When Angela Merkel became chancellor of Germany in late 2005, the conservative German newspaper Die Welt admitted that “Nobody knows in what direction she will take the country.” The liberal Berliner Zeitung was equally ignorant, wondering, “What will she be demanding from us citizens?” (In Europe, we have “democracies” of the kind in which politicians get elected without anyone knowing what they stand for.) Labeled “das Mädchen” (“the girl”) by Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder, her two predecessors, Merkel had ambition and shrewdness that everyone had clearly underestimated.
Today, thanks to her efforts to hasten the transformation of Europe into the Middle East, it is clear that Merkel, the first woman to hold the highest political office in Berlin—and, for the first half of 2007, the president of the European Union—is steering the Federal Republic of Germany and the rest of “democratic” Europe in a direction the people do not want.
Germany is one of the six founding members of the European Union—the supranational organization that was established exactly half a century ago under the pretext that the economies of France and Germany should be integrated to prevent the two countries from going to war again, as they had three times in the previous century. Economic policies would no longer be decided in national capitals but by an unaccountable supranational executive, the European Commission, based in Brussels. At the time of the establishment of the European Economic Community (as the European Union was originally called), Clement Attlee, the perceptive British Labour prime minister, said that he did not want to have anything to do with this institution, which he called “a body appointed by no-one and responsible to no-one.”
From the beginning, the EEC was a dangerous construct. It did not take long for the idea to arise among the Brussels bureaucracy to develop the institution into a genuine superstate—an imperial Moloch on par with Russia and America. Today, the European Union—sometimes referred to as the “Lambermonster” (after the Lambermont Building in Brussels, where the Commission has its headquarters) or the EUSSR (a name coined by the former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky, who knows a dictatorship when he sees one)—is interfering ever more with the daily lives of its subjects. At the same time, its territory continues to expand, from the original 6 members to the present 27. Empires have to keep growing to avoid unraveling, and, in so doing, they inevitably become increasingly totalitarian and expansionist.
By definition, there is no end to this process. The Leviathan must grow; the Lambermonster has to be fed. Meanwhile, its servants conceal from the people how big the monster has already become. The European Commission’s website claims it has a staff of 25,000. Recently, Open Europe (OE), a London-based think tank, discovered that the total of those employed by the Brussels executive is actually more than 54,000. An OE spokeswoman said:
The EU discreetly publishes a Statistical Bulletin listing staff levels at its agencies, but when we contacted these agencies directly we found they had far more staff than listed. Many of the agencies took months to answer requests. One, the European Police College, repeatedly refused to disclose its staff numbers.
The OE also discovered that the European Union’s acquis communautaire—the body of E.U. legislation with which European citizens, companies, and charities have to comply—totals 170,000 pages. Officially, the total is around 80,000 pages. By adding up pages in the many volumes of the Official Journal of the European Union, the OE found that the European Union has passed 666,879 pages of laws since 1957.
With the accession of Rumania and Bulgaria on January 1, the E.U. territory has reached the outer boundaries of the European continent. Now, to continue expanding, it has to move into Asia and Africa. The preparation for this crossing of the Rubicon—in this case, the crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Bosporus—has been going on for years. Five years ago, Louis Michel (then the Belgian minister of foreign affairs and presently a member of the European Commission) told the Belgian Parliament that the European Union will eventually encompass the entire Mediterranean basin, including North Africa and the Middle East. He also suggested that peace will come to Israel and Palestine only by incorporating both into the European Union.
The European-Mediterranean (“Euro-Med”) partnership between the European Union and the countries of the Maghreb (an Arab word meaning “the West” and denoting Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya—the North African Muslim countries to the west of Egypt) was established specifically to promote the economic, cultural, and political integration of the European Union and the Maghreb countries. The Brussels bureaucrats think that the Maghreb will eventually become part of Europe, but, as many ordinary Europeans realize, Europe is on its way to becoming the Maghreb, the Muslim “West.”
The 2006 Euro-Med “Algiers Declaration for a Shared Vision of the Future” (February 26, 2006) states that “It is essential to create a Euro-Mediterranean entity founded on Universal Values which are the basis for promoting political reform and common action plans.” It also emphasizes that “it is crucial to positively [sic] emphasise all common cultural heritage, even if marginalised or forgotten” and that it is essential to “enhance the circulation of people and ideas.” Euro-Med has also suggested rewriting European history books to make them friendlier toward Islam and to combat “Islamophobia,” because “the Islamic component is an integral part of Europe’s diversity.”
Brussels needs to embrace Islam if it wants to expand into the Muslim east and south. The latter ambition also explains why the E.U. establishment considers it so important to get Turkey accepted as a member. Turkey would become the European Union’s most populous member state. By virtue of her 80 million inhabitants—almost all of them Muslims—Turkey would also have the largest number of representatives in the European Parliament.
The problem, however, is that the present institutional framework of the European Union, dating back to the mid-1980’s, is not adapted to the rapid expansion it has seen since the fall of the Iron Curtain in the late 80’s. Since 2004 alone, 12 new members have been added. To cope with this expansion, the E.U. establishment produced the European Constitutional Treaty (the so-called European Constitution), a bloated 70,000-word document full of politically correct phrases yet carefully devoid of any reference to Europe’s Christian heritage and cultural tradition. It expands the powers of the Brussels Eur-ocracy and limits the national sovereignty of the member states.
According to the present rules, all the member states have to ratify the constitution in order for it to take effect. If a single one fails to ratify, the entire project is waylaid. In early 2005, the constitution was rejected in referenda in France and the Netherlands. One reason people voted against it was their opposition to the admission of Turkey into the European Union. Theoretically, the constitution should have been discarded after its rejection in the French and Dutch referenda. It was clear from the start, however, that the European politicians would not take the electorate’s “no” for an answer. Instead, they were waiting for a forceful figure who would take steps to impose the constitution against the people’s wishes. This is where Angela Merkel comes in.
Merkel was always very clear about her intention to use Germany’s six months at the helm of the rotating E.U. presidency, in the first half of 2007, to revive the ratification of the constitution. On January 17, in her first speech to the European Parliament as E.U. president, she presented the rest of Europe with a German Diktat. “The reflection pause is over,” Merkel said.
By June, we must reach a decision on what to do with the constitution. It is in the interest of Europe, its member states and its citizens, to bring this process to a successful conclusion by the next European Parliament elections in early 2009.
She added that it would be an “historic failure” to miss this deadline.
The way forward, she declared, was not to launch a public debate on the constitution but to focus on confidential, secret talks with national governments. “Broad general debate is behind us,” she said, adding that she does not want further referenda on the treaty and noting that the European Union could not enlarge further without a constitution.
During the campaign for this month’s French presidential elections, Merkel’s Ribbentrop (Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister) warned the French politicians not to derail Merkel’s plan to relaunch the constitution by using the subject as an election issue. “It would be good if in countries where elections are due the EU constitution does not become a central topic where firm political positions are taken,” Steinmeier said.
By June, Merkel hopes to submit a revised constitution, which the national parliaments of the E.U. member states could ratify without consulting the electorate directly. Merkel, according to her spokesman Thomas Steg, intends to buy the good wishes of the people by adding a “social protocol” to the constitution that would “make it more acceptable to French and Dutch public opinion.”
It is generally assumed by the European establishment that the opponents of the constitution are an unnatural alliance of the “far left” and the “far right.” The right opposes granting Turkey E.U. membership and dislikes the idea of a federal pan-European superstate; the left fears that the constitution will lead to more economic liberalization and diminish the “social protection” provided by the national welfare systems.
Chancellor Merkel hopes to persuade voters that the European Union will provide at least as many welfare benefits as the national states it intends to supplant. There is “no time” to rewrite the text of the constitution fundamentally, Steg insisted, but the constitution would be expanded with a declaration on “the social dimension of Europe,” which would oblige member states to take more notice of the “social consequences” of Internal Market legislation. This would serve as a check on E.U. legislation that opens up the protectionist Western European labor markets to workers from Central and Eastern Europe (the so-called Polish plumbers). Hence, the German chancellor hopes to fool the Europeans into letting the Turks (and, later, the North Africans) in by promising to keep the Poles out. Merkel is confident that the Europeans, who have already signed away so many of their freedoms in return for welfare benefits from the state, will buy this trick, too.