Europe’s Center Shifting From Brussels to Berlin
Since its inception in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community, evolving over time into the European Communities, then into the current 25-nation European Union, the rising European empire has had, as its administrative capital, the city of Brussels, Belgium.
Brussels has been where the Eurocrats have focused their vast bureaucracy, in a huge glass-faced office complex, producing well over 80,000 pages of rules and regulations for EU member states, known as the acquis communautaire. But as the pace of European integration picks up in the 21st century, has Brussels outlived its usefulness?
In respect of future EU policy formulation, Germany’s ambassador to the EU, Wilhelm Schönfelder, has foreshadowed a definite shift from Brussels to Berlin to short-circuit the grindingly slow Brussels bureaucratic process within the EU. Focusing on Germany’s desire to fast-track agreement by EU member nations on a European constitution, Schönfelder declared, “We will keep it out of the Brussels machinery,” because otherwise “you will never come up with a solution.”
In January, Germany takes on the rotational six-month presidency of the EU. Foreshadowing this, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, notwithstanding the internal squabbling and party-political bickering of her unwieldy coalition government, has already taken a strong stand on the most burning yet elusive of issues involving the consolidation of EU power. Back in October, her government issued a paper establishing Germany’s priorities during its EU presidency, warning against further expanding the Union before adopting a constitution—with one singular exception. “Following the addition of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU can only take on additional European states if the EU constitution and institutional reforms have been realized,” the paper said. “An exception to this rule can only be made for Croatia.”
These sentiments were endorsed last week at an EU summit. There, leaders approved Romania and Bulgaria’s acceptance as EU members on January 1, meaning the Union now has 27 member nations incorporating 485 million people. Interestingly, negotiations over Turkey’s accession were frozen. “We cannot admit every nation that seeks to join,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told told reporters after the summit.
The rules for entry into this largely Catholic European club will, in future, be far stiffer, even prohibitive, for aspiring members. Bloomberg.com reported, “EU leaders captured the anti-expansion sentiment by demanding ‘strict conditionality’ in all future entry talks and vowing to ‘take into account the capacity of the Union to absorb new members,’ according a post-summit statement.”
It is worth noting that the one exception to this is the nation that so willingly supported Nazi Germany 60 years ago—a nation that has proven a most able pawn, in more recent times, in Germany’s great game to draw the Balkan Peninsula into the EU maw: Croatia.
What is particularly intriguing, as the EU contemplates structural change to refine its present unwieldy bureaucratic top-heaviness, is a declarative statement made by Schönfelder in his recent public remarks anticipating Germany’s taking the EU helm in January. Schönfelder declared that it would be the intention of the EU’s German presidency to deliberately sideline EU institutions (which his country has previously endorsed as a means to oversee the federalization of Europe), to ensure a fast-track approach to agreement on a European constitution.
Schönfelder claimed, in the words of EUobserver.com, that Germany “will try and avoid the Council, Commission and Parliament in Brussels to speed up negotiations on the constitution, currently in limbo after being rejected by French and Dutch voters last year.” So much for any hint of realdemocracy in this very Germanic approach to railroading a European Constitution that has simply proven most unpopular with the European public.
Over the years, we have become used to seeing Brussels impose undemocratic regulations, by most undemocratic means, on member states of the EU, with no mind to public opinion. But what Schönfelder proposes is worse—far worse! When even that undemocratic machinery of Brussels (largely a creation of German federalist thought) becomes unacceptable to its creator, watch out for the emerging monster!
“Germany is intending to appoint two ‘sherpas’—one from the chancellery and one from the foreign ministry—to sound out [read to strongly influence] opinions in member states during the first couple of months of next year. Berlin will then draw up a three-part report” (ibid.).
To quote Schönfelder, the first part of that report will analyze the current situation in the EU, which is “in crisis.” That is truly interesting. British political economist Rodney Atkinson has often pointed to the uniqueness of the German mind, which has a tendency to create a “crisis,” then to develop a plan to solve that “crisis”—in Germany’s favor. We would therefore expect that the following parts of this future report—to be issued in a time of “crisis”—would set out Germany’s solution to that perceived “crisis.”
And so, according to Schönfelder, it will. EUobserver reports, “[T]he second part will consist of substance and a third of procedure and timetable.”
As history has too often proven, when the German juggernaut gets rolling, nothing but nothing stands in its way—certainly not the democratic wish of the public.
Schönfelder’s aggressive assertions follow closely after the latest repudiation by an EU member state of the EU monolith disregarding public will. In his article “The EU—A New Weimar Republic,” Rodney Atkinson refers to reports that the recent Dutch general election revealed big gains for three anti-European Union parties. “The two issues which have driven the Dutch voters away from the Establishment parties were the European Union and mass immigration,” he wrote. The Dutch people’s support has been diffused so much that the two main parties, the Dutch Labor and Christian Democrats, “cannot together form a majority in the Dutch Parliament” (November 24, emphasis ours throughout). The same is true in Britain, where Conservative and Labor parties have hemorrhaged public support.
Pointing to the EU future of Britain and the Netherlands, Atkinson declares, “We all know the reasons why both countries are heading toward a kind of Weimar Republic with all the dangers of extreme parties coming to power and the country, in the words of the Dutch Premier Mr. Balkenende, becoming ungovernable. The EU has made elections meaningless since all the power now resides with unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and the unelected European Court of Justice. …
“If anyone had set out to bring back the Weimar Republic and the prospects of another rise in fascism and Nazism, it is the Eurofederalist buffoons of the European superstate. Holland and France have awoken to their scheme and rejected it. The British people never subscribed to it. But since when did the new fascism in Brussels give one thought to democratic accountability? That is precisely why the only way out is an almighty explosion!” (ibid.).
With Schönfelder’s announcement of Germany on the verge of seizing the reins of the EU with the declared intent of blitzkrieging member nations into agreement on a federal constitution, that explosion may be about to be triggered. Germany’s approach will definitely spark a reaction from anti-EU forces on the rise within the continent of Europe and offshore within the British Isles.
We are witnessing a transfer of the power center of the EU from its capital of the past 50 years, Brussels, to that reviving capital of the German Empire, Berlin!
The Trumpet’s long-time readers well know that Herbert Armstrong predicted that the EU would rise to the peak of its power stimulated by a great crisis. He referred periodically to the prophecy contained in Revelation 17:12, which indicates that this presently unwieldy European combine of soon-to-be 27 nations will eventually be consolidated into 10 primary nations or groups of nations under 10 leaders subservient to one supreme political leader and one dominant spiritual leader. We must watch Europe very closely for more evidence of this developing probability—for Scripture foretells that it will lead to the ruin of Britain and the United States. Mr. Armstrong explained this in depth in his book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
But that’s the bad news that just precedes the greatest news ever! As Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry declares, “This is not a hopeless message! It is a message filled with hope. This end-time crisis of all crises is leading directly to the return of Christ. We are about to see this planet literally explode in prosperity and joy” (The Lion Has Roared).