Spiegel interviewed the presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission, Martin Schulz and Jean-Claude Juncker in the wake of the Brexit vote. In all cases, emphasis added is mine.
Regarding their phone call on the morning after the vote:
SPIEGEL: What did you say on the phone?
Schulz: I said: “Jean-Claude, I think this isn’t going well.” Then I advocated for a quick response from the EU. The last thing we need right now is uncertainty.
Juncker: I shared his opinion. It was important for the Brits to trigger Article 50 as quickly as possible in order to avoid any uncertainties.
They dictate to European countries when they are in the union, and they dictate to European countries when they say they want out of the union – despite, to my understanding, it being up to the British government to decide if and/or when to trigger Article 50.
SPIEGEL: Just like on that Friday, you often present yourselves as extremely tight political partners. Can you appreciate that some in Europe see your relationship as cronyism?
Juncker: Nonsense. Martin and I lead the two important community institutions, whose tasks include working together in confidence. After 30 years in Brussels, I can tell you: The relationship between the Commission and the Parliament has probably never been as good as it is now.
SPIEGEL: That’s precisely what many people find problematic. Parliaments are ultimately responsible for keeping governments in check — not acting as their reinforcements.
Schulz and Juncker went on to further deride this view of cronyism. What else would they say?
Spiegel then asked about the plans announced immediately after the Brexit vote for an even tighter EU, with even more control from Brussels over the member states (talk about being oblivious to reality).
Juncker: The proposal in and of itself is convincing, but it doesn’t suit the times. To implement it, the European treaties would have to be amended. Martin’s plan is a long-term project that cannot currently be implemented due to the mood on the continent. But where the community can achieve more on the basis of existing treaties, we should do so.
They know they cannot get new treaties passed or current ones amended, but this does not concern them. Politicians will always find loopholes in existing treaties and laws that they can use to expand power. They have thousands of lawyers and judges working on this every single day.
Schulz: I completely agree with Jean-Claude. I’m fully aware that my vision of a European bicameral parliament can’t be implemented tomorrow. I’m also not an integration fanatic. We agree: Brussels can’t regulate everything. I’m driven by something else: There are forces in Europe that want to generally give national policy priority over a common European approach. We have to prevent this.
This last statement gives me the chills.
SPIEGEL: Nevertheless, many in Europe see you as being symbolic of the backroom technocratic politics that is associated with the European Union and the euro. Some have even accused you of being responsible for Brexit. Do you plead guilty?
Juncker: No, why should I? In the end, the British didn’t vote to leave because of the euro. They’re not even members of the currency union. Even the refugee crisis hardly affected the country. I have another explanation: In its 43 years of EU membership, Britain has never been able to decide whether it wants to fully or only partially belong to the EU.
Spiegel did not only mention the euro; the issue is the European Union itself. And the question was about the backroom political dealings – which most certainly affected Britain. In any case, Juncker sees the fault entirely with the British parliament and British people; nothing done by the EU was is the cause behind these very visible divisions.
Schulz: Primary responsibility for Brexit lies with British conservatives, who took an entire continent hostage. First, David Cameron initiated the referendum in order to secure his post. Now, fellow conservatives want to delay the start of exit negotiations until they’ve held a party conference. And regarding detractors: I’m proud of the fact that Ms. Le Pen in France insults me and Mr. Wilders in the Netherlands calls me his opponent. The way I see it is, if these people weren’t attacking me, I would be doing something wrong.
The EU bears no responsibility in the troubles and divisions of Europe. The trouble is in Britain, not the EU. Schulz sees only Le Pen and Wilders, and not the millions of people behind these two; he does not see anything of the underlying anger and frustration throughout the continent.
Spiegel then points out that the criticism and frustration is not only from the right-wing; many countries in Eastern Europe are also critical of the EU and its actions. In each case, the examples are dismissed or otherwise ignored by Schulz and Juncker.
Spiegel points out other areas where EU law is purposely not enforced – for example, on budget deficits in certain member countries immediately prior to national elections in those same countries. Such actions further the view that the EU is completely awash in political cronyism. Again, the two find a way out of the issue without addressing the issue.
In speaking of how the two men met:
Schulz: We got to know each other at an award ceremony in Aachen (Eds. Note: the prestigious Charlemagne Prize, awarded annually by the German city of Aachen).
I have written of this prize before, named after the deadly murderer who made the first failed attempt to unite a post-Rome Europe through violent means (which speaks volumes about those behind this award); in 1000 years this would be like having a Stalin prize or a Hitler prize – they also worked to unite Europe through violent means.
In any case, the most interesting information I learned when writing the post about this prize was regarding the institutional momentum behind the European project. It explains much about the blindness of men like Juncker and Schulz.
SPIEGEL: Do you also need to be woken up, Mr. Schulz?
Schulz: Not at all.
Why do I title this post as I do – leading Europe into war? There was not one single instance in this interview where either of these two gentlemen took responsibility for any significant issue or concern. Either the public or the press is stupid or it is all the fault of national governments – this is the response.
These leaders – and thousands like them – are going to press on regardless. These leaders are blind; they will work to push through their agenda without regard to national politics or recognition of the differences amongst the people of Europe.
Central planning doesn’t work; it will not work here. The frustrations are building, and these pressures will find a release. The release will come either by Brussels backing off or more countries leaving the EU (and with this the terms must be seen as reasonable) or internal violence – civil unrest at ever increasing levels.
Brussels will not back off. This leaves only the possibility of other countries leaving with reasonable terms or violence. And here is the rub: if the terms for leaving are reasonable, many more countries will eventually leave; if not, there will be violence.
The EU project as it is currently constituted is dying, but not yet dead. Like a cornered and wounded an animal, these leaders in Brussels present grave danger. These leaders in Brussels are leading Europe into war.* and I didn’t even mention that the EU is also a tool of the US government in driving toward war with Russia.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.