Tag Archives: EU

Covid-19 Shatters the Facade of European Union, by the Strategic Culture Editorial Board

It’s every country for itself in Europe now. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:

The new coronavirus and its accompanying disease Covid-19 has stopped the globe in its tracks. Governments, markets and news cycles have become dominated by the pandemic. Europe is now the epicenter for the disease, with reportedly more fatal cases of infection than China where the virus first erupted in December.

Several European Union countries have declared themselves states of emergencies, including Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. The 27-member bloc has sealed off external borders. Some states, such as Poland, have begun closing borders with other EU members. Brussels, the administrative center of the EU, is alarmed because the much-vaunted single market and its core principles of free movement of goods and people is at risk of collapsing.

The European entity which proclaims solidarity and supranational status is reverting to a collection of nation states, each desperately fighting for their own survival amid the Covid-19 pandemic. EU leaders have been criticized for showing lack of central leadership and solidarity. When Italy first reported a surge in infections a few weeks ago, the rest of Europe was slow to respond with the necessary prompt assistance. Now Italy is such a grip of the disease – with thousands dead – that in some parts of the country normal funeral services reportedly cannot even cope with the number of deceased.

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European Union: The End? by Judith Bergman

So-called solidarity is great when you’re trying to ram a mandate down a member country, but what happens when that member country asks for your help in the name of solidarity? From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • When an entire continent is in the midst of a highly contagious virus epidemic, solidarity becomes a more complex issue. Every state inevitably considers whether it can afford to send facemasks and protective equipment that might be needed for its own citizens. In other words, every state considers its own national interest first. In the case of Italy’s appeal for help, EU member states made their own interests their highest priority. This is classic state behavior and would not have caused any outrage prior to the establishment of the European Union.
  • While such revelations may not spell the immediate end of the European Union, they certainly raise questions about the point of an organization that pledges solidarity as a founding principle, but abandons that principle the moment it is most called for.
  • The current crisis on the Greek-Turkish border has shown the EU not only as unhelpful, but an actual liability: The EU has left an already overwhelmed Greece to deal with the migrant crisis — manufactured by Turkish President Erdogan for political gain — on its own… On top of Europe’s attempts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, ordered that Greece must allow the migrants that Erdogan transported to the border to apply for asylum.
  • If the EU were to approve visa-free travel for Turks – or anyone who had the means to buy a Turkish passport – millions of Turks would be able to enter the EU legally and potentially “disappear” there. Already at breaking point, the EU would arguably become a very different kind of “European” Union with Turkey, a country of 80 million people, literally invited to enter Europe.
  • All Erdogan needs to do now it sit back and wait for the EU, with Merkel at the helm, to meet his demands.

When Italy appealed to the EU for supplies of medical equipment at the beginning of its coronavirus crisis, it received exactly nothing. In addition, Germany and France even imposed bans or limitations on the export of facemasks and protective equipment. Pictured: Cleaning personnel in protective gear work in a tent of a new field hospital in Cremona, Italy on March 20, 2020. The field hospital is financed by the American evangelical Christian NGO Samaritan’s Purse. (Photo by Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, Italians have learned that other European Union member states do not always practice the beautiful words that they like to preach — especially solidarity.

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The Real Crisis Starts Now in Europe, by Tom Luongo

The coronavirus may be the undoing of the EU. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

I think it’s safe to say the new crisis just killed the Schengen Treaty. That ridiculous document which guaranteed freedom of movement across the European Union finally hit something it couldn’t bully, COVID-19.

Regardless of whether you believe the pandemic is real or not, the reaction to it is real and is having real consequence far beyond the latest print of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The lockdown of Italy isn’t a temporary thing. Oh, the suspension of free movement is temporary, but it portends something far bigger.

It’s the beginning of the real political balkanization that’s coming to the European Union over the next few years. Old enmities and prejudices have not been stamped out under the boot heel of oppressive legislation coming from a bunch of disconnected technocrats in Brussels.

They have only been suppressed.

Because when there are existential threats there’s no time or desire to virtue signal about how we’re all one big happy dysfunctional family.

For decades Germany refused to lighten up on its fiscal inflexibility believing, rightly, that it shouldn’t subsidize profligacy in places like Italy, Spain and Greece if it didn’t want to.

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Will Brexit and coronavirus end the EU? by Alasdair Macleod

If Brexit and the coronavirus end the EU, then some good will have come from the latter. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

The EU and euro face a sudden deterioration in economic conditions due to the coronavirus, which seems certain to widen the differences between Germany and the spendthrift Mediterranean members. But a more immediate problem is the increasing likelihood that the ECB will lose control over financial asset prices, particularly those of government bonds.

In the short-term, it seems likely the euro will rise against the dollar as currency and financial distortions, principally in the fx swap market, are unwound. However, the eurozone faces a developing financial crisis comprised of the following elements: a collapse in economic activity, escalating payment failures, a drastic contraction of bank credit and a collapse in bond prices, as well as the medium used to buy them (the euro).

Eventually, Germany is could go it alone by introducing a gold-backed mark, which will only happen after the European Project is finally abandoned.

Introduction

Brexit came as a shock to the political bureaucracy that comprises the European Union. They had, and still have an ostrich-like stance with their heads in the sand and their rear ends exposed to passing dangers. Their economic incompetence has been exposed for all to see as well as their political ineptitude.

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Italy: Salvini Facing Show Trial for “Kidnapping” Migrants, by Soeren Kern

You might see some similarities between what’s happening to Matteo Salvini in Italy and what has happened to Donald Trump in the US. From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • In September, Sicilian prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro said that the kidnapping accusations against Salvini were “groundless” and recommended that he be acquitted of all charges. The Court of Ministers, however, overruled Zuccaro, who is now, paradoxically, required to proceed with prosecuting Salvini, even though he has already found him to be innocent.
  • The charges against Salvini appear to be part of a political vendetta against him as well as his opposition to mass migration. Case in point: Although the decision to prevent those onboard the Gregoretti from disembarking in July 2019 was made by Salvini in close coordination with senior members of the Italian government, only Salvini is facing prosecution.
  • “No contrary position was taken by the Prime Minister Conte…. This makes the hypothesis of individual action by Minister Salvini completely improbable.” — Senator Erika Stefani, Lega Party, presenting documents showing that other ministers were deeply involved in discussions over the Gregoretti.
  • “If I have to go to court, I will explain to the judges that defending the borders of my country and protecting citizens was my duty and, serenely, I will go to that courtroom to represent millions of Italians, because I simply did what they asked me to do: to control who enters and who leaves Italy.” — Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in a tweet, February 12, 2020.
  • Like Trump, Salvini’s legal troubles are fuelling his approval ratings…. Surveys indicate that if Italy held elections now, Lega would win a majority together with its conservative allies.
The Italian Senate has voted to strip former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of parliamentary immunity so that he can face kidnapping charges for refusing to allow migrants to disembark from a ship at a port in Sicily. This is in spite of Sicilian prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro saying in September that the kidnapping accusations against Salvini were “groundless” and recommended that he be acquitted of all charges. Pictured: Salvini (center) at a rally in Policoro, on August 10, 2019. (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

The Italian Senate has voted to strip former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of parliamentary immunity so that he can face kidnapping charges for refusing to allow migrants to disembark from a ship at a port in Sicily.

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EU is Now Deaf to Their Coming Defeat, by Tom Luongo

Arrogant oblivion is not a good substitute for common sense and receptivity to other points of view, both of which the EU has lacked for many years. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Yanis Varoufakis once described negotiating with the European Union like you’re singing the Swedish National Anthem. No matter what proposal you put in front of them, they acted like they didn’t understand and simply reiterated terms.

But, at least then they heard something. It may have been gibberish to them, but at least sound waves made it to their ears.

Today, these people are like overwhelmed autistic kids needing noise canceling headphones to blot out the unwanted stimuli. It may be therapeutic but it doesn’t solve the situation.

Now that Brexit is complete the EU has gone one step further, blocking out the very real strategic and tactical disadvantage they are in dealing with the United Kingdom in trade deal talks.

The arrogance and intractability of the EU when it comes to negotiations is supposed to be their biggest weapon. They project a strange combination of strength and indifference that can only come from people thoroughly insulated from personal accountability for their mistakes.

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Independence and its consequences, by Alasdair Macleod

Alasdair Macleod sees Britain’s future post-Brexit as bright, but there’s one huge danger. From Macleod at goldmoney.com:

Britain left the EU on the last day of January and is an independent nation once more. The new Johnson government is confident that Britain will do well outside the EU. Free trade will be embraced, and a no-deal outcome, now dubbed an Australian trade relationship, holds no fears for the British government.

This article summarises the political and economic consequences of this historic moment. The fly in the ointment is there is no sign that Britain’s government understands the importance of sound money, which will be crucial in the event a global economic and financial credit crisis materialises.

Independence and trade negotiations

Having given independence to all its colonies, now it’s Britain’s turn. On 1 February the UK became politically independent and entered an eleven-month transition period while trade terms with the EU and other trading nations are negotiated, with the objective of entering 2021 with freedom to trade without tariffs with as many nations as possible. If Britain succeeds in its initial objectives these trade agreements will include not only the EU but also America, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the other trans-Pacific Partnership nations and a host of sub-Saharan African nations in the Commonwealth. It amounts to about two-thirds of the world measured by nominal GDP, of which only 21% is with the EU.

Additionally, an analyst looking at market substitution must allow for the relative dynamism of economies. Britain’s trade in goods with the EU has been declining, and today represents about 45% of Britain’s exports, having slipped from 55% in 2006. Despite the penalty of WTO terms with nearly all of Britain’s other trading partners, British exports are gaining more traction in trade outside Fortress EU. The future is brighter elsewhere.

Furthermore, the EU’s trade covers physical goods affecting only 8% of Britain’s GDP, with services a separate issue negotiated on a case-by-case basis.[i]] Being predominantly wholesale, most trade in financial services is excluded (though the EU is trying to claim it is not), and those at the retail level are delivered through British-owned subsidiaries based in Luxembourg and Dublin. Attempts to force EU standards on British financial services have a long history of failure, and the most recent suggestion, that the EU will seek to maintain access to British fishing waters in exchange for continued access for financial services to the EU, is an empty bargain.

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