Preparing For EU Collapse

Authored by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

If there is one thing the Spain vs Catalonia conflict reminds us of, it has got to be Turkey. And that is a much bigger problem for the EU than it realizes.

First of all, Brussels can no longer insist that this is an internal, domestic, Spanish issue, since Catalan president Puidgemont is in... Brussels. So are 4 members of his government.

That moves decisions to be made about his situation from the Spanish legal system to its Belgian counterpart. And the two are not identical twins. Even if both countries are EU members. This may expose a very large European problem: the lack of equality among justice systems. Citizens of EU member countries are free to move and work across the Union, but they are subject to different laws and constitutions.

The way the Spanish government tries to go after Puidgemont is exactly the same as the way Turkish president Erdogan tries to get to his perceived archenemy, Fethullah Gülen, a longtime resident of Pennsylvania. But the US doesn’t want to extradite Gülen, not even now Turkey arrests US embassy personnel. The Americans have had enough of Erdogan.

Erdogan accuses Gülen of organizing a coup. Spanish PM Rajoy accuses the Catalan government of the same. But they are not the same kind of coup. The Turkish one saw violence and death. The Spanish one did not, at least not from the side of those who allegedly perpetrated the coup.

Brussels should have intervened in the Catalonia mess a long time ago, called a meeting, instead of claiming this had nothing to do with the EU, a claim as cowardly as it is cheap. You’re either a union or you’re not. And if you are, the well-being of all your citizens is your responsibility. You don’t get to cherry pick. You got to walk your talk.

Belgian news paper De Standaard today makes an interesting distinction. It says the Belgian judicial system is not asked to “extradite” Puidgemont to Spain (uitlevering), but to “surrender” him (overlevering). Legal gibberish.

The paper also states that the case will go through three different courts, each of which has 15 days to announce a decision, so Puidgemont is safe for at least a month and a half. And then on December 21, Rajoy had called elections in Catalonia. For which, reportedly, he will seek to ban several parties. Don’t be surprised if that includes Puidgemont’s.

Moreover, even if the democratically elected president of Catalonia loses all appeals available to him, he could then ask for asylum in Belgium (apparently, Belgium is the only EU member country in which EU citizens can ask for asylum). And then you would really get into a mix-up of EU versus Belgian versus Spanish laws. In a way this is good, it would test a system that is not prepared at all for such divergences.

But what a disaster this is, once more, for the EU. It has shown zero leadership in the case, neither from the likes of European Commission head Juncker nor from Angela Merkel, its most powerful head of state. How can one not conclude that the Union is completely rudderless? This is just as bad as the refugee crisis, and the beheading of the Greek economy.

Threatening people with 30-year jail terms for organizing a peaceful vote is not what the EU should stand for. And now that is does, it threatens its own survival. Europe cannot be the land of Erdogan or Franco, it cannot look the other way and live.

That may be why the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have prepared a report that looks at future scenarios for Europe, including worst-case ones. The article in Der Spiegel is in German only, and my command of the language is a tad rusty, but the translation through Google is surprisingly accurate, I only had to change a few words.

The authors don’t seek the worst case option in either Spain or Greece, but perhaps they should. Then again, some of their projections are stark enough to offer plenty food for thought.

Military planners think EU collapse is conceivable

According to SPIEGEL information, the Bundeswehr played through social and political trends until 2040 for the first time. Strategists are also developing a worst-case scenario. The Bundeswehr believes that an end to the West in its current form over the next few decades is possible. This is according to information from Der Spiegel from the “Strategic Perspective 2040”, which was adopted at the end of February by the top of the Ministry of Defense and since then kept under wraps.


For the first time in its history, the Bundeswehr’s 102-page document shows how social trends and international conflicts could influence German security policy in the coming decades. The study sets the framework in which the Bundeswehr of the future is likely to move.


The paper does not yet provide any concrete conclusions for equipment and strength. In one of the six scenarios (“The EU in Disintegration and Germany in Reactive Mode”), the authors assume a “multiple confrontation”. The future projection describes a world in which the international order erodes after “decades of instability”, value systems worldwide diverge and globalization is stopped.


“The EU enlargement has been largely abandoned, other states have left the community, Europe has lost its global competitiveness,” write the Bundeswehr strategists: “The increasingly disorderly, sometimes chaotic and conflict-prone world has dramatically changed the security environment of Germany and Europe.” In the fifth scenario (“West against East”), some eastern EU countries are freezing the state of European integration while others have “joined the Eastern bloc”.


In the fourth scenario (“multipolar competition”), extremism is on the rise and there are EU partners who “even occasionally seem to seek a specific approach to Russia’s” state capitalist model “. The document expressly makes no prognosis, but all scenarios are “plausible with the 2040 time horizon,” write the authors. The simulations were developed by scientists of the Federal Armed Forces Planning Office.

Funny, that ‘future projection’ looks a lot like how I see the EU today, not in 2040.

There’s a longer article behind a paywall at Der Spiegel, but this should be sufficient to get a conversation going. Angela Merkel may be all EU all the time, just like all her EU peers, but her own army has serious questions about that. And given the Catalonia swamp, who could doubt that they are right about having doubts?

Yanis Varoufakis’ DiEM25 movement is all set towards democratizing the EU, but how realistic is that goal? How divergent does a Union have to get before you give up on it? Poland, Hungary, Czechia all want completely different things from what Holland and Germany want. New French president Macron is finding out as we speak that he can only do what Merkel allows him to.

And then along comes Spain and tries to inflict Franco era laws and violence on its citizens. But Brussels does nothing, and neither does Berlin. Refugees can rot away on Greek islands if eastern Europe doesn’t want them, and Catalan grandmas can get beaten to a pulp by the remnants of Franco’s troops, Brussels has zilch.

The way the EU functions today is no accident, and it’s not some new development. Present-day Brussels is the culmination of 50-60 years of institutionalization. You don’t change that with an election here or there.

Will Catalonia be the endgame of Brussels? Will it be the refugee crisis? Brexit? It’s impossible to say, but what is certain is that in its present state, the Union has no future. And at the same time, there’s no solution in sight. The powers that be are deeply invested, and they’re not going to let go just because some country, or part of a country, or political party, or group of voters wants them to.

The EU is profoundly anti-democratic, and it intends to stay that way.

But imagine that Belgium ‘surrenders’ Puidgemont, a man whose movement has lifted anti-violence to a whole new and modern level, and Rajoy jails him for 30 years, and the next day sits in on some meeting in Brussels, what picture does that paint for the 500 million EU citizens?

They’re crazy if they think they can get away with this.


Latina Lover Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:53 Permalink

Putin did it!Hillary tells all:Using the secret russian time machine,  he went back into history and convinced Franco to kill hundreds of thousands of Catalonians, knowing that in 70 years or so, the Catalonians would  revolt and start the unwinding of the EU. Putin did this on the advice of D. Brazille, house n&gger to the Clintons.Can't beat a chessmaster, especially with a time machine, LOL>

RussianSniper Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:59 Permalink

Globalists need to be put down like a sick animal.Bush I and II, Clintons, Obama, Congress bought and paid for by the corporatists, corporate fake news media, etc....EU permanent ruling elite, EU unelected and entrenched bureacracy..... These people are one in the same. These small yet powerful groups, controlled by corporations and multi billionaires, are sacrificing sovereign nations throughout western Europe ande the USA, in order to wield more power and concentrate all the wealth. Burn these people alive, before they kill us all!!!

gregga777 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:00 Permalink

"That may be why the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr…"

Germany has an army? How did that happen? What a surprise!

The United States Marine Corps is a far more credible fighting force than the Bundeswehr. And it's the smallest of the US Armed Forces!

waspwench gregga777 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:51 Permalink

Germany, with the collusion of France, is going to initiate an EU army and the rank and file will be made up of all the muslim thugs that Germany has brought into Europe.   This will ensure that the army has no connections to, or sympathy for, the European native populations.   This mercenary army will be loyal only to the EU elite which pays them.   It will be nominally under the control of the EU, but will actually be Germany's army.   Why do you think Angie invited in all those low IQ fanatic "refugees" and why do you think they are allowed to rape and pillage without any repercussions?

In reply to by gregga777

Stan Smith Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:06 Permalink

The EU is screwed simply because of their structure as much as anything else.    That doesnt even count the folks that want to get the fuck out of there.   I still think the EU gets to Armageddon sooner than we will here in the US of A,  but my guess is the spread on that is thinning.

joep3joep3 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:12 Permalink

We don't need Turkey, its a lost cause. But I'm saying this now, we don't need Germany either. The way western europe has been acting and throwing its culture away is very disturbing. How could an american fight to defend Europe when its own people don't give a shit about their counrty and women. There is still eastern europe, we have their back and they have ours.

harrybrown joep3joep3 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:47 Permalink

no one has thrown their culture away in Europe, Israel & the joos have done this for us, by brute force & control of the western govt's... what makes anything think the good old US of A isnt being raped by the zionists... just look at the amount of American lives thrown under the bus by them to defeat Israel enemies in the M.EWAKE UP!Death to the Zionist Money Changers

In reply to by joep3joep3

Rubicon727 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:14 Permalink

   "The EU is profoundly anti-democratic, and it intends to stay that way."Of course it intends to stay that way because it's NOT a democracy -it's a capitalist system where the exporting of good by Germany) remains the big winner!Perfect case: Look at "the Pet of the EU" -IRELAND. It's wallowing in EU subsidies to build roads, improve infrastucture and other goodies. Compare it to Italy that's been ravaged nearly as badly as Greece. Social services (health/etc.) are being wiped off the map. Industrial barons are decimating entire swathes of Southern Italy with Big Oil and other polluters that's killing whole societies and ways of life that have existed for centuries. Millions of job cuts, Italian youth fleeing to Latin America and Asia leaving Italy with a huge population of elderly folks who's bank accounts have been robbed of money intended for their children and grandchildren. And who is the big winner in this manipulative criminal behavior: Germany and her closest brethren. Never mind the legal inconsistencies between EU nations. It stands to reason none of these issues have been resolved. The money-sucking elites could care less about such irregularities. 

Pernicious Gol… Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:33 Permalink

Citizens were conned into accepting the EU as an economic union, not a political union. Then the bureaucrats began expanding their understanding of economic activity into areas a lot of citizens regard as political. Thus the push-back.The article is written by somebody who thinks the EU should have a strong central government ordering everybody around. I doubt most citizens in EU states would want that. He won't be happy until there's a boot on his neck and his every move is commanded by the state.

MoreFreedom Pernicious Gol… Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:41 Permalink

Excellent point.  Adding freedom of movement within the EU, and the ability to buy/sell easily to people outside the country but within the EU is one thing.  Living under two layers of bureaucricies and taxation creating more and more rules that pick winners and losers in commerce is quite another. It's ironic the Spanish and EU politicians, call a vote by people in Catalonia, a disgrace to democracy.   The reality is the Spanish have been using Catalalonians like two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.  That's the downside of democracy. 

In reply to by Pernicious Gol…

Joe A Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:39 Permalink

I don't want to play Ghordius here but I don't think the EU has something to say in this matter in Spain other than saying "this is a Spanish thing and everything should be according to the Spanish constitution".Did the Bundeswehr also look at a scenario where they need to fight an Islamic revolution in their own territory? That Germany Balkanizes? Which would be ironic because they played such a big role in the Balkanization of Yugoslavia.

GreatUncle Joe A Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:13 Permalink

But you have a contradiction ... "this is a Spanish thing and everything should be according to the Spanish constitution".I Agree ... but you can't have it both ways when the constitution defines sovereignty.Now you tell me how that adds up with the EU superstate Junkers is clawing at, the Spanish constitution since the signing of the Lisbon Treaty no longer exists. It is now an EU constitution and really the EU should be deciding all these matter.But of course that would them put them at loggerheads with Spain would it not?You either dump all sovereignty and constitutions throughout all EU nation and replace them with a single EU one or you leave.You can also add that the constitution defines laws also, the EU is bloody mess and the economic environment since 2008 was what exposed it because there is no longer any easy money to paper over the cracks. 

In reply to by Joe A

Joe A GreatUncle Mon, 11/06/2017 - 03:39 Permalink

You have a point. The Lisbon Treaty is however not a constitution, thanks to the Dutch and French voters back in 2005. At least, on paper it is not a constitution. But hidden in the treaty there are all sorts of provisions that are coming into play.I guess the EU does not want to burn its hand with this thing. While there is talk of an EU of regions, the EU prefers as in Juncker's words recently an EU of 27 instead of 95.

In reply to by GreatUncle

BritBob Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:58 Permalink

 The Crazy EUMEPs and legal experts have claimed the veto over the territory’s future after Brexit would give Spain special status among EU nation, when they should be on an equal level.The EU’s Brexit negotiating guidelines stated that the Brexit deal will not apply to Gibraltar without an “agreement between the kingdom of Spain and the UK”.Experts have told the Telegraph that the veto could be illegal under EU law.Spain's Gibraltar claim has NO legitimacy and YES would be illegal.They've effectively signed the territory away 3x times!Gibraltar – Spanish Myths and Agreements (single page):

Vegetius Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:03 Permalink

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The EU is running out of road with the smaller states on the periphery are beginning to resemble colonies. Take Ireland on face value as the EU would portray it Ireland does fantastically out of being a member of the Union. However take the Fisheries that are being plundered by the big EU nations we see that for every Euro the Irish received in aid they have given 5 times the value in fish. To paraphrase LBJ on aid to foreign countries, you give one dollar and get three back. The same is true of the Eastern states and the Balkans, the honest assessment of the EU is collapse and war. That is the most hopeful outcome.

MPJones Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:32 Permalink

"The EU is profoundly anti-democratic, and it intends to stay that way."Indeed - the EU is simply the most recent manifestation of the fascism that always smoulders just below the surface of central and southern European politics. It is a classic Fascist construct, an alliance of left-wing politics with big finance and business at the expense of workers and the middle class. There is absolutely nothing to recommend it (whereas the original idea of a free market was excellent).

Batman11 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:55 Permalink

The collapse of the West through the half-baked neo-liberal ideology.The idea:If the wealthy are taxed less they will invest and create jobs and wages.The reality:This is exactly what happened.BUT:The jobs and wages were created in the East, which is far more dynamic, wages are lower and profits are higher.The investor gets the best returns on his investments almost anywhere apart from the West due to its high costs of living with rent, healthcare (US) and student loan repayments. A high cost of living necessitates high wages.The Consequences:The hard work of the West produced profits that were taken by the wealthy and invested in the East.The balance of power shifted from West to East.The West started to worry about the powerful China Western investors had created (commonly known as “shooting yourself in the foot”).Western capital had created a new multi-polar world (more “shooting yourself in the foot”).In the hollowed out and decaying West the populists started to rise and social unrest followed (we have now blown the other leg off).The Solution:Get the money off the wealthy before they can invest it in the East and further shift the balance of power away from the West.

Batman11 Batman11 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 16:55 Permalink

The Americans do it best.In the US they use the left hand side of the brain to get the best return on their investments and the right hand side of the brain to worry about the new multi polar world.The left side of my brain tells me to invest in China for higher profits.The right hand side of my brain worries about a powerful ChinaNever the twain shall meet.American exceptionalism - exceptionally silly.  

In reply to by Batman11

Batman11 Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:17 Permalink

Under the stewardship of Trichet at the ECB, the Euro-zone turned into a slow motion train crash.He didn’t know what he was doing.Mark Blythe has been looking at the data for the Euro-zone when Trichet was in charge of the ECB.  Greenspan blows the US up: and 2008 stick out like sore thumbs.It’s ready to blow Alan, raise interest rates fast. were delays while the teaser rate mortgages reset; the new mortgage repayments became unpayable; the defaults and other losses accumulated within the system until everything came crashing down in 2008.

Blasdelezo Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:02 Permalink

Comparar España con Turquía es no tener ni idea de España. Ya está bien desde zerohedge de hablar de política que no entiende y apoyar a nazis catalanes que han puesto en jaque a todo un país.Se saltan las leyes y luego van de democráticos. Más hablar de mercados y trading y menos propaganda de oscuros intereses. 

GreatUncle Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:16 Permalink

You said ...To compare Spain with Turkey is to have no idea of Spain. It is good from zerohedge to talk about politics that does not understand and support Catalan Nazis who have put in check a whole country. They skip the laws and then go democratic.More talk about markets and trading and less propaganda of obscure interests.

Let it Go Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:59 Permalink

News Flash! The Euro-zone is not fixed.The Euro-zone faces a slew of problems but in my eyes, two of the most pressing are that Italy is insolvent and Spain is coming apart with Catalan separatists defying Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Financially Italy is the Euro-zone's Achilles heel, not only is Italy insolvent (it’s not alone in that), but there’s a gigantic effort to hide the depth of its problems. The article below explores these issues. http://Euro-zone Problems-Italy-Spain And Bad Debt.html

ukipboy Sun, 11/05/2017 - 22:51 Permalink

"But what a disaster this is, once more, for the EU. It has shown zero leadership in the case, neither from the likes of European Commission head Juncker nor from Angela Merkel, its most powerful head of state." Angela Merkel is not the German Head of State. The Head of State is the German President, currently Frank Walter Steinmeyer. Angela Merkel is the head of government ie. Chancellor. But the important news is that her coalition negotiations are on the brink of failure. Merkel needs the votes of the Greens and the Free Democrats (Liberals). But they cannot agree on a wide range of issues including immigration and the banking union (Italian bank bailout). If coalition talks fail, Germany will need new elections. The AFD is well placed to increase their share of votes and seats. They want to put Merkel on trial for treason. Interesting times.

fiddy pence ha… Mon, 11/06/2017 - 13:40 Permalink

Merkel does not want to upset Rajoy.Rajoy has one job, and that is to aidGermany in robbing Spaniards.Weak banking means Spanish savings findtheir way to Germany.Weak banks mean that all homeownerswho default have to be defrauded toget them out of their homes, so thatthose banks can funnel money tothe German banks that leant them toomuch.If the troika say "freedom for Catalonia",Rajoy may stop doing their bidding.