Descent into the Minor League – German Foreign Policy

2014/04/29

13_frankreich

Paris/Berlin (Own report) – Today, numerous parliamentarians in France’s Assemblé Nationale are planning to vote in favour of a program of dramatic austerity measures, in defiance of massive protests. This package of budget cuts had been inspired by Germany. The program is supposed to cut up to 50 billion Euros between 2015 and 2017, of which 21 billion will be from social services alone – and, 10 billion of this from health services. These measures are laying the groundwork for between 30 and 40 billion Euros in benefits for the industry. The redistribution from the middle and lower income strata of society to the industry is following Germany’s example – the “Agenda 2010” and “Hartz IV.” Within the framework of the Euro crisis, Germany has been imposing that other countries within the Euro zone imitate these measures. Paris is under massive pressure. German industry’s exports are pushing its French competitors further in retreat. The French foreign trade deficit has reached new heights and the French industry is sinking deeper into a crisis. The latest manifestation of this decline is the looming sale of France’s traditional Alstom, which Siemens, is competing with General Electric to become the majority shareholder. General Electric is seeking a “European presence” as a stepping stone to become the global market leader.

 

Redistribution

Today, hefty debates will ensue in France’s Assemblé Nationale over the 50 billion Euro austerity package adopted last week by the government in Paris. The package foresees a national budget cut of 18 billion Euros for the period from 2015 to 2017, – 11 billion in cuts from regional municipalities and another 21 billion in social cuts. Ten of the 21 billion will be cut from health insurance, for example, for hospitalization or the cost of medicine. Another eleven billion is to be won by freezing pensions and social benefits. These measures will primarily impact on the middle and lower strata of society. Simultaneously, the government is preparing to provide the industry enormous perks – said to be in the range of 30 to 40 billion Euros, for example, in tax reductions. These measures are massively rejected by the population and causing wide dissention within the parliamentary group of the ruling Socialist Party, where a double-digit number of parliamentarians intend to not vote in favour of this austerity package. Yesterday, in an effort to somewhat assuage the protesters, the government announced slight alleviating concessions, for example, that pensions of up to 1,200 Euros will be exempted from the freeze.

 

Defeat and Decline

On the one hand, with this package of cuts, President François Hollande’s government is taking the consequences of ultimate defeat in its struggle against the German austerity dictate imposed on the Euro zone.[1] In 2012, Hollande won an impressive electoral victory after promising to wage this struggle. On the other, this redistribution – from the middle and lower social strata to the business strata – is an attempt to halt French industry’s current decline, largely due to a combination of the introduction of the Euro and the simultaneous German austerity policy during the SPD – Green government coalition. A recent analysis by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) has provided current data on this development.

More Poverty than Ever

As was noted by the author of the DGAP analysis, since the 1990s, a “post-industrial Keynesianism” has been dominant in France: a “reduction of work hours and an expansion of the French social security model” have been financed by “additional strain on enterprises.” “As is known,” the development in Germany has gone “in exactly the opposite direction,” with the “enterprises’ cost components being reduced.”[2] Industrial support in Germany found its preliminary climax in the SPD – Green government coalition’s “Agenda 2010” (“Hartz IV”). Their social ramifications have been severe. In Germany “wage-earning poverty has reached a new record high of 15.2 percent” confirms the CEO of the Parity Social Welfare Association, Ulrich Schneider, at the presentation of the “Poverty Report” in December 2013. Schneider has observed an “expansion of the low-wage sector” and a “rise in inadequate part-time work and precarious employment relations over the past ten years.” He noted “the dichotomy between poverty and wealth in Germany has significantly grown. … The Federal Republic of Germany has never been as deeply divided as it is at present.”[3]

 

Billions Diverted

The mighty rise of German industry is being financed by the sacrifice of that portion of the German population, which is sinking deeper into poverty. While “the costs of a work hour” in France had “risen by approx. 50 percent” between 2000 and 2013 – and an average of about 40 percent within the Euro zone – it rose in Germany, by only 24 percent, according to the DGAP analysis. This is a European significant reason for Germany’s export success. In addition, France uses Eastern European and non-European low-wage production sites far less than Germany. The research has uncovered that, since the Euro’s adoption – which no longer permitted balancing measures using monetary depreciation – France has no longer been able to use compensatory measures to offset the German style low-wage sector. Therefore, France’s “share of exports in goods and services beyond the Euro zone has dropped from 16.6 to 12.8 percent,” whereas Germany’s share is almost at one-third – 31 percent.[4] The fact that the German industry with increased regularity is in a position to beat out its French competitor, has not only been shown in the relative decline in French exports, but also in the rise in German exports to France. Beginning in 2003, Paris’ competitive disadvantages, particularly those vis à vis Germany – after decades of an equilibrated trade balance, even showing in the 1990s a foreign trade surplus – caused France to rapidly accumulate a foreign trade deficit reaching a new high of 76 billion Euros in 2013. Nearly half of this deficit – 36.2 billion Euros – is on Germany’s account. According to German Bundesbank data, in the years 2002 to 2011, alone, 247.5 billion Euros – nearly a quarter trillion Euros – flowed from France to Germany, in goods, services and other lesser factors.

 

“Abolish the Social Welfare State”

Because, in the long run, this would lead to a collapse and because, up to now, it was impossible to break Germany’s austerity dictate in favor of an alternative economic policy – also due to a lack of protest potential inside Germany – Paris sees itself obliged to imitate Berlin’s redistribution from the middle and lower strata to the industry. There are serious doubts about how successful this will be. First of all, it is uncertain whether the French victims of these cuts will be as docile in their acceptance of the new situation as is the case in Germany, and secondly, German economists are now calling for further social cuts. Yesterday, Thomas Straubhaar, Director of Hamburg’s Institute of International Economics (HWWI), declared that “above all the social expenditures” are a problem for the German national budget. “We must get away from the consumptive, to return to the investment-related state. But, and this must be clearly understood, that means that the social welfare state must be cut back in many sectors.”[5] In Germany, this means further impoverishment – and, on the other hand, for France, it means an obvious impossibility of ever catching up to Germany’s head start in austerity.

 

All Excited

The pressure France is currently subjected to can be seen in the tug of war over the future of the tradition-steeped French company, Alstom. Alstom is stuck in a serious crisis. Ten years ago, when a similar crisis had occurred, Paris stabilized the situation with state subventions. Because of the current critical budget situation, this option is out of the question. Recently, the US General Electric (GE) announced its intention to take over Alstom. To prevent this, the French government offered to sell the company to its German rival, Siemens. The consideration behind this offer is obviously that a takeover by a company within the EU would offer better possibilities for influencing the further development, than would be the case if the sale went to a US company – at least the production site locations inside France. A commentary in a German journal explained the significance this procedure has for Paris: “whoever wants to see the situation from the French perspective should imagine Siemens – Alstom’s German counterpart – suddenly being the object of two foreign takeover bids. No wonder France is all excited. One of the last major classical industrial enterprises of the country … could soon lose its independence.”[6]

 

“European Electric” vs. GE

Currently, in the discussion is whether Siemens cedes half of its transport branch to Alstom, to be able to take over Alstom’s energy business, which, at the moment, accounts for approx. 70 percent of Alstom’s returns. It is said that Siemens – reinforced with the main segment of Alstom – would like to enter onto the global market as “European Electric,” in competition to General Electric (USA), to take over the leadership position on the world market. While this indicates a new transatlantic rivalry, Berlin’s dominance over the EU is also being reinforced by this tradeoff. Whereas, just a few years ago, there was talk of Germany and France leading the EU in “tandem” and “on an equal footing,” today a news commentator spoke wryly of “France making progress … in her industrial descent into the minor league.”[7]

 

 

[1] See “Le Modèle Gerhard Schröder”.
[2] Markus Gabel: Stärken und Schwächen des “Made in France”. DGAPanalyse No. 2, Februar 2014.
[3] Zwischen Wohlstand und Verarmung – Deutschland vor der Zerreißprobe: Bericht zur regionalen Armutsentwicklung 2013. Statement von Dr. Ulrich Schneider, Hauptgeschäftsführer des Paritätischen Gesamtverbandes, anlässlich der Präsentation des Armutsberichts 2013 in der Bundespressekonferenz am 19.12.2013.
[4] Markus Gabel: Stärken und Schwächen des “Made in France”. DGAPanalyse No. 2, Februar 2014.
[5] “Weniger Sozialstaat, dafür bessere Straßen”. www.welt.de 28.04.2014.
[6], [7] Christian Schubert: Alstom auf dem Abstiegspfad. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 28.04.2014.

 

Russia’s South Stream pipeline in deep freeze as EU tightens sanctions noose

gas pipeline

The European Union is close to freezing plans to complete the $50bn (£30bn) South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea from Russia, the first serious EU action to punish the Kremlin for the seizure of Crimea.

Key details emerged in a leaked briefing by the European Commission’s chief, Jose Manuel Barroso, to Bulgarian politicians, warning the country not to stand in the way of the EU’s tough new line on the project, or attempt to undercut a unified EU response over Ukraine. “We are telling Bulgaria to be very careful,” he said, according to reports in Bulgaria’s press.

Mr Barroso said there are “people in Bulgaria who are agents of Russia”, a reference to figures in the ruling Socialist party who have been trying to clinch a bilateral deal with the Kremlin.

The warning came as Ukraine once again rattled investors. Russia’s Micex index of stocks fell 2.4pc and the rouble slid 1pc against the dollar after armed pro-Russian protesters seized government buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and declared the region “independent”. They also stormed offices in Kharkiv and Luhansk.

Ukraine’s premier, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of preparing the ground for seizure of the Donbass region, home to most of Ukraine’s heavy industry. “The aim of this scenario is to divide Ukraine into parts and turn part of Ukraine into a slave territory under a Russian dictatorship,” he said.

There are still 40,000 Russian troops massing near Ukraine’s border. Mr Yatsenyuk said it was “crystal clear” that Mr Putin intended to go beyond Crimea, escalating the crisis to a much more dangerous level.

Brussels has been coy about the status of the South Stream project, which entails huge contracts for oligarchs close to Mr Putin. The official line is that the plans are still alive but Mr Barroso’s leaked comments confirm reports that it is politically dead.

The German group Siemens signed a contract with Gazprom as recently as last week to supply control systems for South Stream as if nothing had happened in Crimea. This followed a private meeting between Siemens chief Joe Kaeser and Mr Putin that caused a storm in Germany.

Professor Alan Riley, from City University, said the South Stream project – already well under way and intended to produce gas by 2015 – funnels energy long distances from Siberia to the Caucasus and then on to the Balkans purely to circumvent Ukraine. “It makes no sense. It provides no new gas and is intended solely in order to undermine Ukraine, yet the Western policy is now to spend huge sums of money to save Ukraine,” he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has clearly lost patience with Mr Putin, who appears to have misled her twice in telephone calls – first promising that there would be no seizure of Crimea and then assuring her that no troops were at Ukraine’s border.

She warned Mr Putin that there would be painful consequences if Russia “violates” Ukraine any further. “Nobody should harbour any illusion. As different as we are in Europe, we will stand united,” she said. While she did not spell out details, the next tranche of measures is likely to target companies and banks in a bid to choke off Russia’s access to global finance.

The US has already listed Rossiya Bank and SMP Bank indirectly. It is tightening the noose by regulatory muscle, progressively complicating the ability of Russian companies to roll over $650bn of foreign debt. Diplomats say Washington may broaden targets in response to any concerted effort to destabilise Ukraine, even if it falls short of an invasion by troops.

This could be triggered if Gazprom acts on its threat to cut off supplies to Ukraine as of Tuesday. Gazprom’s chief, Alexei Miller, said the company will not deliver any more gas unless Ukraine “pays off” an immediate debt of $2.2bn for past deliveries.

The company has also increased the gas price from $268 per 1,000 cubic metres to $485, the highest in Europe. The White House said the move was a “tool of coercion”, not market pricing.

Financial markets have taken a nonchalant view of the crisis, betting that Mr Putin will get away with taking Crimea, with business returning to normal quickly.

“Investors are playing down the risks,” said Chris Weafer, from Macro Advisory in Moscow. “They think NATO is talking its own book with its hard-line rhetoric and that the defence companies can now frighten politicians into beefing up military budgets. The really cynical market view is that it’s all a godsend for the defence industry and we could even see a little boom.”

thEUnit Digest

Dutch opposition MPs call on premier to explain ‘quit the euro’ claims

rutte208

Opposition MPs have called on prime minister Mark Rutte to answer claims he threatened to pull the Netherlands out of the eurozone in 2012.

The anti-immigration PVV and Socialists have called on Rutte to return from holiday to take part in an emergency debate, while GroenLinks have called for a full briefing by midday on Thursday.

The claim is made in Wednesday’s Volkskrant and is based on an interview with European Council president Herman van Rompuy about a meeting between the two in 2012.

Alexander Pechtold, leader of the pro-EU D66 Liberals, told BNR radio such an outburst ‘was not sensible’, particularly when it was about something as important as the economy and in the presence of such an important European as Van Rompuy.

Meeting

The meeting at the prime minister’s residence, the Catshuis, took place on June 5 2012 to discuss further European integration and Van Rompuy’s plan for strict contracts between Brussels and the eurozone members on necessary economic reforms.

In the interview, Van Rompuy says he was ‘surprised’ at Rutte’s threat to leave the euro if the ‘transfer union’ went ahead.

According to the Volkskrant, others who were present were also surprised because for Dutch consumption Rutte was hammering home the message that the euro was vital to the Netherlands’ economy. In doing so, he was reacting to calls from Geert Wilders’ PVV to leave the eurozone and the EU immediately.

Walk

The Catshuis meeting began with the two men taking a walk in the grounds. Once the lunch began, Rutte became agitated and when Van Rompuy reiterated his plan for more control from Brussels, Rutte answered: ‘If that happens, the Netherlands will leave the euro’, witnesses told the paper.

In his interview, Van Rompuy says he has wiped this ‘remarkable‘ page from his history with the Dutch prime minister. ‘So much has happened since then that I no longer think of it,’ he told the paper.

In a reaction, Rutte denies threatening to leave the euro, but said he did use ‘very strong words‘ to make it clear he would torpedo Van Rompuy’s plan with a veto if necessary.

 

DutchNews.nl, Wednesday 30 April

€816m Rome’s budget deficit

Rome came within days of bankruptcy last month, after parliament threw out a bill that would have injected fresh funding to reduce its €816m (£671m) budget deficit.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi approved a last-minute emergency decree that bailed out the beleaguered city. It saw the transfer of €570m (£468m) to the city council, enabling it to pay municipal workers and ensure services such as rubbish collection and public transport. Rome has been bailed out by the central Italian government every year since 2008. Mayor Ignzio Marino said: “Rome has wasted money for decades. I don’t want to spend another euro that is not budgeted.”

The EU Stands for Everything That is Wrong in Europe by Geert Wilders

Greece 6Europe is in a terrible state. Bit by bit, European countries are losing their national sovereignty. The economy is in shambles. Islamic immigrants riot and terrorize the many locals. And when people’s throats are slit in the streets, while the murderers shout “Allahu Akbar,” the authorities appease the killers and declare that Islam has nothing to do with it.

Europeans feel that the gap between them en those who rule them is growing. Many no longer feel represented by their politicians. There is a complete disconnect between the people that truly rule Europe and the people that live in it.

The blame lies to a large extent with the European Union and the weak leadership within the European countries which have signed away their national sovereignty. The EU cannot be compared to the United States. Europe is a continent of many different nations with their own identities, traditions and languages. The EU is a supranational organization, but its leaders aim to turn it into a state. To this end they are destroying the wealth, identity and freedoms of the existing nation-states of Europe.

Before I elaborate, let us take a closer look at the terrible mistake that Europe made. Following the Second World War, Europe’s leaders mistakenly thought that patriotism was the cause of the war. All over Europe, not just in Germany, but everywhere, they equated the defense of national identity with extremism. Politicians told the electorate that the nation state was dangerous.

On the rooftops of Europe’s parliaments and official buildings, they flew the EU flag next to the national flag, as if the nation is nothing but a province of a Pan-European empire. On the number plates of European cars, they put the EU flag instead of the national flag, thereby forcing people to drive around with the symbol of their subjection. They signed away their national interests for the goal of so-called Europeanisation. Such policies could never have been possible if the ruling elite had not fallen for the ideology of cultural and moral relativism. Patriotism, which is a virtue, came to be seen as a vice. Today, the citizens of Europe are reaping the bitter harvest of this arrogance, this refusal to stand by the ancient nations of Europe, the mothers of modern democracy, the guardians of our liberty.

  • The EU stands for everything that is wrong in Europe.
  • It is a gigantic undemocratic transnational monster.
  • It issues legislation permeated with cultural relativism.
  • It meddles in the everyday lives of millions of people.
  • It has opened Europe’s borders to uncontrolled mass immigration, mostly from Islamic countries.
  • And it has deprived Europe’s parliaments of a huge amount of their legislative powers.

The European Union has brought one-size-fits-none policies that have resulted in economic disaster. It has led to growing tensions between the nations of Europe. It has led to the loss of democracy and liberty. Because the premise on which it was built, was false. Robert Schuman, one of the EU’s founding fathers, said that the EU’s aim was — I quote — “to make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.” But the idea that Germany, France, Britain and other nations in the past went to war because they were sovereign nations is simply ridiculous. As I tell my audience whenever and wherever I speak in Germany, it was not German patriotism that started the Second World War; it was Hitler’s vicious totalitarian ideology of Nazism. It was not German patriotism that caused the holocaust. German patriots, such as Count Stauffenberg, fought Hitler. “Let the world see that not all Germans are like Hitler; that not all Germans are Nazis,” he wrote in his diary the evening before Hitler’s hounds executed him.

Likewise, it was not Russian patriotism that sent people to the Gulag; it was the Soviets’ vicious totalitarian ideology of Communism. Russian patriots, such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, stood up against the Soviets. Nevertheless, the proponents of the EU keep pretending that without the EU, the Germans, the French, the British, the Dutch and the other nations of Europe would go to war again. The European Union has even been given the Nobel Peace Prize for the achievement of preserving peace in Europe — an achievement that is according to me NATO’s rather than the EU’s. True patriots are always democrats. Because true patriots love their people and their country. You do not want your nation to be invaded by other countries. But neither do you want a totalitarian ideology, such as Communism or Nazism or Islam, to rob you of your own identity and enslave you.

Patriots want their country to be free. But people only care about the freedom of their country if they love it first. That is why one of my heroes Ronald Reagan said in his Farewell Address that we have to teach our children what our country is, what it stands for, what it represents in the long history of the world. Reagan said that Americans need — I quote — “a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions.

Patriotism is not a totalitarian ideology aiming for world control; it is love of one’s own country and identity — and as such it is the strongest force against totalitarian ideologies aiming for world domination. Love your country, appreciate its national institutions. As long as you do this, your country will remain the land of the free. But if you fail to do so, you will lose your freedoms. That is the lesson that we, Europeans, have learned the hard way after the past six decades of experimenting with EU transnationalism.  And  the worst thing is that we could and should have known better.

In her last book, Statecraft, Margaret Thatcher wrote “That such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked on will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era.

Let me tell you about the terrible consequences of this folly. The Europeans set out to build a political tower of Babel.  In 1957, six European nations, including my own, the Netherlands, signed the Rome Treaty. They committed themselves to the formation of — I quote from the Treaty’s preamble — “an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe.” From the original six, the European Union’s member states expanded to 27 nations today. Nations as diverse as Finland and Portugal, Ireland and Bulgaria, with their entirely different languages, cultures, traditions, habits and mentalities, were forced by their political leaders to adopt the same economic, fiscal, social, security, and foreign policies. These policies are drawn up by the enormous, ever expanding bureaucracy of the so- called European Commission in Brussels. It issues laws — so-called “directives” — that the member-states are forced to implement in their national legislation.

As a national legislator in the Netherlands I daily experience how little we still have to say about our own fate. We are expected to rubberstamp legislation made behind closed doors in Brussels. Both the EU Council of Ministers and the European Commission negotiate in secret and then emerge to announce their agreement and present it. That is how the system works. And we are not allowed to ask questions.

Those who dare think differently are labeled enemies of European integration. They are the so-called Europhobes.

The former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky calls the EU the EUSSR, because of its striking similarities to the former Soviet Unionto the former Soviet Politburo and Brussels to Moscow before the fall of the Iron
Curtain.

Two weeks ago, I went to Prague and met with Vaclav Klaus, the former President of the Czech Republic. President Klaus speaks of Europeanism as one of the new and dangerous ideologies that have supplanted Socialism. During his ten years in office, President Klaus refused to fly the EU flag over the Czech presidential palace. He points out that the EU is  “based on big and patronizing government, extensive regulating of human behavior and large-scale income redistribution. It shifts government upwards, which means to the level where there is no democratic accountability and where the decisions are made by bureaucrats appointed by politicians, not elected by citizens in free elections.”

The EU supranationalism has brought the once prosperous, sovereign and free nations of Europe economic misery, a loss of national identity, the demise of freedom and independence. 17 of the 27 EU member states have even been so foolish as to dump their national currency. By adopting the euro, the common EU currency, they joined the so-called eurozone. Strong and solid currencies that were the pride of their nations, such as the Dutch Guilder and the German Deutschmark, were sacrificed on the altar of European unification. The then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl sold this project to his people as “a matter of war or peace.”  The euro was presented as “an angel of peace.”

But what did this angel do to us? All the countries that joined the euro lost the power to adjust their currency to their own economic needs. They have destroyed their economies and have doomed their people to rising poverty and unemployment. They all suffered as a consequence. They all have to share the burden of other countries, even if the latter are suffering from self-inflicted policies, corruption or fraud, like in Greece. Last year, my party, the Dutch Party for Freedom, commissioned a study by the renowned independent British bureau, Lombard Street Research, into the cost for the. He compares the European Commission Netherlands of the euro so far.

The study found that, since the Dutch introduced the euro, the growth of consumption spending no longer matches the growth of GDP, as it did before we joined the euro and as it still does in all the countries that kept out of the eurozone. The cost was a huge loss in consumer spending. The study showed that continuing to uphold the euro would cost the Netherlands billions of euros. The Eurozone is a huge transfer zone, whereby taxpayers in our country are forced to subsidize other countries. The rising taxes have pushed our country, the Netherlands, into economic recession. Unemployment has grown to over 8% — the highest in decades.

And the countries that receive our taxes have no chance of recovery. They have no chance of economic growth within a monetary union where the currency is too strong for them. Millions of people are losing their jobs as a consequence. Countries such as Spain are doomed with unemployment figures reaching almost up to 30% today.

EU countries have also lost sovereignty over their own national budgets. The European Commission — not our national government — decides how big their deficits and national debts are allowed to be. It imposes austerity measures. But at the same time it demands ever larger sums to be transferred to Brussels or to so-called rescue operations for the euro and to bail out countries, like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus.

When the EU decided to raise its budget, my country and the Dutch government opposed this decision, but we were simply overruled. We have no veto right. Now we are forced to pay even more to Brussels. While government expenditure cannot be slashed by cutting the sums demanded by the EU, the Dutch government has raised taxes dramatically. The impact has been devastating. Higher taxes have resulted in less government income and have led to a contraction of the economy and a rise in unemployment. The same phenomenon can be seen all over Europe. The growth of expenses and taxes, the inability to create a competitive environment, the overregulation of the economy, the stifling bureaucratization — all this is leading straight to economic collapse.

But there is worse. EU member-states no longer control their own borders.

Immigration policies are decided by the European Commission and the culturalrelativists who are in charge there. The current European Commissioner overseeing immigration policy is Cecilia Malmström, formerly a left-wing kind of hippy politician from Sweden. Third-World immigration has turned Sweden into a nightmare, with immigrants frequently rioting in major Swedish cities such as Stockholm and Malmö. Mrs. Malmström is forcing all EU member states to follow the Swedish example.

Last year, I wrote her a letter. “Not one single Dutchman has voted for you,” I told her. “We do not know who you are. We do not want to know who you are, but you force your ideas on our people. We are suffering from your absurd refusal to allow us even the slightest restriction to our immigration policy. You do not even want to limit the number of partners that one is allowed to bring into the Netherlands! We urge you to cease your activities and give us our sovereignty back,” I wrote.

Needless to say that I am still waiting for an answer from her, despite the fact that I am an elected politician, accountable to the voters, while she is not. That is why she can afford not to answer a parliamentarian.

Millions of non-Western immigrants are flooding into Europe, predominantly people from Islamic countries. The Pew Research Center estimated the number of Muslims in Western European countries at 18.2 million in 2010. It expects that this number will rise to almost 30 million by 2030. The Netherlands will see its Islamic population grow from 5.5 to almost 8%, Britain from 5 to 8%, Sweden will even see it double from 5 to 10%, and France will see a rise from over 7 to over 10%. A demographic catastrophe is about to happen. During the past three decades, so many people rooted in a culture entirely different from Europe’s own Judeo-Christian and humanist tradition have entered Europe that its heritage, its freedoms, its prosperity, and its culture are in danger. The signs are there for all to see.

Ordinary people in Europe want three things.

  1. They want their politicians to tackle the problem ofmass immigration. They want to control their own borders.
  2. They want to restore their national sovereignty. They do not want their countries to become provinces of a pan-European superstate.
  3. They do not want their money to be used to pay for mistakes made elsewhere. They do not want a transfer union where they have to pay higher taxes to bail out other countries, whose leaders were either corrupt or incompetent.

Poll after poll show that ordinary Europeans do not want their democracy to be subverted. Last April, a pan-European poll showed that a clear majority of the population in the major EU member states no longer trust the EU as an institution. Even in Germany the number has reached almost 60%. Recently a Gallup poll showed that for the first time in history in the Netherlands as many people want to leave the EU as stay in. A few years ago, this was unthinkable.

The strength of Europe is its diversity. Europe is not a nation; it is a cluster of nations, bound by a common Judeo-Christian and humanist culture, but with different national identities. Last January, British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech in which he said that the EU needed to change.

He spoke about “the lack of democratic accountability,” “the excessive regulation,” and everything that is wrong in the EU. And there are many things I agree with, but I do not share his belief that the EU’s nature can be changed. Mr. Cameron believes that the EU can be transformed into  “a more flexible, adaptable and open European Union.”  I do not believe this. If an organization has as its explicit goal that it strives for “an ever closer union,” it simply cannot start moving in the opposite direction and relinquish the powers it has already acquired.

We can see how the mechanism works in the way in which the EU deals with the eurozone crisis. Rather than turning away from the destructive path that has so far been followed, Brussels is using this crisis to enforce an even tighter control over the member states. The European Union simply cannot be democratized because the whole structure is built on a negation of democracy. As President Klaus pointed out, there can be no European democracy because there is no European demos — no European people. There can only be various European democracies — plural! — in the various European nations. What the EU does is destroy these various democracies.

And, hence, my party’s position is very clear. We opt for an exit from the European Union. We want the Netherlands not just out of the Eurozone, but out of the EU altogether — including the so-called Schengen area, the group of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders. We reserve the right to reinstall random border controls.

We want to retain our independence. We want home rule! We want to be the masters in our own house! We want to be the masters over our own borders. We want to be the masters of our own money. The Party for Freedom wants the Netherlands to leave the EU and join the European Free Trade Association EFTA.

But here is the good news, my friends. As I have already indicated, public support for the EU is growing thin by the day. For months now, my party has been the biggest in the polls. And we are not the only one. In Britain, UKIP, the United Kingdom Independence Party, which wants to lead Britain out of the EU, has come second in many by-elections and local and county elections during the past two years. It is polling an average of a quarter of the votes. And it is growing. In France last year, Marine Le Pen scored 18% in the presidential elections. She has now overtaken President François Hollande. She opposes the EU. And her popularity is growing. In Germany, it is still considered far too politically-incorrect to reject the EU. Nevertheless a new party, the Alternative for Germany, wants to take the country out of the eurozone. And its appeal is growing. In Italy, both the country’s largest party, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement, and the Lega Nord, the largest party in the North, want a referendum on a return to the Lira, while the Lega Nord has called the EU a failed project. In Portugal a book advocating quitting the euro has become an instant bestseller. A proposal that was taboo until recently is now discussed openly, with the country’s Chief Justice personally coming out in support of eurozone exit.

All over Europe, anti-EU feelings are growing. All over Europe there are patriot parties that reflect the resurgence of national pride in their countries, whether it be the Netherlands, Britain, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Italy, Flanders, the Czech Republic, Germany, and the other nations currently trapped in the European Union.

As I said, here is the good news.

Europe might be on the verge of a fundamental change for the better. We seem to be on the eve of a major and truly historic event. In Europe, the time is ripe for a glorious democratic and non-violent revolution to preserve our national freedoms and restore our sovereignty. Exactly one year from now, the 27 member states of the European Union will be holding elections for the European Parliament.People are finally ready all over Europe to rebel in the ballot box. They reject the transfer union. They no longer want to pay for corrupt states. They reject the supranational experiment of the European Union. They are ready to cast their votes for a restoration of national sovereignty. They are ready to defend their own cultural identity. All they need is decent political leadership able to lead their nations out of the EU and towards a better future.

America’s first president George Washington has shown that when courageous and democratic politicians are available to lead their country, they can lay the groundwork for a lasting democratic framework that guarantees freedom and prosperity for centuries to come. My friends, my party in the Netherlands and several other parties in other European countries are preparing themselves for next year’s electoral landslide.

We can feel the heartbeat of the New Patriotism in Europe. Winter is over. Spring is coming.  The European Spring is upon us. And we are getting ready for it. We are aware of our historic task.

The European elections offer a unique opportunity to liberate the nations of Europe.  Next Spring’s European elections offer a unique chance to correct the fatal error made by previous politicians who sold away their taxpayers’ money and their national sovereignty to Brussels and delivered their countries to the evils of mass immigration. As a European politician, I am fully aware of my duty to grab this chance. The European elections next May must deal a blow to the parties that sold us out to the EU. Not just in the Netherlands. But everywhere in Europe.

That is why I do what is in my power to forge an alliance of democratic parties standing for the restoration of the sovereignty and freedom of their nation. I want to bring these parties together in a common endeavor to defend our identity and our values. I do not know whether I will succeed, but I am trying. It is my conviction that we have to work together. Because we are all in the same boat.

My friends, it is easy to despair. Time is running out for Britain, for France, for Germany, for the Netherlands, for all the other great nations of Europe. The present situation in Europe is bleak. If we do nothing, it will become even bleaker. If we do nothing we will be swept away by economic and demographic disaster. But it is wrong to despair. The present is bleak, but the future looks bright. Because the future depends on our actions. We are the actors on the stage of history. That, too, is a lesson from Ronald Reagan, who said: “We need to act today, to preserve tomorrow”.

I went to Paris recently to talk to Marine Le Pen and see for myself who she is and what she stands for. She is not her father. She is not anti-Semitic. She cares about France, its identity and its sovereignty. I went to Prague to talk to President Klaus. In the coming weeks and months, I will try to see as many patriot leaders in Europe as possible. Without a nation-state, without self-governance, without self-determination there can be no security for a people nor preservation of its identity.

Indeed, a soul needs a body. The spirit of a people cannot flourish outside the body of the nation-state. The nation-state is the political body in which we live. We must preserve and cherish it. So that we can pass on to our children our national identity, our democracy, our liberty.  We do not have to apologize for being good to ourselves. We do not have to change if we do not want to change.

The peoples of Europe resent the permanent alienation of power from their nation- states. They care about their nations because they care about democracy and freedom and the wellbeing of their children. They see their democratic rights and their ancient liberties symbolized in their national flags. They are proud of their flag. And as long as their pride lasts, they will have a future. Let us emphasize this commitment to the resurgence of our national pride with a symbolic gesture.

Today, a new threat is confronting us. But history shows that we can withstand it if we stand together. We need an alliance, not only of patriots in Europe, but also an alliance between America and Europe. We need the help and support of American patriots. Such an alliance brings out the best in us, and allows us to beat the totalitarian menace. This was proven by the alliance between Roosevelt and Churchill in the 1940s. It defeated Nazism. It was proven by the alliance between Reagan and Thatcher in the 1980s. It defeated Communism.

And we have to stand together or we will be defeated. We have no other choice. As the great Margaret Thatcher said: “Defeat — I do not recognize the meaning of the word.” And neither should we!

Joining the EU has reduced our sovereignty by Normunds Grostins, Latvian Institute of Future Studies,

Latvia joined Eurozone on January 1st this year, Estonia on January 1st 2011. Both Estonia and Latvia joined Eurozone without referendum. All serious public opinion polls were showing that a large majority of Latvia’s population was against joining Eurozone. At the start support for euro was at 2-4 % and at end 30 %,  with 70% of the population against joining). That was not only economic issue, but feeling deeply rooted in our history of 20 century.

The Baltic states Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania emerged on the map of Europe as result of collapse of Russian Empire after socialist revolution of 1917. All three independent states immediately introduced their own currencies. After incorporation in Soviet Union, in 1940 national currencies were replaced by Soviet rouble. So we became members of rouble zone. After the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991 all three Baltic States immediately re-introduced the same national currencies. It was not only economic, but a deeply emotional, patriotic step as well.

In our experience, national currencies always were coming together with independence and also disappearing together with independence. The visual difference between euro and soviet ruble is, that soviet roubles had its description written on bills in all languages of Soviet Union, including Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian language (having 300 million population in USSR, 1 million in Estonia, 2 million in Latvia, 3 million in Lithuania had their language on all  Union money bills). The paper size of euro is bigger than that of rouble, but we don’t find on euro bill its description in Baltic languages.  Well, this is the emotional and historical part of joining Eurozone.

Economic part: European Stability Mechanism means contributions of 2 billion euro for Estoniaand and 3 billion euro for Latvia.   Latvian authorities turned down four referendum initiatives during last year. The EU in Latvia is decrease in democracy – before joining we had  rights to have referendums on EU matters . Now such referendums can be initiated only by national Parliament – which means in fact: only by the governing coalition. Which means – never.

As EU is becoming more and more centralised, we in the Baltics have strange feeling of deja-vu: we have seen a lot of today’s EU reality (and future) in another centralised union – the Soviet Union.