What Europe Is Really Celebrating


What Europe Is Really Celebrating

In March, Europe will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the document that started the project of European unity. The goals of the EU’s founding fathers are worth remembering.

On March 25, Europe marks a milestone—50 years since the signing of the Treaty of Rome. It may have been apparent to few at the time, but the signing of that treaty in that ancient city on March 25, 1957, laid the groundwork for what is yet to become the singular most dominant force in geopolitics this century, the European Union.

As Rodney Atkinson and Norris McWhirter pointed out in their book Treason at Maastricht, today’s EU looks uncannily similar to Hitler’s Europe.

It All Began in London

Just four years following Allied victory in Europe, the Treaty of London, signed by 10 Western European nations on May 5, 1949, brought the Council of Europe into existence. The signing of this treaty set a chain reaction in motion, leading ultimately to the monolithic, 27-nation European combine we know today. Yet it was to be the Rome treaty, signed eight years later, that would be traditionally looked upon as having spawned the post-war unification of Europe.

The paradox is that, though the Treaty of London laid the groundwork for what was to later become the European Union, the European Community that the treaty led toward establishing would never come to London for any other of its important meetings, let alone the signing of future treaties that would build the union into what it is today. In fact, for 24 years, uniting Europe would deny Britain entry into its fold. Then, upon its entry, Britain would become the thorn in Europe’s flesh.

The eight years following the creation of the Council of Europe were filled with frenetic European diplomacy, led primarily by France, supported by the three Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg). This diplomacy was aimed at creating a European order that would constrain Germany in such a fashion as to never permit a repetition of Germany’s aggression against a neighboring country such as occurred in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871 and the world wars of 1914 and 1939.

On May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman presented a declaration to the Council for closer cooperation among European nations. It was based on a simple idea proposed by French political economist Jean Monnet: that only by binding Germany into an agreement where its heavy industry was controlled in a manner so as to limit its potential to rearm could lasting peace be obtained in Europe.

From London to Rome

Monnet’s thesis was published on May 9, 1950, and presented by Schuman on that day. What then became known as the Schuman Plan proposed joint control of Western European coal and steel production, the most important materials for the armaments industry.

The German chancellor at the time, Konrad Adenauer, seeing the Schuman Plan as a viable means to hasten Germany’s post-war reconstruction, readily agreed to the proposal. This opened the way, less than a year later, on April 18, 1951, for the birth of the European Coal and Steel Community (ecsc).

By signing this treaty, six nations—Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux nations—placed control of coal and iron ore under their joint management, so none could individually exploit these resources for the manufacture of weapons of war. There followed six years of continuing diplomacy among these six nations, significantly led by France and Germany. These efforts created a common market, known as the European Economic Community (eec). Signed in Rome on March 25, 1957, the eec Treaty, known as the Treaty of Rome, brought the six ecsc countries into a community whose aim would be to use trade, not war, to weld together a European community.

What was not publicized widely was the ultimate aim of the union’s founding fathers to take this trading combine into a final phase that would unite Europe economically, monetarily, industrially, politically and, finally, militarily. In point of fact, their goal in uniting Europe was imperialistic from the beginning. In his 1950 speech, Schuman declared that “Europe will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan,” and the ecsc was the “first step in the federation of Europe.”

That goal was to remain largely hidden for the following 30 years under the mask of common trade interests. However, beneath the surface, certain influences were at play that would emerge, after Germany unified on Oct. 3, 1990, to power this seemingly innocuous trading bloc forward to fulfill the old German dream of European hegemony as a platform for future global dominance.

From Rome to Maastricht

It may be said that the spiritual birth of the European Union as a social and political system took place in Rome at that signing of that treaty 50 years ago. The following year saw the establishment of the bureaucracy that would eventually produce 80,000 pages of rules and regulations as the expanding, reviving European empire grew into one of the most formidably regulated economies in history. Foremost among the entities that originated with the 1951 and 1957 treaties were the eec,euratom (to develop atomic energy policies), the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice, the European Investment Bank and the European Monetary Agreement.

From 1957 to 1969, the eec concentrated on economic growth. The postwar period to the early 1960s became known as the wirtschaftswunder, the economic miracle by which free West Germany powered its way back from the ashes of World War ii to become the leading economy in Western Europe.

As the geopolitical freeze of the Cold War deepened, the contrast between East Germany’s lackluster command economy and the markedly glitzy capitalistic West Germany was too much to contain a drift of population from east to west. In 1961 communist East Germany created the physical divide of the Berlin Wall to lock out east from west at the border between the two in Berlin.

Through the 1960s and ’70s, West Germany suffered with the rest of the West in the great social upheavals of that time. Extremist terror groups motivated by Marxist/Leninist initiatives in France, Italy and Germany mounted a struggle against “state imperialism.” Yet still, economic growth in the eec member nations remained comparatively robust, in particular within West Germany, which had become the economic engine of Western Europe.

Having concentrated on economic growth in the period from its creation in 1957 through to 1970, the eec switched its sights to community enlargement during the ’70s and ’80s. In the 1970s, the eec opened its doors to Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom. In 1981 Greece joined, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986. That same year, eec members signed the first major amendments to the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act, ratified on July 1, 1987.

Enlargement—Building the Eastern Leg

The Single European Act was mainly an effort to hasten European integration. It amended the rules governing the operation of the main European institutions and expanded eec powers, paving the way for a common foreign policy.

The true nature of the beast was finally emerging. Far from remaining true to its roots as a simple trading entity, the ultimate political aspirations of the founders of the EU were beginning to come into view. The eec was evolving into a political power.

In the meantime, Rome had been busy. A polish pope, John Paul ii, had joined forces with conservative U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, and a similarly conservative British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, and with the combined efforts of four security services—the cia, Britain’s mi5, the German bnd, and the Vatican’s Jesuits—succeeded in splitting the Soviet Union apart using a Polish trade union organization, Solidarity, as a front for their covert, anti-Soviet activities.

The collapse of communism across Central and Eastern Europe, beginning in Poland and later symbolized by the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, resulted in Germany’s unification, ending more than 40 years of geographic and political division of that country. By October 1990, East Germany was part of the EU. The old Cold War hiatus began to give way to a new aggressive extension of the EU’s borders eastward, ultimately clear up to the great Ukraine Plain.

This expansion accelerated when Germany and the Vatican caused the Balkan Wars of the 1990s by recognizing Slovenia and Croatia as sovereign nations separate from greater Yugoslavia.

In the meantime, the eec, under pressure from Germany, trotted out a series of treaties in quick succession, giving further force and weight to the true political motives of the creators and developers of this rising European empire.

The treaty of European Union, known as the Maastricht Treaty, was signed in Maastricht, Netherlands, on Feb. 7, 1992, by all eec members. The principle changes to the Treaty of Rome were a name change from eec to the European Community (EC), and agreement on cooperation in matters of defense, justice and home security. This was the European Union Treaty. Ever since, the old eec has become known as the European Union, a name that, without the term “economic,” has a much more political ring to it.

All of a sudden the innocuous eec had three pillars underpinning its future integration: economics, politics and now defense.