Winners and Losers
The headlines varied greatly, depending on which country’s newspapers one elected to read, following the recent European summit in Nice, France (Dec. 7-11, 2000): “Member States Concede Minimum”; “Britain Sold Out at Nice”; “Europe Takes a Step Backwards”; “Germany the Stronger.”
What really did happen behind those closed doors in this old French town over the five days of exhausting negotiations between member nations of the European Union? Well, it seems that one nation came out the winner, on all counts, by far.
The two major initiatives that the Nice conference addressed, those that will have chief impact on the future of the European Union, “will be based on two ideas which were originally very German,” in the words of one German diplomat. The first was to draw up a European constitution in 2004; the second was to have the hard core (known as “enhanced cooperation”) of states centered around Germany.
As the European Foundation Intelligence Digest, a publication providing incisive commentary and analysis on the stories making the headlines across Europe, reported, “Much of the European press agreed that Nice has led to the strengthening of German power within Europe. Although Germany retains the same number of votes in the Council as France, Britain and Italy, she now becomes the only country which can block a decision by allying herself with two other big countries, on the basis of a double-majority system based on population. Britain, France and Italy cannot achieve the blocking majority on their own, while Germany can with two of them” (Dec. 1-14, 2000).
This emerged as a masterstroke of German genius. The “double majority” agreement effectively gives Germany, in concert with only two of the “enhanced cooperation” EU nations, sole power to block any future EU policies with which it does not agree. Although the big five, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Britain, all enjoyed having their vote within the EU increased by 30 percent, Germany’s extra voting power comes about by virtue of possessing the largest population within the Union.
“In future, EU law must be approved not only by a qualified majority in the Council of Ministers (as before, albeit with new numbers for an enlarged EU) but also by states representing 62 percent of the population of the EU. It is here that Germany wins because she has 20 million more people than the next biggest countries” (ibid.).
In the words of the Commissioner for European Communities, Romano Prodi, “You can say what you like but in the end water finds its own level. It just takes patience” (bbc News, Dec. 11, 2000). That level has now been found. Though Britain, up to the time of the Nice summit, was protected by its veto power from accepting EU resolutions which it did not support, that country can now be outvoted on every count by only two of the other “big five” EU nations voting, with Germany, against it.
The European Foundation recalled that “This German pre-eminence was the sine que non [indispensable condition] for enlargement, which is largely a German-organized operation, taking in as it does the old German satellites of Central Europe” (European Foundation, op. cit.). It went on to say that “The Germans’ success is, according to the German press, thanks to psychological warfare waged successfully by the chancellor and his foreign minister.”
This most recent EU summit has been described as the longest, most rancorous and contentious in EU history. It has certainly been a watershed. It will simply set the balance of power in this wealthy trading bloc for years to come, moving the EU one more step closer to the “superstate” feared by Euroskeptics, especially in Britain.
Reflecting a new mood of “Germanophobia” in the wake of the summit, the Paris daily Liberacion wrote, “German power has never been more glaring.”
Yet the socialist prime minister of France, Lionel Jospin, threw his weight behind the process being created by the Brussels bureaucrats. Stating, upon signing the charter on the first day of the summit, that he was ready to support the German-initiated EU Charter of Human Rights being written into law, he declared, “The first step has been taken at Nice; there will be more” (Reuters World Report, Dec. 7, 2000).
Yes, there will be more. Watch 2004. Watch for the eastward expansion of the EU to extend out from its fulcrum in Berlin to Eastern and southeastern Europe and into the Mediterranean. Watch for the “eastern leg” of this resurrecting old Holy Roman Empire, under the aegis of the European Union, to be consolidated at the next EU summit in 2004. Watch for the EU Charter of Human Rights to be signed into law in EU member countries in 2004. Watch between now and the next EU summit for the EU to launch its new military force, with a command and control function destined to be separate from nato. Watch for the balance of power to shift from the old Atlantic alliance, and Britain, the U.S. and nato frozen out of Europe by a new alliance between the EU and Russia.
Following in the footsteps of our founder, Herbert W. Armstrong, we have consistently declared, as he did for well over 50 years, that the European Union is a Vatican-German initiative to resurrect the power of the ancient Holy Roman Empire. Even secular journalists and some deep-thinking foreign affairs analysts are starting to see that.