The 27-nation European Union is hanging by a thread like a loose tooth. For months now, we have been warned weekly of impending doom and gloom if the euro is not saved, if Spain, Greece, and Italy are not bailed out by the European Central Bank and if France and Germany do not cooperate and agree to pay even more to the bankrupt southern EU membership who refuses to alter their generous socialist programs expenditures and the way they approach fiscal policy.
The separatist voices in the EU are getting stronger. Catalonia wants independence from its own country; they are tired of paying the lion’s share of Madrid’s lavish expenditures. “When everybody was rich, nobody thought of how much it cost us to be part of Spain. But now everybody sees it,” said Oriol Pujol. This richness, of course, came to Spain in the form of easy money while the economic and construction boom took place before the 2008 housing crash. It seems that the producing citizens have a problem with this globalized economy and governance which depends on spreading the wealth.
With a Spanish unemployment rate of 25 percent, Catalonia itself had asked for a bailout from their central government in Madrid. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had promised Catalonia $23 billion at a time when Spain needs a bailout desperately.
Scotland and Flanders are following in the footsteps of Catalonia, wanting out of the EU. Although the EU touts shared sovereignty, it actually discourages independence of member regions.
Richer member nations are weary of subsidizing poorer countries. EU bureaucrats want a stronger fiscal union and more centralized control over national budgets and banks, making the parliaments of member countries irrelevant and obsolete.
Lavish spending, outrageous social programs, out-of-control debt, outlandish infrastructure projects, and the mushrooming growth of bureaucracy in already burdened economies have pushed to the brink the ability of stronger economies like Germany to subsidize poorer regions or countries.
Catalonia in Spain, Baden-Württemberg in Germany, Rhone-Alpes in France, and Lombardy in Italy, a regional group that bypasses their central governments, call themselves “the four motors for Europe” because they have a combined Gross Domestic Product larger than Spain’s.
In a recent interview, Oskar Freysinger, Vice President of the Swiss People’s Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei) stressed that the European Union is imposed on nations by technocrats. In his opinion, the European Union will eventually fail because “citizens are identifying less and less with a bureaucratic anti-democratic and centralized power” like the EU.
When asked, Freysinger emphasized that Switzerland’s adherence to EU would be an organizational, economic, and financial catastrophe. Such a membership would violate the two pillars of the Swiss Constitution, democracy and federalism, causing an increase in the value of the added tax (VAT) alone of 8-20 percent. Switzerland does not wish to be a cash machine to the debts accrued by the bankrupt southern European states.
In a widely circulated You Tube video, at the conclusion of the European Council meeting which was held on October 18-19, 2012, Nigel Farage MEP, Leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Co-President of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament made headlines with his direct speech to Herman Van Rompuy, the first full-time President of the European Council. Herman Van Rompuy is a Belgian politician of the Christian Democratic and Flemish Party. (Strasbourg, October 23, 2012)
“You are the quiet assassin of nation state democracy.” And sure enough, in your dull and technocratic way, you’ve gone about your course, but I have to say, you are even worse than I’ve thought you were going to be. I thought it was going to be a federal Europe, a federal union but now it appears, with every statement you make that you want total subjugation of the states to completely undemocratic structures based in Brussels.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSoCZs8WlDg)
Nigel Farage described the atmosphere surrounding the bailouts for Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Italy when everyone in the chamber was fearing the economic meltdown; Rompuy was calm because, in Farage’s opinion, Rompuy saw the bailouts as an opportunity to take control. “The sinister troika coming in, investigating the situation, 50 officials telling puppet prime ministers what they may or may not do.” Nigel was referring to the sinister troika as the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank.
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union responsible for legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the union’s treaties, and daily running of the EU. There is one commissioner per member state, 27 in total, who are bound to represent the European Union and not the interests of their home state. The President of the Commission is Jose Manuel Barroso, The European Council proposes the president and the European Parliament elects him. The Council then appoints the other 26 members in agreement with the nominated President.
The European Central Bank is the monetary policy enforcer for the EU. Its main goal is price stability at 2% or below inflation rate and controls short-term interest rates. The ECB’s Governing Council makes decisions every month by analyzing economic and monetary developments in member countries and the risks to price stability, making decisions on the appropriate level of their key interest rates.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), established in 1944 at Bretton Woods Conference and housed in Washington, D.C., had an original stated goal of stabilizing exchange rates and assisting in the reconstruction of the world’s international payment system after World War II.
The IMF describes itself now as “an organization of 188 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.”
Nigel Farage acknowledges that many Council members “want Spain to take the bailout so that they too can be subjugated to this new order. Indeed, in Italy, the appointee there, Mr. Monti, is very keen for his country to be bailed out because he ‘fears the parliamentary democracy could bring down the union.’”
Farage describes the next phase as forcing those who “do not need or want a bailout to accept a bailout, to sign budget guarantees and to have the power to strike down national budgets after they’ve been through national parliaments.” This is eerily similar to some of the banks here in the U.S., forced to accept the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) although they did not need it, want it, or ask for it.
“I feel that the Euro zone is now in a very dark place, economically, socially, politically, and I fear for the countries trapped inside in that prison will be there for many years to come. It is against this backdrop that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union.”
“This is a divided, split Europe, with neo-Nazi parties on the rise, with violent demonstrations in the streets, and I frankly think that the award of that Nobel Prize devalues that whole organization.” Most of the Nobel prizes are chosen by academicians and scientists while the Peace Prize is chosen by a 5-member committee appointed by the Norwegian Parliament.
Farage says that the European Union does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Europe should be thankful to NATO, to millions of American soldiers who served on European soil to maintain peace, yet Europeans do not say a word about it because they loathe America and everything it stands for.
Farage ends his impassionate speech with the prediction that “the big majority of the Brits want to leave the union.” Constituents are not happy with Cameron’s wishy-washy stance in the EU and a political change in the Cameron government is likely to happen as he is losing the support of millions of his own voters.
In the meantime, the European Union remains a laboratory study of global governance and economic control gone awry. The question remains, are Americans paying attention to this powerful lesson?