hand, the directly elected European Parliament, which is based in Strasbourg, does not possess sufficient powers and continues to be a weak link.
In conclusion, the European Union which has been reduced into a type of German colony despite the illusions cultivated by certain political circles is not willing to change or improve, or even acquire a democratic, social role. Thus, the time has come came for the enslaved countries within the European Union and the eurozone to follow the shining example of Great Britain and the proud British people, to break their steel shackles and get liberated, looking forward with widespread hope and optimism.
- Isidoros, a global affairs analyst, can be reached via [email protected]