Germans joining Italians in recession (and soon to join the French in the streets)…
The Spanish youth nearly as woefully unemployed as young Greeks… and Belgium almost as indebted as the Republic of Ireland.
I’m not sure this was the “ever closer union” the EU’s architects had in mind, but it sure as hell is what they’ve got. “Be careful what you wish for” indeed.
It’ll be the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests this year, and my colleague Nick Hubble thinks we’re due a European sequel. Even the European Council on Foreign Relations agrees, issuing a paper titled “The Continent-Wide Rise of Euroscepticism”, which declares “Euroscepticism has now spread across the continent like a virus.”
I wouldn’t bet against Nick – he’s predicted the timing of events thus far to a tee.
Nick managed to wrangle his way into the EU Parliament recently to get an inside take on what’s going on. He doubts he’ll be allowed back in, and after this, I’m inclined to agree with him.
But while he was in there, he had a meeting with an insider. And during their discussion for what lies in store for Europe, he revealed that several of the ingredients required for “Tiananmen Square 2.0” have been added to the European stew:
“What Brexit did for them… it was kind of a release, like a valve, they could suddenly go more and more quickly toward with their deals, and you can see that downstairs in the members parliament… you have three papers about the European army: how you integrate the capabilities, how you actually integrate the mechanism of making weapons of warfare, how the financial aspects are all integrated… they’ve moved really, really quickly on that front. And as for people rebelling, whether it’s in Catalonia, whether it’s the street fights that you saw in Italy or Greece, or now what you’re seeing in the yellow vests, [MEPs] simply ignore it, they back the government and ignore the people.”
Even George Soros, a fervent fan of the European project, is shouting its problems from the rooftops:
Europe is sleepwalking into oblivion, and the people of Europe need to wake up before it is too late. If they don’t, the European Union will go the way of the Soviet Union in 1991…
Most of us assume that the future will more or less resemble the present, but this is not necessarily so. In a long and eventful life, I have witnessed many periods of what I call radical disequilibrium. We are living in such a period today…
… the dream of a united Europe could become the nightmare of the twenty-first century.
Note his comparison between the EU and the USSR. Nick made the same comparison in his book last year, where he compared a key structural flaw of the euro – the TARGET2 system – to a similar flaw in the Soviet Union’s monetary system, the “transfer rouble”. The transfer rouble hid the monetary imbalances of the USSR for a time, but the cracks could only be papered over for so long. As Nassim Taleb once shrewdly observed, “You never cure structural defects; the system corrects itself by collapsing.”
Even the former chief economist of the European Central Bank (ECB) has broken rank, declaring “The ECB itself has become a risk to financial stability.”
For the full briefing on what lies in store for Europe this year from our very own “enemy of the state”, click here.
Last week, not far from a yellow vest rally in France, a man played a short rendition of “The Imperial Death March” on a cornet as riot police walked past, in a joking comparison with the stormtroopers from Star Wars. A few around him laughed, another offered a high five. The heavily armoured police were silent as they passed, only a yard away.
Hopefully the metaphor will end there. But…
“What I don’t understand is that we don’t give the means to the police to put an end to this violence,” a former French government minister said recently of the yellow vest riots. When it was suggested the use of firearms by police would lead to them outright killing protestors, his response was stark:
All the best,
Editor, Capital & Conflict
Category: The End of Europe