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Sleepwalking to oblivion

13 April 2019

9:00 AM

13 April 2019

9:00 AM

‘Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991’. This is the grim assessment of billionaire businessman, globalist and europhile, George Soros.

Soros laments that anti-European forces now enjoy a competitive advantage in EU elections. ‘There are several reasons for this, including the outdated party system that prevails in most European countries, the practical impossibility of treaty change, and the lack of legal tools for disciplining member states that violate the principles on which the European Union was founded’.

Outdated party system or not, Mr Soros is right to be uneasy.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister and minister of the interior, spoke for a growing number of Europeans when he announced in January that, ‘Today begins a journey that will continue in the coming months for a different Europe, for a change of the European Commission, of European policies, which puts at the centre, the right to life, work, health, safety, all that the European elites, financed by Soros and, represented by the French president (Emmanuel Macron), deny’.

Ironically, today’s EU evolved from a post-war French initiative intended to keep the Bonn German government under control. Now, while culturally Germany has made little impression, its economic authority is critical to the Union’s survival.

Post the May European elections, Salvini hopes that Italy and Poland could trigger a ‘European spring’ that could break this dominant ‘Germany-France axis’. He said, ‘The Europe that will be created will no longer be managed by bureaucrats… We are preparing for a new equilibrium and a new energy in Europe’.

Salvini has wind in his sails. His party, The League, tripled its votes in a recent Southern Italian regional election. Unsurprisingly, the London-based betting company William Hill quotes strong odds that Italy will be the next country to leave the EU.

Recent elections in Holland confirm the growing dissatisfaction among EU members. The Forum for Democracy Party, established only two years ago, took the largest number of seats in the Dutch upper house election, from zero. Its leader, Thierry Baudet, blames the EU for ‘uncontrolled migration that distorts our streetscapes, all this leftist indoctrination in our schools, all this ugly architecture, the transfer of power to the European Union, the climate heresy’.

Disaffected Hungarians accuse Brussels of wanting to take away Hungary’s control of its borders.

Indeed, disenchantment is widespread. A new survey of 27,600 voters across Europe, found 44 per cent believe the EU is headed in the wrong direction while only 32 per cent approve.

The head of the  European Commission, the dictatorial Jean-Claude Juncker, and his 32,000 well-paid, minimally-taxed Eurocrats, epitomise what Europeans increasingly see as an undemocratic, self-serving superstate forcing unwanted decisions on them. Their generous pay and conditions stand in stark contrast to the 118 million Europeans struggling with life below the poverty line, an increase of 40 million since 2007.

Such is the depth of feeling, that writing in the Telegraph, Conservative member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, described Juncker as ‘everything Britain detests about the EU. You want to understand why Britain voted Leave? Here is an explanation in three words. Jean. Claude. Juncker’.

But then, Britain was always a reluctant EU member and never seriously considered swapping the pound for the euro

After elections in May, Herr Juncker’s term will end. His successor will inherit a union of 28 countries in various stages of disenchantment, a discernibly slowing economy and an ambitious China keen to use its cheque book to buy influence. Is this what Sr Salvini has in mind when he speaks of a ‘new equilibrium’ to replace the influence of Germany and France?

Certainly, Italy’s finance minister, Giovanni Tria was quick to praise China’s Belt and Road Initiative, saying ‘The BRI is a train that Italy cannot afford to miss’. Meanwhile, having secured the Greek container port of Piraeus, the Chinese are looking to acquire the ports of Genoa, Trieste, Palermo and Ravenna in Italy, Antwerp in Belgium and Rotterdam in Holland.

Needless to say, with threats of contagion, Europe was always going to make Britain’s exit as difficult as possible. Indeed, Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council, the body which defines the EU’s overall political direction and priorities, was being deliberately mischievous when he told British lawmakers, ‘You cannot betray the six million people that signed the petition to revoke article 50, the one million people who marched for a people’s vote, or the increasing majority of people who want to remain in the European Union’.

He conveniently ignored the 17.4 million Britons who voted in a referendum to leave. It wasn’t an opinion poll.

But the truth is, Britain has botched the process thanks to know-it-all Conservatives defying the will of the people. Their procrastination and lack of strategic planning has inflicted unnecessary economic harm on the British economy, with nearly A$2 trillion being channelled out of the country in the last two years.

Worried by a new YouGov poll which shows, absent an EU extension most Britons favour a no-deal solution, Mr Tusk is suddenly proposing a year’s extension. Unless accepted, 12 April remains the deadline. But, regardless of Brexit, the inescapable reality is that the European Union has been captured by a powerful, politicised, bureaucracy, which is increasingly unresponsive to the needs of an ever growing number of disaffected, nationalistic, member states. Now, some of those states are determined, through investments and loans, to have China reshape the balance of power.

With elections and recession close at hand, the EU in its current form faces oblivion. The new ‘different’ Europe as seen by many member states, will definitely have China in its future.

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