All posts filed under: Europe

Reforming the EU – Waiting for Godot

by Frank There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain. In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to …

Is The Nation-State And Its Welfare State Dead? A Critique Of Varoufakis

by Vincente Navarro, via Social Europe I always read the writings of Mr. Varoufakis with great interest, and I frequently find myself in agreement, particularly in his criticism of the Troika (the International Monetary Fund, European Commission, and European Central Bank) and of the Eurogroup (the Ministers of Economy and Finances of the European Union).  I also concur with his call for a European-wide mobilization to force democracy upon the institutions that govern the EU, although I disagree with his proposed way to do it. He believes (wrongly, I think) that the power of nation-states has practically disappeared in the EU. They do not count any longer.  Based on his Greek experience, when he represented the Syriza government in negotiations with the Troika, he concludes that nation-states do not have any power.  According to Varoufakis, governments and parliaments in these nation-states have been transformed into mere transmission belts of whatever is decided by the Troika and associated institutions.  He writes in one of his recent publications that “European governments transmit to the Parliaments whatever is …

Neoliberalism is not dead: A Response to Martin Jacques

by Darryl S.L. Jarvis Martin Jacques (The Guardian, August 21) recent comments on the ‘death of neoliberalism’ are important, not least because he was one of the first analysts in the early 1980s to identify the emerging dominance of neoliberalism in the West. This reversal of fortunes for neoliberalism, due to what Jacques identifies as a wave of political developments in the two countries which were its main champions, the UK and USA, is thus significant – indeed for many a cause for celebration. To borrow a line from Mark Twain, however, reports of the death of neoliberalism are greatly exaggerated. Jacques’ analysis is an overly optimistic reading of current political developments — developments which are still formative and which may yet challenge neoliberalism but through inherently nationalist and reactionary ways. Jacques’s assertion, for example, that ‘A wave of populism marks the return of class as a central agency in politics, both in the UK and the US’ is questionable. The populist politics of Trump and UKIP can equally be read as race politics, or …

French General Calls for NATO’s Liquidation

Sputnik NATO’s present format and the alliance’s continuing expansion eastward is beneficial only to the United States, which seeks to keep Russia and Europe at odds, says retired French Army General Jean-Bernard Pinatel. Accordingly, he suggests the alliance be liquidated or ‘Europeanized’, and the creation of a European-Russian alliance against terror. Interviewed by Le Figaro, Pinatel, a retired officer who now works as an expert in geopolitics and economic intelligence, recalled that if Russia and the European countries had succeeded in forming an alliance in the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, they would have been able to effectively challenge US pretentions to global hegemony. Now, the retired general emphasized, the threat of radical Islamist terrorism has once against opened a discussion on global leadership, and whether the US truly deserves its hegemonic position in Europe. According to Pinatel, the spate of attacks in Europe has clearly demonstrated to the French, and to other NATO members, that the US-led alliance is helpless in the struggle against the terrorist threat. Moreover, against the background …

EU Unmasked: After Brexit, Plans for Full EU Superstate Revealed

by James Corbett, June 28, 2016 Well, that didn’t take long. The graphite was hardly dry on the Brexit ballots when TVP Info, a Polish broadcaster, leaked a 9-page document drawn up by the German and French foreign ministers calling for an EU superstate, complete with an EU army, integrated border controls and common taxation. The German foreign minister discussed the plans — which are being described as “an ultimatum” — with his counterparts in the Visegrad Group of countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) this week. The document, bearing the Orwellian title of “A strong Europe in a world of uncertainties,” lays out the exact tyrannical plans that the EU’s critics have been warning about for years. After identifying key areas of uncertainty and concern affecting Europe — from spreading [false flag] terrorism to [manipulated] cultural tensions to [engineered] economic hardships — the document proposes three new areas for expanded EU cooperation: A European Security Compact, including an expansion of internal “security” through a strengthened Europol, and expansion of external “security” in …

Don’t suffer in silence. Kremlinitis can be cured.

by Danielle Ryan Are you currently following a radical path? Are your friends and family becoming increasingly concerned? Do your views occasionally diverge from the mainstream? Do you ever find yourself watching the BBC and thinking “hey, that doesn’t sound right”? Have you ever sneakily grabbed the TV remote and switched to RT when no one was looking? Have you been blocked by the President of Estonia on Twitter? I don’t want to alarm you, but if you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you might indeed be suffering from acute Kremlinitis. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of your symptoms and the frequency of your thought-crimes, you could be in need of an intervention. In fact, regardless of the severity, you should seek help now.  You don’t need to be a full-blown ‘Putin-versteher’ to receive treatment.  Research has shown that if you allow your symptoms to fester, Kremlinitis becomes irreversible. Luckily, two world-renowned propaganda experts and guardians of truth, Ed Lucas and Peter Pomerantsev have you covered.  The dynamic duo have envisioned a …

Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington?

by Paul Craig Roberts, July 27, 2016 One Ring to rule them all . . . and in the darkness bind them.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings World War II resulted in Europe being conquered, not by Berlin but by Washington. The conquest was certain but not all at once. Washington’s conquest of Europe resulted from the Marshall Plan, from fears of Stalin’s Red Army that caused Europe to rely on Washington’s protection and to subordinate Europe’s militaries to Washington in NATO, from the replacement of the British pound as world reserve currency with the US dollar, and from the long process of the subordination of the sovereignty of individual European countries to the European Union, a CIA initiative implemented by Washington in order to control all of Europe by controlling only one unaccountable government. With few exceptions, principally the UK, membership in the EU also meant loss of financial independence. As only the European Central Bank, an EU institution, can create euros, those countries so foolish as to accept the euro as …

Making a Killing: The 1.2 Billion Euros Arms Pipeline to Middle East

by Lawrence Marzouk, Ivan Angelovski and Miranda Patrucic via Balkan Insight An unprecedented flow of weapons from Central and Eastern Europe is flooding the battlefields of the Middle East. As Belgrade slept on the night of November 28, 2015, the giant turbofan engines of a Belarusian Ruby Star Ilyushin II-76 cargo plane roared into life, its hull laden with arms destined for faraway conflicts. Rising from the tarmac of Nikola Tesla airport, the hulking aircraft pierced the Serbian mist to head towards Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It was one of at least 68 flights that in just 13 months transported weapons and ammunition to Middle Eastern states and Turkey which, in turn, funnelled arms into brutal civil wars in Syria and Yemen, the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, OCCRP, has found. The flights form just a small part of €1.2 billion in arms deals between the countries since 2012, when parts of the Arab Spring turned into an armed conflict. Meanwhile, over the past two years, as thousands …

The European Revolt Against the Neoliberal EU (1/2)

via The Real News, July 25, 2016 Catarina Principe, co-editor of Europe in Revolt, says a left movement against austerity must pursue the restructuring of public debt, nationalization of key sectors, and public control of the banking system, but none of this can be done within the European Union. Transcript: SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. What started off as a financial crisis in Europe has now turned and become a crisis of the eurozone. There has been unprecedented wave of mass strikes, signifying the discontent of the working classes. In Greece, for example, people elected the leftist SYRIZA Party and voted no to austerity debt deal offered to them by the Troika. In France, there has been consistent strikes against efforts to reverse labor rights by the so-called socialist government. Among other interesting developments in Portugal, the people elected a socialist party which vowed to curb E.U. austerity. In the U.K., they voted for Brexit. Some claim that this was due …

Ukraine as a Threat to European Security

by Pyotr Vorobyov, via Strategic Culture On 28 June 2016, ten days before the start of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, hackers from an international collective known as Anonymous published a photocopy of a confidential report by Ukraine’s First Deputy Defence Minister, Ivan Rusnak, entitled «On the implementation of information and psychological operations in 2015». The document, which is addressed to the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Alexander Turchinov, contains, among other things, data on information warfare operations carried out by the Ukrainian military against a number of European countries (including those with which Ukraine is bound by the terms of the EU Association Agreement). The document is written in Ukrainian, so European audiences are largely unaware of it, although it deserves the utmost attention. According to the document, targets of the information and psychological warfare being conducted by the Ukrainian military in Europe include «the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Poland, Romania, Hungary, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Kingdom of the Netherlands». A senior official in the Ukrainian Defence …

Colonial trading stations instead of factories in Ukraine

by Michał Kozak, via Financial Observer We’re posting this article by Poland’s Michał Kozak to provide a glimpse into what EU’s economic reporters have to say about the industrial and investment situation in Ukraine today, two years after the Euromaidan putch.   The author’s political sympathies can also be assessed in his recent piece on Europe’s energy security, here. The western companies that come to Ukraine concentrate mainly on exploitation of the country’s raw materials and not on innovation. The Ukrainian government is counting on millions of dollars of Western [financial direct investment] FDI which is supposed to put the ruined economy back on its feet. However, the companies that will come will concentrate mainly on exploitation of the country’s raw materials and not on innovation. According to a study of the European Business Association (EBA), Ukraine’s Investment Attractiveness Index reached 2.56 points in 2015 on a scale from 1 to 5. That’s slightly better than the previous year – the level of general dissatisfaction of investors was 8 per cent lower than in 2014.  16 …

What Is NATO — Really?

by Eric Zuesse, via strategic-culture.org When NATO was founded, that was done in the broader context of the U.S. Marshall Plan, and the entire U.S. operation to unify the developed Atlantic countries of North America and Europe, for a coming Cold War allegedly against communism, but actually against Russia — the core country not only in the U.S.S.R. but also in Eastern Europe (the areas that Stalin’s forces had captured from Hitler’s forces). NATO was founded with the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington DC on 4 April 1949, and its famous core is: Article 5: The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including …

Anatomy of a Failed Coup in the UK Labour Party

by Richard Seymour, for TeleSurTV Worst. Coup. Ever As the Chilcot Inquiry report is released to the public, those MPs attempting to depose Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn—their leading lights inescapably sullied by having supported the war—are suing for peace. Over a week of high-profile resignations, statements, demands, pleas and threats have seemingly done little but consolidate Corbyn’s position. In record time, it has gone from being a coup to a #chickencoup to a #headlesschickencoup. This could be the biggest own-goal in the history of British politics. Journalists steeped in the common sense of Westminster, assumed that it was all over for Labour’s first ever radical socialist leadership. How can he lead, they reasoned, if his parliamentary allies won’t work with him? This, in realpolitik terms, merely encoded the congealed entitlement and lordly presumption of Labour’s traditional ruling caste. Even some of Corbyn’s bien-pensant supporters went along with this view. They should have known better. The putschists’ plan, such as it was, was to orchestrate such media saturation of criticism and condemnation aimed at Corbyn, to …

The European War Union

We’re reposting, in full, a June 28, 2016 report on the newly announced plans for the formation of an EU army (with “employable high-readiness forces” and “standing maritime forces”) by the German Foreign Policy, a group that monitors and analyzes foreign policy developments in Germany and the EU.   The report focuses on “A Strong Europe in a World of Uncertainties,” the joint position paper by Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault.   The publication of their joint position paper came after previous press reports of plans for the merging of German and Dutch forces, as well as those of the Czech Republic. Together with his French counterpart, the German foreign minister has announced the EU’s transformation to become a “political union” and its resolute militarization for global military operations.  In a joint position paper, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) and Jean-Marc Ayrault (PS) are calling for the EU’s comprehensive military buildup, based on a division of labor, to enable future global military operations.  Following the Brexit, the EU should, step-by-step, become an “independent” and “global” actor.  …

Threatened Forests: a new look at “green energy”

Threatened forests’ explores some hidden realities behind “green energy” in the EU. Filmmaker Benoit Grimont made this documentary as a response to the development of a large scale biomass electricity installation in Gardanne, southern France. His film discovers that renewable energy – heavily supported by EU countries – may not be anything like as ‘green’ as we are led to believe.

Democracy and Popular Sovereignty instead of Neoliberal Integration and a failed Euro-System!

This document was commonly developed by people from the Lexit Network.  It was written and agreed before the Brexit referendum and was not intended to influence the popular vote one way or another. With the implementation of the European single market and the Maastricht Treaty, European integration was established as a neoliberal project for the long run. The Stability- and Growth Pact, the fundamental freedoms of the single market and the European monetary union, among other elements, constituted a framework that has fueled austerity policies, the dismantling of workers’ rights and the welfare state and imposed privatization throughout the EU member states. Contrary to the theory of the EU as a neutral level playing field, the events after the Great Recession (2007/2009) have shown that the current European integration project is defined by the regressive nature of its treaties and by an unprecedented radicalization of its neoliberal character. Uneven and hierarchical power relations (core – periphery) have long been a feature of European integration, finally culminating in Germany’s dominance of the EU’s economic policy orientations …

Collapsing Constructions: Reflections on British Exit

by Wolgang Streeck, via VersoVerso This essay was first published in Die Zeit on 30 June. Translated by David Fernbach. We shall have to wait and see whether German “Europeans” will learn anything from the outcome of the British referendum. There is not much hope of this. In their first reactions, they claimed that the land of Shakespeare and Adam Smith, Newton and Hobbes, Händel and Marx had never really belonged to Europe — unlike ourselves of course. It is obvious here to anyone not caught up in the German fog that similar votes would have had similar results in a whole series of countries: Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, Hungary and Italy, not to mention France. The European Union as we know it, the institutional framework of “European integration” as Germans imagined it, is experiencing its Götterdämmerung. And anyone who does not believe this risks being buried by its collapsing constructions. Will the German political class understand that it might have decisively accelerated the collapse of its Brussels cloud-cuckoo land? British public opinion followed with amazement and dread how …

VIDEO: The aliens are worried, says the President of the EU Commission

Although (or perhaps precisely because) we’re not a UFO site, unlike the mainstream media, all of whom are pointedly ignoring Jean-Claude Juncker’s recent statement to the EU Parliament concerning his discussions with alien leaders [sic], we think it right to inform  the public of this aspect of the bizarre goings-on in Brussels, too. The transcript at the European Union website is deliberately inaccurate.  In the video  above, Juncker is heard very clearly referring to “plusieurs des dirigeants d’autres planètes” — the only possible accurate translation of which is “several leaders of other planets.”    The official transcript omits “d’autres planètes” and has him simply talking with “plusieurs des dirigeants,” the English equivalent of which phrase is “several executives”.    [Aware of the possibility of a hoax, I have watched the video carefully to check whether the movement of Juncker’s lips corresponds with the audio of him saying “d’autres planètes”; I have not been able to detect any discrepancy between the visual and the auditory aspects of the speech.] Here’s the full French transcript, followed by the English …

Has Brexit triggered an anti-democractic “Color Revolution”?

The Prime Minister didn’t want it. The Chancellor didn’t want it. The Queen didn’t want it. The opposition didn’t want it. The President of the United States didn’t want it. JP Morgan didn’t want it. Goldman-Sachs didn’t want it. Parliament didn’t want it.

…and yet it happened.

Why Varoufakis’ DiEM2025 is fighting the wrong fight

by Will Denayer, for Fassneck Economics, May 24, 2016 Varoufakis This text deals with strategy, but strategy cannot be seen separate from people and their histories and actions. SYRIZA has always been an uneasy conglomerate of groups of many political persuasions, but ever since it came to power in January 2015, until its capitulation seven months later, two main fractions fought a fierce fight. On one side, there was the heterogeneous left, which wanted to make good on the electoral promise (the Thessaloniki program): there was going to be no austerity any longer, Greece would negotiate a debt write off and if the Troika pushed the country to the brink, the group advocated leaving the euro zone. The leadership, on the other side, also wanted to end austerity. But under no condition was it willing to exit the euro zone. As Lapavitsas explains, the Syriza leadership convinced itself that if it rejected a new bailout, European lenders would buckle in the face of financial and political unrest. The mastermind of this strategy was Yanis Varoufakis. …