Germany’s response to Brexit: ‘Flexible union’ with a European FBI BERLIN (June 27) –  Berlin is applying intense pressure in the aftermath of the Brexit, to reorganize the EU. Under the slogan, “flexible Union,” initial steps are being taken to establish a “core Europe.” This would mean an EU, led by a small, tight-knit core of countries, with the rest of the EU member countries being subordinated to second-class status. At the same time, the President of the European Parliament and Germany’s Minister of the Economy (both SPD) are calling for the communitarization of the EU’s foreign policy, reinforcement of its external borders, the enhancement of domestic repression and the creation of a “European FBI.” The German chancellor has invited France’s president and Italy’s prime minister to Berlin on Monday to stipulate in advance, measures to be taken at the EU-summit on Tuesday. German media commentators are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate” under Berlin’s leadership. At the same time, Berlin is intensifying pressure on London. The chair of the Bundestag’s EU Commission predicts a new Scottish referendum on secession and calls for Scotland’s rapid integration into the EU. German politicians in the European Parliament are exerting pressure for rapidly implementing the Brexit and reorganizing the EU. Chancellor Merkel has reiterated her veiled threat that “reconciliation and peace” in Europe are “anything but self-evident,” should European countries choose to no longer be integrated in the EU.

Core Europe

Already earlier this year, Berlin had initiated preparations for transforming the EU into a “flexible Union” and creating a “core Europe.” On February 9, the foreign ministers of the six founding EU countries [1] held an exclusive meeting in Rome to discuss the EU’s various current crises. This unusual meeting format was also considered to be a counterpoint to the Visegrád-Group [2], which had been particularly critical of Berlin’s refugee policy. The discussion in Rome was focused not only on the refugee policy, but also included a possible Brexit.[3] In their Joint Communiqué, the six foreign ministers underlined the “different paths of integration,” provided for by the Lisbon Treaty –  a hint at the option of a “flexible Union.”[4]

The foreign ministers of the six founding countries again met on May 20, at the Val Duchesse Castle south of Brussels, this time explicitly to discuss the EU’s development in case of a Brexit.

They met again last Saturday to discuss a paper jointly presented by the German and French foreign ministers, literally demanding a “flexible Union.”[5] The common declaration, agreed upon by the six ministers on Saturday, does not mention that polarizing term, while paraphrasing their aspired core Europe. There is a need to “recognize” that among the member countries there are “different levels of ambition towards European integration.”[6]

The strong man behind Juncker

Using this format of the founding countries, Berlin is pushing for a “flexible Union” that is particularly rejected by those member countries, to be relegated to second-class status. At the same time, Berlin is exerting pressure at other levels. Already on May 23, an initial official meeting within the framework of the EU Commission, was held, to make arrangements for a possible Brexit.[7]

The invitation had been extended by the German jurist, Martin Selmayr, Chef de Cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. From 2001 to 2004, Selmayr managed the Bertelsman AG office in Brussels. He subsequently became spokesperson and then Chef de Cabinet for EU Commissioner Viviane Reding (Luxembourg). Observers, referring to his influence, noted that some considered Reding to be the “dummy of the ventriloquist, Selmayr.”[8] According to German media, Selmayr, the strong man behind Juncker,[9] had extended the invitation for the May 23 strategy meeting, not only to representatives of Slovakia and Malta –  the two countries to assume EU presidency in July and January, respectively, but also to Uwe Corsepius, Merkel’s European policy advisor. Corsepius is considered one of Berlin’s most important European policy strategists.[10]

The new directorate

Beyond such long-term agreements, Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited France’s President, François Hollande, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and EU Council President Donald Tusk to Berlin, Monday to discuss the EU’s future, after Great Britain’s withdrawal. The objective is to agree upon important stipulations prior to the EU’s Tuesday summit –  which is similar to the 2010–2011 meetings she had held with the French president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy (“Merkozy”), to set the guidelines for the EU’s handling of the Euro crisis. Observers point to the fact that Merkel’s inviting Renzi along with Hollande has ostentatiously demoted France’s status. Simultaneously, German media are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate.” Of course, there is no doubt that “Germany remains the most important EU nation, both politically as well as economically.”[11] In practice, the “directorate” serves the function –  as in the previous cases of Merkel’s Sarkozy meetings –  primarily of transmission of German specifications to the EU’s other member countries.

The central role

Berlin’s predominance within the EU is being, more or less, officially confirmed by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Also in the future, Germany will “continue to play a central role, if not an even more significant role, in the European Union,” Juncker declared.[12]

Supranational repression

Anti EU movemnt v austerityParallel to preparations for the transformation of the European Union, leading German Social Democrats are calling for supplementary steps for the political-economic streamlining the EU or its core.[13] For example, in their position paper entitled “Re-Found Europe,” Germany’s Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, are calling for an expansion of the EU’s single market, under the topic an “economic Schengen.” In the process, across the board “central” job market reforms must be implemented. The masses in the French population are currently up in arms fighting the imposition of these job market reforms.[14]

In addition, Gabriel and Schulz are calling on the EU to “more than ever” “act as a unified governing force,” which would signify that the “communitarization” of the EU’s foreign policy. The implementation of this communitarization, would mean Germany’s global interests being pursued via institutions in Brussels due, to a large extent, to Berlin’s predominance within the EU. Finally, the German social democrats are calling for the systematic creation and expansion of supra-national structures of repression. For example, institutions warding off refugees from the EU must be systematically reinforced (“effectively securing European external borders”) and cooperation between domestic repressive authorities intensified. The creation, for example, of a “European FBI” should be an objective.

Project deterrence

To deter other EU countries from holding referendums, Berlin is massively intensifying pressure on London. To avoid needless dissension, the British government seeks to conscientiously prepare and carry out the negotiations. President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, declared in the form of an ultimatum, that he “expects” the British government to present its withdrawal application at the EU summit on Tuesday. Chair of the EPP parliamentary caucus, Manfred Weber (CSU) called on Britain to withdraw “within the planned two-year delay, and even better, within a year.”[15]

Brussels has already created a “Brexit Task Force” and an “Article 50 Task Force” –  the latter named after the respective article of the Lisbon Treaty regulating a member state’s withdrawal from the EU. Above all, leading German politicians are fanning Scottish secessionist plans. “The EU will continue to consist of 28 member countries,” declared Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Chair of the EU Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, “because I expect a renewed independence referendum in Scotland, which will be successful this time.” Krichbaum says, “we should promptly reply to this pro-EU country’s membership application.”[16] The German media is also energetically firing on Scottish separatism. Since 1945, the Federal Republic of Germany has possibly never engaged in such unabashed encouragement of the disintegration of a West European country.

War in Europe

In Berlin, this is all being flanked by statements that cannot be otherwise interpreted as oblique war threats.

“Although it is difficult for us to imagine,” one should “never forget” that “the idea of a united Europe, had been an idea of peace,” claims the German Chancellor.[17] The allegation corresponds less to historical reality,[18] than to the EU’s self-promotion. Yet, Merkel declares that in Europe, “reconciliation and peace” are both currently and in the future “anything other than self-evident.” The chancellor has expressed this point of view in various EU crisis situations. ( reported.[19]) According to this view, the potential of European countries settling their disputes militarily remains essentially unaltered and can be unleashed, should they no longer choose integration in a German-dominated EU.

For more on this theme: The First Exit.

[1] Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Frankreich, Italien, Belgien, Niederlande, Luxemburg.

[2] Der Visegrád-Gruppe gehören Polen, Tschechien, die Slowakei und Ungarn an.

[3] EU-Gründerstaaten: “Europäische Dreifachkrise” und “Herausfordernde Zeiten”. 10.02.2016.

[4] Joint Communiqué. Charting the way ahead. An EU Founding Members’ initiative on strengthening Cohesion in the European Union. 09.02.2016.

[5] Berlin und Paris schlagen “flexible EU” vor. 24.06.2016.

[6] Gemeinsame Erklärung der Außenminister Belgiens, Deutschlands, Frankreichs, Italiens, Luxemburgs und der Niederlande am 25. Juni 2016.

[7] EU rüstet sich für Brexit-Ernstfall. 27.05.2016.

[8] Hendrick Kafsack, Werner Mussler: Die EU spricht deutsch. 26.06.2014. See Particularly Close to Germany.

[9] Hendrick Kafsack: Der starke Mann hinter Juncker. 10.09.2014.

[10] See Under the German Whip (I).

[11] Nikolas Busse: Das neue Direktorium. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 25.06.2016.

[12] Juncker sieht starke Rolle für Deutschland. 25.06.2016.

[13] Sigmar Gabriel, Martin Schulz: Europa neu gründen.

[14] See The Price of Deregulation.

[15] EU-Parlamentspräsident Schulz fordert Austrittsantrag der Briten bis Dienstag. 25.06.2016.

[16] Jacques Schuster, Daniel Friedrich Sturm: Und zurück bleiben die verwirrten Staaten von Europa. 26.06.2016.

[17] Pressestatement von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel zum Ausgang des Referendums über den Verbleib Großbritanniens in der Europäischen Union am 24. Juni 2016 in Berlin.

[18] Die “Einigung” des europäischen Kontinents unter deutscher Dominanz gehörte bereits zu den deutschen Kriegszielen im Ersten Weltkrieg; damals sprach beispielsweise Reichskanzler Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg von der Gründung eines “mitteleuropäischen Wirtschaftsverbands”. Auch im NS-Staat wurden entsprechende “Einigungs”-Strategien vertreten. Mehr dazu:Europas Einiger.

[19] See A Question of Peace or War in EuropeManagement with a Crowbar and Vom Krieg in Europa.


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