At a church conference in Novi Sad, Serbia, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made the following extraordinary statement:-
Because of my work, it was the European Common Agricultural Policy which puzzled me from 1972 onwards. The whole thing was so utterly strange in comparison to the common sense system we had before. It was not until 2002 when I received a copy of “European Economic Community”, published in Berlin in 1942, that I really grasped the ideological framework behind it. I translated the introduction and lead papers which form part of this pamphlet.
In 2017 I recorded an interview with Lord Walsingham, who was a Third Secretary in the Foreign Office of 1950 when Britain stayed out of the European project. He revealed that British Intelligence then knew of the hostile intent towards Britain of former fascists and Nazis in the post war French & German governments – their plan of subsidising each other’s heavy industries when in competition with Britain, to weaken our defence capability and assure their eventual ascendancy over the continent of Europe.
Like Lord Walsingham, the perspective of years leads me to the view that today’s EU is not “all a Nazi plot” but that it was heavily influenced from its beginnings by such authoritarian ideas and that has contributed to the alien ethos with which British people have never really been at home.
On a recent visit to Greece, I found that all sorts of people blamed Berlin rather than Brussels for the terrible austerity which EU policy has forced upon them. Back home, I wrote about this to a Greek colleague, a business executive, pointing out the ideas of the German government of 1942 about management of European currencies in the post war era. The exchange rate of the euro gives Germany the export advantage of a currency of relatively low value, compared with Germany’s highly capitalised, productive economy. For Greece and other “Club Med” countries with smaller, less developed resources, the euro exchange rate is far too high for them to be able to export their way out of their predicament.
My Greek friend replied “It is clear now to many Greeks and Europeans that Germany is responsible for the economic plunder of Greece. What happened to Greece was not an accident but a carefully made plan on the part of the always patient, ruthless and very scholastic Germans. It seems that they learned well their lessons from the two previous World Wars. This time Germany managed to conquer Europe without firing a single shot. Unfortunately Greece now (as it was then too) is suffering more casualties than any other European country….”
That is how things are seen in Greece today.
This letter from our Chairman appeared in the Derby Telegraph
Like Percy Brown (7 March), I found a certain humour in the idiocies of the European Common Agricultural Policy which created the wine lakes, beef, butter and grain mountains. Previously we had a very common sense policy which allowed the food of the world to come here without customs duties. Suddenly the taxpayer and the housewife were made to spend far more to make food dear than we had previously spent to keep it cheap.
Nobody could tell me where this strange policy originated and I did not get a definitive answer until 2002 when I received a copy of a German book from the Forties, called “European Economic Community” where the framework and principles were set out concerning the new neighbourly Europe in the making. It was a compilation of papers by very senior people in law, diplomacy, industry, politics and economics.
With great effort, I translated the two key papers – a difficult job because the introduction was in very stiff academic language and the lead paper in a more popular journalistic style.
More recently I met Lord Walsingham, who had been in the German Department of the Foreign Office in 1950 during the Attlee government when the European Coal & Steel Community was formed. I recorded an interview with him. He told me that British Intelligence was well aware that the Community treaty between France & Germany contained secret clauses that each would subsidise the other’s heavy industry to knock out Britain and assume dominance of Europe. It seems to have worked rather well.
“European Economic Community” was published in Berlin in 1942 and the lead paper was delivered by Reichsminister Walther Funk – Minister for the Economy and Post War Planning.
Congratulations to long-standing CIB member and independence campaigner Sonya Porter, whose letter (below) was published in last Friday’s Daily Mail.
Back in 1960, I learned which country was destined to be the organ grinder to whose tune the monkeys of Brussels would have to dance.
I was a shorthand typist with the International Labour Office, one of the UN agencies in Geneva.
One morning my boss took me to a conference by the European Coal and Steel Community, a forerunner of the EU. It was extremely dull and, after putting on the translation headphones, I dozed off.
I woke with a start when the German delegate said: ‘And we hope within a few years, Europe will be one country.’ I thought: Goodness, gracious, they’re at it again! That delegate might have meant it in the nicest possible way, but it was only 15 years after World War II, and that was not the way I took it.
I think I was right, wasn’t I?
On 22nd April 1966, Jean Rey, the Belgian lawyer who succeeded Walter Hallstein as president of the European Commission, delivered a speech in Brussels full of optimism about the future of the European project. At this time, the Community had just emerged from the “Empty Chair Crisis” where France’s General de Gaulle, concerned about the increasing power of the Commission and erosion of national sovereignty, recalled France’s representatives, resulting in six months of virtual paralysis within the European institutions.
Rey expressed great confidence about the Community’s ability to bounce back form the crisis and move forward towards closer integration:- “There is no reason for the leaders of the Community to show the any hint of pessimism, of discouragement; the slightest doubt about the eventual success of their efforts.” Europe had a great future, he claimed, but only if it integrated. Indeed, in so doing, Europe could lead the world:- “The times when nations could live in isolation is over….After several centuries when the nation state represented the final word in political wisdom, see how the world is organising itself in continents and it’s the Europeans who are leading by their example.”
Overt federalists like Rey are a rare breed nowadays. True, the EU has expanded from its original six members to 28 (soon to be 27) but the optimistic, almost visionary quality of Rey’s utterances are a thing of the past. No better proof of can be found by comparing Rey’s words with a speech by Martin Schulz, the leader of the German Socialist Party, the SPD, at his party’s conference on 7th December. The substance may be similar but the tone is completely different.
“I want there to be constitutional treaty to create a federal Europe” he said. Fine, that has always been the goal of the EU. He then went on to say that once drafted, it would “be presented to the member states, and those who are against it will simply leave the EU.”
This is the big difference. It would never have occurred to Jean Rey to talk of expulsion from the EU and Schulz’s harsh language is an implicit admission that the European Project is faltering. We addressed some of the reasons a couple of months ago and in spite of the promising headline data on the Eurozone economy, the political divisions are as deep as ever.
Far from encouraging unity around common ideals, Schulz’s words will only inflame these divisions. His vision of “Europe” is the Western European multicultural variant which is being so fiercely resisted in countries like Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Furthermore, as a German, his words will be interpreted in Southern Europe as a threat to their fiscal independence. The most extreme reaction may well come from his own countrymen, however. The federal Europe to which he aspires can only come about if his countrymen are prepared to foot the bill and subsidise the poorer countries. The lack of enthusiasm for such generosity lay behind the success of Alternative für Deutschland in the recent Federal Election. Perhaps Herr Schulz might care to reflect that his own party recently registered its worst performance – and under his leadership – in almost seventy years.
True, there was a certain amount of grandstanding in the speech. The SPD is setting out its stall for renewing its coalition with Mrs Merkel’s CDU party but its overt federalism was given short shrift by the German Chancellor, who said ““I believe the ability to act now is the priority, not setting long-term goals,” In reality, while Schulz (and Jean-Claude Juncker, for that matter) are wanting to put their foot on the accelerator, Merkel actually wants to go more slowly but in exactly the same direction – and it’s not a direction that commands as great a degree of support as it once did. There may not be anyone of the calibre of Charles de Gaulle in a position of authority in an EU member state, but the issues are the same as those which provoked the “empty chair crisis” – increasing centralisation and a loss of sovereignty by the member states.
In a very thought-provoking article, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard said that we must not forget why we are leaving the EU. “It is not a whimsical choice. The decision was forced upon us because the EU began to assert ‘totalitarian’ reach, using Hannah Arendt’s term advisedly to mean a systematic assault on prior traditions and institutions in order to create an entirely new order,” he said. The article begins, however, by quoting someone from the very heart of Europe who is claiming that the EU is becoming an “imperial construction”. In other words, it’s not just the UK which has lots of unhappy people. “Life in Europe in 2017 is resembling more and more what it was like under colonial administration. We are subjected to an invisible administration that shapes our destiny down to the tiniest details. Should we really be surprised that it is leading to revolts?” asks the Belgian David van Reybrouck, a prolific writer and historian.
The EU expended a huge amount of energy (and, no doubt, money) to try to contain Brexit and prevent a domino effect. It breathed a huge sigh of relief when Neither Geert wilders nor Marine le Pen achieved the breakthrough they had hoped for. The volatility of many European voters and the fault lines between the EU-27 have not gone away, however, and if Schulz becomes Germany’s vice-chancellor and fancies joining forces with Jean-Claude Juncker and Emmanuel Macron to push ahead with the federal Europe to which they fervently aspire, the net result may well be the opposite – that they end up blowing the whole project to pieces.
This letter was sent to a number of local newspapers in the Midlands area.
As we approach Remembrance Sunday, perhaps we should consider the words of the German Chancellor concerning the European project –
“ We must create a…European Economic Association to include France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Austria, Hungary …Italy, Sweden and Norway….All members will be formally equal but in practice under German leadership and must stabilise Germany’s dominance over central Europe”. (Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, Imperial Chancellor, 9 September 1914).
The European Union is well-suited to these long-nurtured ambitions. It is noteworthy that the states of Central Europe are today becoming increasingly restive under their predetermined subject role in this geopolitical construct. For home consumption, today’s German politicians occasionally refer to their “benevolent hegemony” over the area. Few would deny that it is exercised in a more enlightened way than earlier attempts – but hegemony means hegemony, just as Brexit means Brexit.
This geopolitical Weltanschauung predates the political unification of Germany and remains influential in academic and political circles. One eminent German businessman broke free from the mental shackles of the past in a rousing speech in the House of Lords on 24 October by invitation of Lord Fairfax at a meeting arranged by Global Britain. He was Dr. Markus Krall, Managing Director of Goetz Partners in Frankfurt.
He contrasted the top-down, authoritarian rigidity of the EU project with the long-standing tradition of liberty typified by the Britain’s parliament. He said “ Germany is probably the one country in Europe that was emotionally and intellectually least prepared for the news that a majority in the United Kingdom had decided to call it quits with the European Bureaucratic Union…. We Germans – regrettably- have a tradition of belief in the infallibility of government. While the liberal school of Anglo-Saxon origin views the state and its bureaucracy with a healthy dose of scepticism, this is not so between the rivers Rhine and Oder”.
Let us hope that Dr. Krall’s refreshing wind of change will blow through the corridors of power in Germany and Europe. We can then look forward to honouring the sacrifice of our war dead in the reasonable expectation of a happy “Concert of Europe” – something like the “Europe des Patries”, envisaged by General De Gaulle and the association of countries advocated by Winston Churchill.