The European Union is dead. Get over it.

4 Comments

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Photo: © Petros Diveris, Molyvos, Lesvos, October 2015

The recent developments in Europe mean that the European Union is no more. The European project was sold to us, European progressives, as the way to guarantee peace and prosperity for the continent, in contrast with a not so distant past which has never really stopped shaping the discourse. The idea that the EU is a guarantee for peace is simply not true anymore. The European Union is now terminally split in spheres of influence, just like in the 19th century, with the Visegrád group essentially acting as the enforcers of Vienna, France looking to the other direction, Italy fancying that it's a storm, and that calm will somehow be restored. Germany is pretending that it doesn't agree with the unilateral action of the Visegrád group -plus Bulgaria and Serbia- to seal off their borders with Greece, essentially trapping the refugees in the battered country. In reality Germany is very happy that someone else is blocking the refugees' entrance into their country. In Merkel's mind this amounts to two birds with one stone (she's clever like that). Germany appears benevolent, yet Greece is bearing the costs, and to breaking point, which is an extra bird for said stone.

It is common knowledge that the current bunch of politicians in charge of European policy are not well versed in history. For example, if they had any knowledge of the recent past then they'd know that these countries were the first to join the Nazis in their assault on Europe, and it was Greece that paid the highest price amongst all, to defend exactly what the group now fancifully call "European values". At this point we are past ignorance and well into hubris. Don't forget that until today Germany has not apologised to the Greeks for what they did (with the notable exception of their president), nor have they ever paid any meaningful reparations. They haven't even paid back the money they forced the Bank of Greece to lend to the invading army to bankroll the occupation. Incidentally, that's exactly the same model Wolfgang Schäuble is pursuing today, one in which Greece is forced to sell its family silver to pay for the "privilege" of being run as a protectorate.

The European Union has no principles anymore, it only talks force now. It will award billions of euros to an increasingly arrogant and dangerous Turkey, but peanuts to Greece, a fellow member of the "union", even though the country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe for which is not responsible. No, Turkey is partly responsible, which is why the EU will award them billions. Roughly 400 million euros will be allocated for Greece, and will be spent directly on the refugees, bypassing the Greek state, in an insulting act akin to slapping someone in the face in public. The EU is treating a fellow member as a pariah and a potential thieve, whilst awarding billions to a regime that is responsible for arms trade, oil smuggling and contraband ancient artefacts, if not for the refugees in the first place. These are the kinds of things the European union understands and approves of, and it does so with a lorry full of money, and a wink or two.

For too many years I thought that the European project had the potential to transform the periphery into something more functioning, something more akin to the advanced core states. That belief of mine was a grave mistake. The "union" has no problems in dealing with fascist Hungary's and Slovakia's walls and moats, or negotiating with Erdoğan, the closest one can get to an elected dictator. It also has no qualms in actively destroying Greece, virtually converting the beautiful country into a gigantic refugee camp. Brussels and Berlin did not blink once when the Slovakian PM Fico, a fascist in all but name, said that there is a "hotspot" in Europe, and that is Greece. In 21st century Europe it is considered OK to talk in such terms about a fellow member of the "union", and that's exactly why the EU is dead.

The European union is dead because it is no longer a union. The only language the Europeans understand now is that of force. The reason Greece has to be destroyed is twofold. It is because the Europeans can destroy it, and so they will, more so as the Greeks are responding with the same kind of submissiveness we observe in victims of domestic violence. Second, it is important for Germany to direct everybody's attention to its trained dancing bear, Greece, for otherwise we might start wondering exactly how exposed Deutsche Bank is, and ultimately Germany as a country, to derivatives and toxic loans. As Greece is being taken to the execution chambers or even worse to the place of no memories, the United Kingdom is offered a Lewinsky kind of service by the European heavyweights, the Schäubles and the Tusks.

It is clear at this moment that we need to save Europe, and progressive politics, from this bunch of technocratic vultures, the Dijsselbloems, Merkels and Hollandes, Austria, but also their quasi-fascist henchmen in Budapest and the Balkans. We need to be clear now that we will no longer work for the EU, or with the EU, but despite the EU, in order to save Europe - if it's not too late. The EU is extremely dangerous for Europe, and the sooner we understand this the best.

When it comes to Greece I am pessimistic as I think that it's too late, the country has already been choked to death. But I do also think that the Eurocrats are essentially a bunch of cowards, and that they do get scared if one's prepared to play hard. Greece has to act mad now, perhaps they could ask Israel for a crash course in chutzpah. The country has nothing left to lose, and it's about time they realise this before they disappear for ever in λήθη. They should threaten to act unilaterally on the refugee front; they should contact Putin who's partly to blame for killing Greece off. They should finally raise the prospect of the drachma, and of a hasty exit from all European agreements and treaties. The European union needs more than gestures and a loud slap in the face, if we are to save Europe; make no mistake, the destruction of Greece cannot be brought about without the destruction of Europe itself. Only the Slovakian Prime Minister cannot understand this.

Petros Diveris, Manchester, March 2016

Peril at Sea

Shocking video appears to show the Turkish coastguard striking an inflatable dinghy carrying refugees and migrants in deep and dangerous waters.The officers are under instructions to get the boats to turn back.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Friday, March 18, 2016

Hastaroth

Two remarks in this article:

First,Greece has responsibilities in the refugees crisis for not having done what was needed to protect its borders-which are also EU borders-from the invasion of millions of people who ARE NOT REFYGEES,but-mostly-CLANDESTINE (and therefore illegal-economic immigrants.They want to leave a country-Turkey-where they are by no means threatened (there is no war or internal conflicts there-does not make them refugees.

Second,Greece referred to the EU and the IMF when it was apparent that the debt crisis could be solved by the Greek political leadership alone.The two institutions accepted to bear the cost of the debt,provided that Greece would take measures to avoid making further debts.And these measures included a decrease of the public sector (by ceasing to engage more public servants and by ceasing to create more useless public institutions),the facilitation of the private sector which is the on producing wealth,GNP and hereby taxes) and fighting corruption.Greece did the exactly opposite of this,culminating with the election of a bunch of icapable leftists to the government.Plus,these leftists attempted to play cheat with the European leaders.Therefore-and after having tolerated this behaviour for too long-the Europeans decided that enough is enough.Hence the border closing,the harsh economic measures and all the other things we see today.

Last but not least,it is inapprpriate to bring Israel as an example of "bullying".Israel faces an existential threat since its very (re)creation,but it plays fair with those who are fair with it.Israel doesn't cheat those countries which are fair allies to it,does not take lend money to give to corrupted polticians,does not elect inadequate politicians to govern it-and whenever a politician shows signs of corruption,justice takes over-several prime ministers and even a president have been indicted.

Yes,the EU is dead,but there are other reasons for this,not the behaviour of the EU towards the one of is members that has been the Union's bully for so long...

2016-03-11 7:22 am

Petros Diveris

First, I would like to ask you how you would "protect a border" of about 2,000 kilometres from refugees on dinghies, without actually shooting them.

Second, I would insist in reminding you that the "IMF and the EU" (you are wrong here, it's the IMF/ECB and Commission, aka the Troika) were called in to save Deutsche Bank and Crédit Agricole, not Greece.

Finally, the reference to Israel was specific, the Samson Doctrine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson_Option.

This article might also help you understand how I meant it.

I hope that helps.

ps: To call Greece a long time bully of the EU is preposterous and it clearly indicates that you talk out of a narrow and dogmatic viewpoint, and of prejudices not warranted by the situation. In the whole chain of events which bring the refugees from Aleppo to the outskirts of Berlin you chose to blame the Greeks. As if Greece started the war, or armed and funded the jihadists, or indeed pushed the refugees into the sea. What is your problem with Greece? And did you not realise that this piece is not about Greece, but about the self harm Europe is causing to itself? You profess to have an internationalist view and yet you can't see any further than the Greek political parties.

2016-03-14 10:31 pm

Leyla

I think that you are making a mistake here, which is identifying an institution such as the EU with those who are running it right now.
I agree with you that the policies pursued for the Greek crisis and now the migrants problem are ineffectual and even counterproductive, and I am deeply worried by the wave of right-wing populism in various countries in Europe. I even think that the European enlargement process has been pushed too far and too quiclky, which has contributed to the dilution and loss of some fundamental values upon which Europe was founded.
Nonetheless, I wouldn't go as far as to say that EU is dead, and I believe that its opposite, that is every country for itself, would be worse. It would mean the return to a logic of balance of powers in which weaker countries would be inevitably crushed. The fact itself that we still share supranational institutions and policy directions is preventing Europe from falling apart. I. e., as regards the migrant crisis, if EU was no more, how much time before all countries closed their borders and Greece (and Italy I would add) were really left alone to manage this problem? But the implications go far beyond that!
I believe that we should not act despite of EU, that in fact now more than ever we need to be united. No European country is strong enough to face today's problems and to survive the international arena alone.

2016-03-22 11:20 am

Petros Diveris

I want to believe that the strongest point I make is that we we need to save Europe, despite the EU. If the EU has become a conduit for a bankers' union, you and I still need to live, prosper and do marvels in this old country. Consequently, I think that the fact that each individual country could be even worse off if it wasn't for the EU (and that's quite a statement to make) doesn't mean either that the EU is a good thing, at least as it stands, or that it is not killing itself. The point I made is that the U has been taken out of the EU, as it started being increasingly about a currency, and inflation and a bank. Astonishingly it is only now that the EU, well, Europe, is turning political again, and it's doing it exactly as it shouldn't, gearing up for confrontation. My piece is not about Greece, is about the EU becoming a punitive and ugly institution, a clique of enforcers. As it happens the best example of that is exactly what the "union" is doing to Greece, but it could be any country for that matter; and I would be as incensed.

2016-03-22 8:12 pm