The Common Agriculture Policy of the EU has a long history. Its system of hugue subsidies and promoting industrialization - that is large agricultural firms - originated in the 1960's when we had the European Economic Community of the Six (France, Germany (Western), Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands). During the transitional period towards a common market (1958-1970), it was President Charled de Gaulle of France, who forced the other members,(through crises and walk outs), to accept the French version of a common agricultural policy, based on common financing, high subsidies to farmers and high protection against third country farm products.
Donald Tusk, former Solidarnosc activist, former Prime Minister of Poland, completed his term as President of the European Council last month. I attach the text of his keynote speech at the Opening of the 2019/2020 academic year at the College of Europe.
In my country, the Netherlands, we are remembering the long story of liberation from Nazi-German occupation 75 years ago - it truly was a liberation. When the Soviets liberated the countries of Central and Eastern Europe from Nazi-occupation, their so-called liberation would be just another long era of repression. Gyorgy Konrad, my age, died recently and I attach a very moving and pertinent memory to his life. For him and his Central European co-citizens, liberation came only in 1989 just 30 years ago. Hungary, at best, is still dreaming its way to true democracy.
The attached checklist from BBC News - Why Brexit did not happen - is useful reading. At first glance, the ten reasons why it did not happen still apply after Boris Johnson managed to grab the Conservative Party leadership and 10 Downing Street. Unpredictable Boris Johnson might produce a surprise ; the EU might just collectively be fed up with Brexit. Whereas mendacity rules in London and Washington, the outcome is unknown.
All of Europe and 98% of the people of the United Kingdom, AGAIN, have to wait for the verdict of a few old fashioned members of the British Conservative Party, who will be the next Prime Minister! It s again a shamefully undemocratic process holding up solution to the irresponsible and stupid decision to leave the European Union. The outcome most likely means either chaos (no-deal Brexit) or postponement. of the decision. The succession of irresponsible and incapable prime-ministers is a catastrophy for Britain and Europe.
ATTACHED is the Brexit time line up to 23 May 2019 and from 2013. More than six years of internal Conservative Party politics and quarreling while Europe has to wait. It is just a record of blindness, ignorance, arrogance by self-seeking politicians who care about their own position but not about Europe or the future of the coming generation. The time line is a shocking document and still endless.
A former student sent me the attached Votewatch.eu Blog: How the old "pro-anti"EU framinf becomes obsolete after EU elections." It makes most interesting reading, but it also troubles me.
On European Election DAYS, "An Ever Closer Union" as written in the Treaties, appears to have been changed into the opposite. It was hoped that Brexit would have resulted in a reaffirmation of the purpose of an ever closer union. As Brexit continues to poison Europe, and the British cannot even agree on how to leave, it looks as if that purpose has been abandoned. With the exception of French President Macron, no leader any longer dares to reaffirm that purpose - hoping this way to prevent the European voters to turn to the populists. It will not work that way. I sincerely hope that these days, European voters will be less coward and more forward looking than most of their governments: Europe needs an ever closer union to survive in peace.
The Austrian political crisis should teach the European voter a few important lessons.
European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker are correct in their comment on todays no vote in the House of Commons. Only British political leaders are in a position to get Britain out of its self-made political chaos; the problem being that there aren't any political leaders available on our off shore European Island!
Once upon a time David Cameron called a referendum on the European Union with no other purpose than strengthening his position as Conservative leader against his challenger Boris Johnson; as a consequence the latter decided to support a Brexit. When a small majority came out in favor of Brexit, the two fled the scene, leaving Britain in - what has turned out - to be complete chaos. Theresa May, who voted for remaining in the EU, nevertheless was prepared to become Prime Minister in charge of achieving Brexit. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also voted for remaining in the EU, but as chaos deepened, he only thought of how to gain the same position of Prime Minister. The cynicism and opportunism of both politicians is shocking and self-defeating. It can, maybe, understood only by the willfull ignorance shown by British politicians and the electorate of what the European Union is and stands for.
"Article 50 TEU must be interpreted as meaning that, where a Member State has notified the European Council, in accordance with that article, of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, that article allows that Member State — for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between that Member State and the European Union has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period laid down in Article 50(3) TEU, possibly extended in accordance with that paragraph, has not expired — to revoke that notification unilaterally, in an unequivocal and unconditional manner, by a notice addressed to the European Council in writing, after the Member State concerned has taken the revocation decision in accordance with its constitutional requirements. The purpose of that revocation is to confirm the EU membership of the Member State concerned under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a Member State, and that revocation brings the withdrawal procedure to an end."
Eighty Years ago: Kristallnacht. Commemorated in the attached article from the Atlantic. It was the night Hitler's forces launched a massive campaign of attacking Jewish shops, homes and buildings in Germany. Anti-semitism led to the Holocaust, but did not die with the massacring of 6 million Jews. Nor was Antisemitism invented by Hitler. It has a sad and very long history in "Christian"Europe going back to the century of Constantine the Great in the early fourth century.
Attached is the abbreviated text of an address given by Jürgen Habermas and published in Social Europe. He spoke at a conference with the theme given above. As he said in the very first sentence: "new ones fail me, and the Trumpian decay affecting even the core of Europe makes me seriously question my old perspectives." In his opinion the European integration process is on a dangerous downward curve and warns "You only recognise the point of no return when it's too late."
" The salvation of the common people of every race and every land from war and servitude must be established on solid foundations, and must be created by the readiness of all men and women to die rather than to submit to tyranny. In this urgent work France and Germany must take the lead together. Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America - and, I trust, Soviet Russia, for then indeed all would be well - must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live. Therefore I say to you “Let Europe arise!”.
The question is raised and answered in the attached brochure of the Brookings Institute with respect to the future of the European-American alliance. Normal is over largely due to the polarization as both a tool and an end in itself: populism and nationalism in Poland, Hungary and Britain, and within other EU members states like Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Today's fellow travellers go to Putin as their left-wing predecessors in the 1930's and through the Cold War went to Stalin's Soviet Union. Unlike their predecessors, the current ones have Donald Trump, the American President as their disrupter-in-chief. American leadership in the past century used to be reliable and credible. Such is no longer the case today and America is rapidly loosing its credibility. Such loss of predominance and power is difficult to recover.
Those of us who lived the Cold War, remember Vaclav Havel's forceful article "The Power of the Powerless". It was the story of the Greengrocer who decided to live the lie of the Communist state, by placing their propaganda in the window of his shop. That he and everyone live a lie, does not make the truth go away, but only demoralizes the person who lives an inauthentic life, we read in attached most interesting article. In our so-called post-truth era, we are trying to forget that living the lie, or Bullshit in America today, is bound to produce the same result. When truth and reality are reduced to an opinion, truth and reality do not disappear, they demoralize the person and destroy society. Havel rightly challenged communism as an attempt to replace God by an atheist ideology through which mankind could be fully subjected. Have we forgotten that the so called post-truth era is bound to end the same way?
The outcome of the elections for the German Bundestag last Sunday looks bad for Germany and Europe. To begin with Europe: the brilliant and most hopeful speech of President Emmanuel Macron needs a strong and pro-European Germany for carrying out his proposals. See my next entry. Angela Merkel and her CDU/CSU lost heavily in the elections, despite the fact that the CDU/CSU remains the larger group in parliament.
The attached article by Timothy Snyder is taken from an address he gave to the German Bundestag earlier this month. It is published by Euromaidan and reprinted in Eurozine. It is worth reading. Most of us in this part of Europe ignore what happened during and after the second world war in Europe between Russia and Germany. The attached article explains how Hitler's policy of colonizing Ukraine was primarily responsible for the extermination war of the Jewish people that began with Babi Yar in Kiev. In addition to the 6 million Jewish victims, the same number of Polish victims (3 million of them Jewish Poles), his war made 6.5 million Ukrainian victims. Germans must remember the truth about the Ukraine for their own sake, writes Timothy Snyder.
"But if you are a timid European, you are already a defeated European - so this option is not the one I recommend. Because today Europe is the thing that protects us from new dangers."
Emmanuel Macron's victory in the French Presidential elections is a sign of hope for France and for Europe. He also - and rightly so - puts many politicians in Europe and America to shame. He did not win by making concessions to the populists - as Dutch politicians did in the parliamentary elections in March - but by speaking out openly and convincingly for a united Europe. As Anne Applebaum - see attached article - wrote: "Macron can only succeed if he accepts that this is now the essence of politics in Western democracies: An open fight against the toxic appeal of false promises and divisive, nativist nostalgia." Instead of following the bad and destructive examples of Trump in America, Theresa May in Britain, Orban in Hungary and Kashinski in Poland, President Macron may well make France the constructive force for relaunching European unification; from the political centre and in the spirit of Robert Schuman in 1950.
The sixtieth anniversary declaration of the EU leaders, meeting in Rome contained what the Commission's White paper had written. It was full of promisesto continue doing the same. More impressive than the declaration itself was the opening speech - short and sharp - of President Donald Tusk. I sincerely hope it will be read in Poland as well. I urge my dear friends in Poland, to read and applaud this moving speech with gratitude and without resentment or revenge!
Attached is the White paper of the European Commission. Thinking about the Future can best be started by learning from history. In this respect, the White Paper already is a great deception. The Introduction is lopsided and self-congratulory; there is little one can learn from. As a consequence the Drivers of Europe's Future are just a more of the same story, filled with more of the same illusions. What is the importance of the largest single market and the second most used currency? When Britain is leaving and the Euro is built on a flawed concept and in perennial crisis? Europe may be attractive to many of its partners, but the so called good neighborhood policies with Russia, Turkey, the Middle East are based on illusions. Do we really think that globalization is a good thing? In fact it meant Americanization of the world economy. With "America First" the system of multilateral trade and investment is in serious crisis. The European Union since "Maastricht" may have been enlarged, but at the same time unity is no longer pursued and solidarity is seriously lacking. Even Reconciliation as a principle is in disrepair, where governments are turning Eurosceptic under pressure from the populist-nationalist rebellion in quite a few member countries.
ON 1 March 2017, the European Commission published its White Paper on the Future of Europe. According to the Paper Europe took off with the Manifesto of Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi; drafted in prison in 1941 and published in 1944. The full text in English translation is attached in the version of the European Union of Federalists. It was one of the ideas launched by the resistance movements. This particular one saw a united Europe based on democratic socialism.
The three threats to European Unity could be fatal... And they are still growing.
The policies of anger and wrath from Washington D.C. are bound to be a direct and existential challenge to the European Union. I attach a most interesting article in "Social Europe" from form Joschka Fisher. What is at stake is not only American leadership or protection, but the very foundation of post-war Western cooperation and European Unification. Populism, as we call it today, means politics of anger and wrath. It is much more widespread and popular than we are willing to recognize. It has now become official policy in Washington D.C., in London with hard Brexit, in Hungary and in Poland. European unification can survive only when we are prepared to revive and restore the original inspiration of Reconciliation-Solidarity-and-Unity.
When British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, they will mark the end of an era in world politics largely characterized by American and British leadership (see News item: From Atlantic Charter to AMBREXIT). Threasa May's speech in Davos (shorter than her Brexit speech in London) is attached to this European news Item. It shows that populism is not a fringe movement, but is right in the center of the Conservative Party. As a movement it has two major aspects: It presents reasonable progress - European unification - as a dreadfull state of affairs. It embraces backward nationalism as the way forward, based on the illusion that alone, Britain can resume its role as "Global Britain" ruling the waves as it did in the Nineteenth Century.
Attached item, a European Commission recommendation to the current government of Poland, will certainly be discussed in the European Parliament this week. I hope for more wisdom in the EP than has sofar been present in the European Commission.
According to "De Standaard - Belgium. It was an enormous mistake of the Eurozone to manoeuvre Greece into a situation in which it had to default on an IMF payment, the liberal daily De Standaard laments: "It is a shameful defeat for all involved leaders that a member of the Eurozone has been forced to default on its financial obligations. The euro is not merely a market instrument that obeys the laws of supply and demand. It is the concrete expression of the will of hundred of millions of Europeans to share a common destiny. The way in which this will has been played with in recent months has damaged the credibility of the entire European project. … It is an irreparable disgrace. Regardless of the referendum on Sunday and how the Greeks vote, Europe will have to live with this incredible mistake from now on." (01/07/2015) +++
Last week, the European Central Bank rightly adopted “Quantative Easing” as a way to resolve the continuing Euro-crisis. Last Sunday, the Greek voters clearly favoured the party Syriza. As Jeffrey Sachs wrote in the Guardian of 21 January 2015 (“Let Greece profit from German history”), Syriza is no anomaly, it is telling the financial and political truth. His article merits to be quoted extensively:
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski is known for speaking clearly and forcefully. Last year in Berlin, he urged the German Government to lead Europe out of the economic crisis. Angela Merkel took the message.This year in September he told his Oxonian audience that Britain today is living with false consciousness.Your interests are in Europe. It`s high time for your sentiments to follow. Your leaders need to make a more vocal case for your European interests.David Cameron apparently did not listen. It was very small of him not to be present 10 December in Oslo for the Noble peace prize ceremony.
POLAND AND THE FUTURE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION."The enlargement of the European Union this century should be seen as a major event in the spiritual realm rather than just an inevitability in the economic realm. As Norman Davies rightly emphasised there is a long history of misunderstanding, neglect, sense of superiority and ignorance of Western Europe towards East and Central Europe. As a result of the Cold War, “the East” was something like a black hole to most in the West. Worse than the hostile image of Eastern Europe was the well-established convention of ignoring Eastern Europe completely writes Norman Davies. Few of us in the Western part of Europe understood the profound significance of the spirit of 1989; because few of us really understand how different the Eastern experience with totalitarianism has been from our Western experience. The majority of the new member states were squeezed between the two ideologies of evil for most of their national life in the twentieth century. In all these countries, people have great difficulty to deal with the moral heritage of these ideologies and the superficial and materialist view on economic progress brought in from the West. […]If the European Union continues to give priority to the process of economic integration, it is heading nowhere according to Norman Davies. It is a nice irony, he writes, that the peoples of the new member states may well have a more rounded vision of the Europe to which they wished to return than the often arrogant West Europeans who reluctantly let them in." (From pages 66/67 in my book “European Unification into the Twenty First Century, March 2012).
On 2 March 2012, EU Member States - without Great Britain - signed the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union. The question, assuming that all signatories will approve and ratify the Treaty, remains whether the Treaty once entered into force, shall achieve the intended objectives. Essentially the Treaty confirms the conclusions of the European Council of 26 October 2011. Surveillance of the implementation of the rules already agreed upon in the Growth and Stability Pact, is to be strengthened. The agreement to improve the governance of the EMU is restricted to strengthening economic policy coordination through an informal Summit, twice a year with its own president (article 12).
Among the texts I wrote after Europe`s Re-Unification (ER)in 1989 the attached one is of special importance, written for the European Congress of COMECE (Commission of the Episcopates of the European Community/Union) on "Values and Perspectives for Europe. 50 years of the Treaties of Rome.", held in Rome from March 23-25, 2007.
DOCUMENTS EUROPEAN UNIFICATION
EUROPEAN UNIFICATION INTO THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY; FADING, FAILING, FRAGILE?
Second Revised Edition of European Unification in the Twentieth Century. March 2012.
My book on the history of European Unification since the end of the Second World War is dedicated to my children and grandchildren. In writing it, I found inspiration in Robert Schuman and Solidarnosc: to return Europe its soul – through reconciliation, unification and true solidarity. They are both on the cover and the title page. As a civilization Europe is much older of course. The School of Athens – Plato and Aristotle – as painted by Raphael and the Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis as painted by Rembrandt, are on the cover as well. Reflections on Europe in history precede the history of European Unification – they are necessary to understand Schuman and Solidarnosc and why a radical break with the past was required; a past we are not allowed to forget.
I share the concept of Europe as a civilization characterized by an ethical dualism between Christian virtues and pagan traditions (Christopher Dawson). The dualism dominates our personal lives and Europe`s political history. It explains the humanization of European law over the centuries and current confusion about human rights law today. It explains why Schuman`s effort to reconcile France and Germany and unify Europe was such a radical departure from past politics. Together with the successful revolution against Soviet repression, we can learn that Europe needed (and still needs) reconciliation and unity to resist a return to pagan traditions in the disguise of the totalitarian ideologies of progress, the dictatorship of economic values, nationalism and the abuse of power for selfish gain.
The ethical dualism also shows in the short sixty two years history of European Unification since 1950. Reconciliation between France and Germany led to unification and the peaceful enlargement to a European Union of twenty seven Member States in 2011. It also saw the creation of common institutions and common rules to lay the foundations for true unity. Still, there are enough signs of a failing, fading and fragile European conscience to warrant concern and critical reflection. The European Union is a system in permanent crisis. The transformation of the European Communities into the European Union signifies a clear deviation from the road to unity as envisaged by the founding fathers. As a method of common action the Summit Conference, named European Council, is distinctly less capable of giving direction to Europe`s common destiny than the supranational institutions created in the 1950`s.
As I conclude in the Epilogue, the spirit of Schuman is sadly missing in the Treaties of Lisbon in force since 1 December 2009. The present European crisis, more than any previous one in the short history of European Unification, carries a clear message. Time has come for Europe to recover her soul and to return to the solid constitutional foundation of the original Schuman plan. So much I learned from writing this new version of the history of European Unification.
European Unification and Western Cooperation clearly belonged together in the second half of the Twentieth Century; they still do today. As I wrote in the Preface to: Western Cooperation. Origins and History, Second Revised Edition of 2009, “Their histories are intertwined and complementary. Many of the same problems were encountered, their evolution was similar. Both were unsuccessful between 1917 and 1947. Both took off thereafter on the basis of the same fundamental principles.” For a proper understanding of the history of European Unification, I recommend my readers also to read Part I, ‘Between Power Politics and Alliance of Democracies’ from Western Cooperation. A digital version of the text is available under Western Cooperation on this website. Part II, chapter 5, ‘The Echternach Procession: From Political Cooperation to External Action’, is restricted to the common foreign policy and leaves out the common security and defense policy. This latter part of CFSP was already dealt with in Part II, chapter 6 of my book on Western Cooperation. For the benefit of the reader, the text of this chapter can be found on this website under European Unification/Documents Part II, chapter 6, NATO and the European Union. Following the text of chapter 6, the reader shall find the Epilogue to the earlier book.
On the Front Cover:
Above left: Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis. By: Rembrandt (1662)
Above right: Robert Schuman signs theTreaty of Paris (ECSC) on 18 April 1951
Below right: The School of Athens. Fresco by: Raphael (1510)
Solidarnosc demonstration 1980.
Inserted pictures: Vaclav Havel and Pope John Paul II.