"The European Project Was Always Bound To Fail" - Europe Without The Union

Tyler Durden's picture

By Mark Fleming-Williams of Stratfor

Europe Without the Union

The European project was always bound to fail. Europe is a continent riven by geographic barriers. It has spent two millennia not only indulging in massive and constant internal wars, but also keeping written records of them, informing each generation of all the times their forebears were wronged. Over the centuries, great empires have risen and fallen, leaving behind distinct groups of people with different histories, languages and cultures. Any project attempting to fuse these disparate cultures into one monolithic state over the course of just 70 years was by its very nature doomed. It would inevitably encounter insurmountable levels of nationalistic resistance, and eventually the project would stall. That is the point at which we now find ourselves.

Crises abound, and though they all have different facades, each stems from the same underlying issue: Citizens ultimately prize their national and regional identities over the supranational dream. The sovereign debt crisis and repeating Grexit scares, born of the introduction of the euro in 1999, have exposed Northern Europe's unwillingness to subsidize the south. TheBrexit referendum, scheduled for June, can trace its roots to the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, and the ensuing wave of Polish migration to the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, amid the ongoing immigration crisis, national leaders are appeasing their populations by bypassing European rules and re-erecting border controls to stem the flow of refugees across their territory. In all of these situations, the same factors are at work: The driving forces within Europe are national in nature, and countries will ultimately put their own interests first.

Today's problems were both predictable and predicted. The next step, however, is harder to foresee. Having identified a system's inherent flaw, one can very well state that it is unsustainable, but unfortunately the flaw provides no guide as to the exact circumstances of the system's end. There are still many different ways that the demise of the European Union's current form could come about. For example, the project could unravel via market forces, as it nearly did in 2012 when investors tested the commitment of the core to save the periphery and found it to be (barely) willing to do so. Or a disaffected populace could elect a nationalist party such as France's National Front, which could either lead the country out of the European Union or make the bloc so unmanageable that it ceases to function. Perhaps the most likely scenario at this point would be for the European Union to survive as a ghost of its former self, with its laws ignored and stripped back to the extent that it holds only a loose grip on its members.

Where Integration Will Persist

The exact circumstances of the European project's end are not yet clear, but there are certain fixed, underlying truths that are sure to outlast the European Union's current form. With them, a forecast can still be made of the shape of things to come. These fundamental realities stem from deeper, unchanging forces that will bring countries together according to their most basic goals; they are the same forces that limited the European project's lifespan in the first place. By looking at these underlying factors, one can predict which countries will emerge from a weakened or collapsed European Union with close ties, and which are likely to drift apart in pursuit of their own interests once they are freed from the binding force of the European Union and its integrationist ideals.

The best place to start is the Benelux region. Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have long played a key role in European geopolitics, situated as they are on the flat and traversable land between Europe's two great Continental powers, France and Germany. Indeed, it was in the Benelux region that the European project began. Belgium and Luxembourg formed an economic union in 1921, and talks began for a customs union with the Netherlands in 1944, before the end of World War II. But it was World War II itself that really gave birth to the European Union as the Benelux countries combined with their two flanking giants and Italy to create a bloc that would prevent a reoccurrence of such destructive conflict. In the 70 years that had elapsed since German unification, France had endured three invasions, and all the members of the fledgling union suffered greatly as a result. Today, 70 years later and without a reoccurrence of catastrophic conflict, their strategy appears to have worked.

Thus the Benelux, France and Germany will be motivated to continue their integration efforts. Caught between two economic powers, the Benelux will want to secure their friendship. Meanwhile, France and Germany's rivalry will also draw them together. However, the fateful fact here is that the Franco-German relationship has been one of the major fault lines in the current European Union, meaning that a smaller version of the bloc will be similarly flawed.

Italy, for its part, will not be invited to the party this time around. For one, it lacks the same geopolitical circumstances, safely shielded as it is behind an Alpine wall. Moreover, the eurozone's third-largest economy has been at the center of both the sovereign debt and the immigration crises, and Germany in particular will be as reluctant to stay attached to the indebted Italy as it is to remain tied to Spain. The Franco-German-Benelux bloc is the likely heir to the euro, if the currency continues to exist, and it will maintain the European Union's integrationist ethos. It will adopt a more positive stance toward free trade than its predecessor, with the Netherlands and Germany outweighing the protectionist urges of Belgium and a France shorn of its traditional Mediterranean allies. This "core" bloc will be the Continent's center of gravity in the future. In the times that it has been whole since its unification in 1871, Germany has dominated the Continent, and it appears set to keep doing so for at least the next decade or two.

Germany's influence in Europe is not purely geopolitical. A large part of it is based on trade. The past two decades in particular have seen Germany assemble a powerful international goods factory. It takes unfinished products from its neighbors (eight of whom send Germany more than 20 percent of their exports) and transforms them into sophisticated mechanical goods before shipping them onward. In 2014, Germany was the number one export destination for 14 of its 27 EU peers, and the top source of imports for 15 of them. Access to this machine has especially benefited former communist states in Central and Eastern Europe, which have capitalized on high levels of investment from Germany (as well as the Netherlands and Austria) and capital inflows to achieve impressive GDP growth. European Union or no, the players in this network will all be highly motivated to keep it running.

Eastern and Western Interests Diverge

Still, there are two catches. The first is immigration. The subject has hung over these relationships since at least the 2004 enlargement, when Germany was one of several countries to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement for new eastern members. The influx of refugees into Europe has recently rekindled this friction, with the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland) bonding over a mutual aversion to Germany's attempts to dole out quotas of newly arrived migrants. The relationship emerging to Germany's east and southeast is one in which the free movement of goods and capital is encouraged, but the free movement of people is restricted.

The second catch is Russia. Over the next decade, Russia will experience some significant changes in both its external relationships and its internal systems. The first half of this forecast has already come to pass, and Russia has grown increasingly belligerent in its periphery. Stratfor believes this will become more pronounced until the system designed by Russian President Vladimir Putin either adapts or collapses. This will clearly have a considerable effect on Russia's European neighbors, albeit to varying degrees. And so, geography will come into play once more. We have already seen the Russian military used to powerful effect in Ukraine, but its ability to push farther into Romania is somewhat tempered by the Carpathian Mountains, a natural barrier that snakes north and west, also providing protection to Hungary and Slovakia. Poland, by contrast, stands starkly exposed to Belarus, a close Russian ally, with no mountain range to shield it. Farther north, the similarly unprotected Baltic states lack Poland's bulk and thus have even less protection; a larger country like Poland could at least buy time to organize a defense.

This geographic divergence will divide Central and Eastern Europe into two groups, one focused on trade and the other on security. The Central Europeans (the Czechs, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians and Slovaks) will be wary of antagonizing Russia. The Carpathians, though a barrier, are not insuperable. And yet these countries, sheltered by the mountains, will also be free to focus much of their energy toward pursuing continued prosperity through trade with the core. A shared interest in maintaining trade with Germany is not the foundation for a defined bloc, but more the makings of a loose grouping that becomes weaker with both distance from Germany and time, as Germany's strength begins to wane. Poland and the Baltics, by contrast, will not have the luxury of focusing primarily on their own enrichment. With Russia's presence looming, these countries will be bound closely together, focusing their energies on defense pacts and alliances — and especially on cultivating strong relationships with the United States. Trade will continue, of course, but the identity of this bloc will center on resisting the Russian threat. If and when internal challenges force Russia to turn its attention inward, Poland will have an opportunity, the likes of which it has not seen for several hundred years, to spread its influence east and south into the former territories of the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in Belarus and Ukraine.

In the north, Scandinavia will form its own bloc. Its members have a history of shared empires, free trade, freedom of movement agreements and a (failed) currency union; they are natural bedfellows. Indeed, an institution that has been somewhat dormant since the rise of the European Union — the Nordic Council — already exists to aid their international governance. This bloc is likely to be almost or equally as integrated as the French- and German-led core, with which it will have close trade and diplomatic relations.

Winners and Losers in a New Order

One of the countries most pleased with the new arrangements will be the United Kingdom, assuming it can hold itself together long enough to enjoy them. Having dedicated much of the last millennium to keeping the Continent divided and playing one side off another, the United Kingdom was forced to join the European Union once the organization's unity was truly unquestionable. With a Continent divided once more, the United Kingdom will be able to return to its preferred long-term strategy, maintaining a balance of power while at the same time attempting to develop a trade network that mixes regional with global. By contrast, Spain and Italy are likely to be left behind. Both will be struggling to stay whole, with Spain in particular danger of coming apart at the seams because of the internal conflicts raging among its constituent parts. Both will attempt to remain as close as possible to the core, though protectionist tendencies in the southern countries may inhibit these trading relationships. Spain and Italy are also likely to enjoy the newly regained freedom of being able to devalue their own currencies to regain competitiveness. From the core bloc's perspective, the two countries are likely to represent a continuing point of tension, with France pushing for their inclusion as Germany and the Netherlands resist. But time will work in France's favor here, since its advantageous demographics compared with those of Germany point to it gaining increasing influence over the bloc as the years pass.

The picture that has been laid out here is not meant to be an exact representation of Europe at a specific date in the future. Even if the European Union does unravel suddenly, as it nearly did in 2012, it is unlikely that countries would move on and settle into their new roles as seamlessly as described. Events will move at different speeds, and there may be considerable strife involved in the transition. With countries such as Italy and Spain battling to avoid isolation, France will be put in the difficult position of having to choose between either remaining close to Germany or standing with its Mediterranean allies. Elements of the current system may persist, and links will continue to exist across the blocs. For example, if the euro does survive in the core bloc, it may also continue to be used in some of today's other eurozone countries that are deemed to be fiscally responsible, such as Finland, for want of a compelling reason to make a change. There are still many unknowns. However, the intention is to show the picture that exists beneath the tracing paper. The image that actually emerges will depend on where and how pressure is applied in the years ahead.

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knukles's picture

Worry not, a massive influx of Islamists will make it all better.

CunnyFunt's picture

Yes, without the archaic and barbaric concept of the nation-state, our goals of sustainable development will not be possible. The majority will conform to the will of the insignificant minority. You shall be summoned to assist, or pay the forfeit of resistance.

Mister Ponzi's picture

He lost me when he talked about "belligerent Russia".

Lurk Skywatcher's picture

... europe has more to fear from trying to act against the ongoing vassalage to the US and its demands of russiaphobia. 

cheka's picture

hotel california -- you can check in, but never leave

the united states of europe aint goin' anywhere

Nutsack's picture
Nutsack (not verified) cheka Mar 6, 2016 8:17 PM

doan dibersity bee dere scremps?

LieEnforcementOfficer's picture

Hey stupid - it was designed to fail. That IS the purpose.

Nutsack's picture

So diebersitys doan bee dere screnfs?

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Nutsack Mar 6, 2016 8:27 PM

Ted Cruz' wife Heidi Cruz Council on Foriegn Relations worked to build a North American Union.

must watch

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9K9Xedk5eM

Dr. Bonzo's picture

He lost me when he talked about "belligerent Russia".

Ditto. NATO has shit on every agreement ever made with the Russians post break-up. Not to fear. The Europeans are hip to the jive. Putin is probably more popular than Merkel at this point. Nobody's fooled by this massive charade. Watch the Dutch Ukraine vote in April.

August's picture

>>>He lost me when he talked about "belligerent Russia".

This is Stratfor;  any relationship to the truth is purely coincidental.

Yttrium Gold Nitrogen's picture

How to write an analysis article for Stratfor:

1. Take a false premise
2. Convince yourself that the premise is actually true
3. Extrapolate on that premise
4. Extrapolate some more, basing your extrapolation on previous extrapolation

fleur de lis's picture

The neglected to include Kaleri-Coudenhove and they never investigated the rantings of Barbara Spectre.

jcbudmo's picture

Same here, he sounded quite coherent until that point. Stopped reading right there.

IronForge's picture

"He lost me when he talked about 'belligerent Russia'."  

 

StratFor, where Limbic-dominant Fearmongering Neocons gather to "respew" renditions of Cold War Propaganda.

Scandinavia "going to" sector off?  They already have established a Trading/Knowledge Sharing Bloc decades ago.

goldhedge's picture

UK Vote OUT.

 

Fuck Europe.

i2choose's picture

Love Europe, hate the EU (or is that now the EUSSR?). Never get Europe and the EU mixed up!

Chuckster's picture

Knuckles...you always have the best ideas!  I think they could take their used motor oil and give the Muslims free enemas on Fridays.

knukles's picture

Thank you Chuckster.  I'll let you know that many of such are highly restrained so as not to create uncontrollable havoc out of respect that this is after all Tyler's house.
Yes, I do manage to entertain those other 28 little voices in my head. 

Nutsack's picture
Nutsack (not verified) knukles Mar 6, 2016 8:27 PM

on da screets when yous scrong you haves screnfs oar scremps as they says.

doctor10's picture

The Euro-garchy were just trying to gear up the same scam their oligarchy cousins across the pond in USA had been riding for 40 years.

raywolf's picture

It's pretty clear that there was never a real agenda other than divde, conquer and pillage.

Back in the 50s and 60s when the EEC and EU started, all the nations had to do was put ENGLISH on all the TV and radio, stop any over dubbing and make english the accepted language. Not to do away with french, german etc. but just install English.

More people in Mexico speak english than they do in Spain, France and Italy. It's pathetic. If you want a united reigion you start with the language. Anyone born in the EU post 1970, should by now speak fluent english.

There was no other choice of lanauge and there was no reason not to put this in place and it would have cost almost nothing. Instead they built fancy parliments and spent billions on lawyers and polticans.

If everyone in the EU spoke english, a lot more americans and anglo speaking people would move there (as it is a very nice geography) - business would be easier, politics would be easier and there would have been a natural, organic development of the region as 1 integral unit, with X gen. onwards all seeing each other as fellow locals. 

Secondly it needed all the 'good' countries involvement. UK, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, needed to be on board 100% - bring in France, Italy, Germany, Beligum, Netherlands, Denmark - now you have a solid power base.

What they tried to do was make a USA, while leaving out Texas, New York and California - daft.

The smaller states like Greece, Croatia, Solvenia, etc. they would naturally come in later on, when the strength was built, but in a mad rush to make it real, Germany and France just pushed on alone and forced it all, alienating the stronger countries they needed most.

If it had been done correctly even Russia would have been jumping to join in.

 

Ladioss's picture

Great idea. 

 

But why choose that piss-poor English language, you dumbsack ?

Which way to the beach's picture

From my experience, which is far from being scientific, many europeans are fluent in several languages, whereas those whose mother tongue is english are far less to be fluent in another language.

Bubbles

East Indian's picture

Russia could have been led by the nose into EU and its military might suitably forced down, after the cold war, any time between 1991 and 1999; it was just like Germany after the WW2 - exhausted and ideologically lost. Instead the Americans preferred to loot it through oligarchs.

Back in the Czarist era, Russians preferred French, not English. Excluding Russia out of European projects is a great loss to the French language.

But in future, Russia will always be ready to jump in; but then you have to force the Europeans to learn Russian, not English!

fleur de lis's picture

That was how the Roman Empire grew and flourished. Latin was the official language but local languages were still used. This allowed a traveller from anywhere in the Roman world to travel far distances and still communicate.

gatorengineer's picture

Knicks that's the plan  destroy it and the rebuild it as a tighter union

Troy Ounce's picture

 

But...but...what to with all those 10's of 1 000's overpaid civil servants?

knukles's picture

They could be burned alive as ecologically friendly ... er wait.  I'm sorry.  That's out of line.
Krupp could get the contract to....   er sorry.
Damn.

Troy Ounce's picture

 

 

Getting closer to an Endlösung...

knukles's picture

Ironic, no?  Endlösug with muzzies and Progressive enablers.  Oh my ....

Insurrexion's picture

 

 

Fuck this.

Many Germans I know want OUT! of these sheize project.

Our standard of living is artificially low,

our taxes are supporting other "loser" nations,

our sovereignty is in the hand of Brussels,

our culture is being wasted away in Muslim immigrants, and

and

our economy is in the hands of a fucking Italian Goldman Sachs man, Mario Draghi.

It is time for the next Reich!

dogfish's picture

Didn't the men in germany dress in skirts to fight the muslem sex assalters,Just saying.

Nutsack's picture
Nutsack (not verified) Insurrexion Mar 6, 2016 8:32 PM

Start stabbing them or shooting them or get used to being a cuckhold fairy as they rape your mothers, wives, and daughters...

medium giraffe's picture

I was in Germany during the transition from the D-mark to the Euro.  Germans got fucked then, and they've been getting fucked ever since.  It isn't fair that Germany's economic might gets pillaged to support the sick men of Europe.

Razor_Edge's picture

In fact we in Ireland got fucked in the Euro. Interest rates were set for Germanys benefit. They needed low rates, and they got them. We needed higher rates, and we didn't get them, leading to a property bubble and a crash. Our economy was in surplus and budget debt insignificant until the crash came and our taxpayers had to bail out the German and other gambling lenders to private banks. The current low rates in the Euro zone benefit Germany greatly, subsidising their exports hugely. If they were back in the Deutschmark,  their exports would be massively negatively affected. In that sense, the other members of the Eurozone subsidise German exports, and pay painfully for the privilege.

fleur de lis's picture

Any chance Ireland can break away? A lot of the younger generation think that the EU is the way of the future but they have been fed NWO academics all their lives.

Razor_Edge's picture

Unfortunately the time server politicians have no stomach for breaking away. Why would they? The EU is a source of highly paid sinecures for washed up politicians back home. And it also means that they can disclaim responsibility by blaming Europe for stuff they were too feckless to sort themselves.

Also most of the sheeple here think that the EU is Gods gift. It's part of our still extant post colonial slave mentality. I used to think that had disappeared years ago, but now I know it hasn't. The bulk of the media here are also euro lickspittle shabbos. The truth is of course anyway, that we have structured our economy here in such a way as to be dependent on low tax seeking inward investment tnc's. They have provided employment, and a lttle tax income, but when they go elsewhere, as they will, seeking more rent, we will truly be fucked.

The problem for us, and for all of the lesser members of the Empire, is that if we choose to go our own way and find our own solutions to creating a viable and civilised society, the Empire will move heaven and earth to stop us, lest we become an example for others. It's also the case that we have a huge FSA here too, and some who have never worked a day in their lives and have been suppoted with money, housing, child support etc etc etc. and they will never support a truly productive and just society. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas. So they just go on breeding a new generation of feral children who have to be supported just like ma and pa, as they maintain the crime figures. I remember a quote from a book I read as a teenager that "you get the behaviour that you reward". Ain't that the truth.

medium giraffe's picture

Great stuff on both comments R_E.  You're right of course, Euro rates set to benefit Germany, but the Euro did no favours for the working German, especially when he got screwed on the exchange rate from D-marks. 

The crux of your argument I totally agree with re. a single currency - you can't have such a huge part of your economic control mechanism taken away in such a manner and not suffer badly, as unfortunatly Ireland found out to their cost as it became harder to pay down debt (for starters).

The common market was about as far as we needed to go, everything after was the misguided fantasy of bureaucrats whom were gullible enough to be led up the garden path by the banksters.

 

reinhardt's picture

sounds a bit like the u.s.

r

carbonmutant's picture

The separate countries will become dependent on their German contracts... and the Deutschmark will rise again.

piliage's picture

Be careful about what you wish for. This ham fisted analysis misses the elephant in the room; WHY Germany exports so much. The answer is the euro is radically undervalued to the Germany economy, and Germany gets an export subsidy of about 30%. Good luck on the new improved Deutschmark.

beijing expat's picture

Well even if it fails the enduring legacy of the EU will be the multicultural countries left behind as the project failed. The purpose of the mass immigration was to destroy the local culture and make everyone European.

Don't forget not to glance sideways at the new Europeans . You might be attacked. When they scream "fuck you mother I fuck you in the ass" at you for no apparent reason you know it's on.

wildbad's picture

expect the unexpected.  the wildcats are being backed into all available corners

Pinstripe's picture

Another Limey's fancy.

putzgnasher's picture

hear about that European chicken that went fishing with rapefugees? She came back with a red snapper.

BlussMann's picture

The bottom line is that a "Union" that cannot produce a viable economy will fail, as we witnessed with the USSR. The USSA's system of Corporate Capitalism and Social/Legal Marxism produced such an economy, but will fail when the economy of that entity collapses. The EU has an additional problem that will kill it - the changing - or "transitioning" per the vile Jewess Spectre's prediction of an largely Arab/African population replacing the original European population. No progress or prosperous economy is possible with these racial groups as what used to be Europe becomes Eurabia - in fact appears that the Benlux nations are almost there. RIP Western Europe.

raywolf's picture

who wrote this think tank garbage...?

"Russian military used to powerful effect in Ukraine, but its ability to push farther into Romania is somewhat tempered by the Carpathian Mountains, a natural barrier that snakes north and west, also providing protection to Hungary and Slovakia."

 

It's 2016 AD not 2016 BC... some mountains didn't exactly hold back the Soviets and that was 50+ years ago now... idiot.....