The EU and the Irish

Peter Muhly/AFP/Getty Images

The EU and the Irish

The Irish have done it again. For the second time in seven years they have rejected an EU treaty. Will this be the end of the EU’s drive for federation?

It was the celebrated Irish poet and politician W.B. Yeats who penned the words, “Cast your mind on other days/ That we in coming days may be/ Still the indomitable Irishry.”

Yeats, a celebrated Irish nationalist in his latter days, would no doubt applaud the Irish voting no last week to their country signing up to the undemocratic European reform treaty/constitution, otherwise known as the Lisbon Treaty.

Having written into the Lisbon Treaty that all 27 member nations must agree to it before it can be formally ratified, EU leaders now find they are having to dig themselves out of a hole of their own making. Whichever way you slice the cake, the EU reform treaty/constitution ought to be now dead in the water. But that’s not how this most undemocratic institution, the European Union, operates.

In a great piece of doublespeak, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowan on the one hand declared that the vote of the people is sovereign and must be respected, while on the other he immediately assured the European Commission that Ireland in no way intended that this clear majority vote against the treaty, achieved by the democratic process of a referendum, stop the EU treaty ratification process.

Let’s be clear on just what a resounding defeat for the EU this Irish vote was. Only 10 out of 43 Irish constituencies voted in favor of the Lisbon Treaty!

“A majority of Irish people—53.4 percent—voted against the EU’s Lisbon treaty in Thursday’s referendum, while 46.6 percent voted in favor, according to final results released Friday (13 June). Participation was at 53.13 percent ” (EUobserver, June 13).

Now, there’s some interesting math in this whole equation.

Consider the following. “In 2001, voter turnout for Ireland’s shock rejection of the Nice Treaty was 34.8 percent. The following year, when about half a million more people voted and turnout was 48.5 percent, the Nice Treaty was accepted” (ibid.). Yet, compared with both these previous attempts to sway the Irish toward the EU’s will, last week an increased percentage of Irish voters again voted no!

The increase in voter turnout from 34.8 percent in 2001 to 53.13 percent this year would seem to indicate that there’s been about a 20 percent increase in the number of people interested in Ireland’s relationship with the EU and that an increased majority have voted for EU involvement in their nation’s affairs to be reduced, if not curtailed.

But the Irish prime minister is having none of that. Neither are the leaders of the prime movers and shakers in the EU! Deutsche Welle headlined an item, “Germany Criticized for Arrogant Reaction to Irish Vote,” reporting that “Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said he was alarmed at the reaction of large EU countries, particularly Germany, to Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty” (June 17). Stratfor commented, “After the news broke that Irish voters failed to ratify the treaty, Paris and Berlin issued a joint statement saying that the ratification process, so far completed by 18 of the EU’s 27 countries, should continue regardless of the Irish veto. Going ahead with ratification will put pressure on Ireland to hold a second referendum, as happened in 2001 when the Irish public voted against the Treaty of Nice but accepted it the second time” (June 16).

Yet, there is an emerging voice within EU ranks dissenting with this approach. The Irish, the French and the Dutch electorates have all, in the past, had a turn at saying no to certain EU efforts to eliminate their national sovereignty. The British electorate has clamored for a referendum on the EU reform treaty, only to be denied by their government which fears a no vote would be the result. Both Denmark and the Czech Republic are in the same position as Britain.

In an effort to explore options before the convening of an EU summit called for Thursday and Friday this week, EU foreign ministers wasted no time huddling in Brussels on Monday. Early indications are that a compromise deal is being thrashed out in a vein similar to that which helped swing the 2002 Irish vote from no to yes.

The Financial Times indicated that discussions centered on “explanatory protocols” being appended to the treaty that would give opt-outs to the Irish on issues of key concern—setting its own national tax rates, the nation’s neutrality status, and the Irish government’s abortion policy.

On current indications, the leaders of the 27 member nations of the EU will, when they meet, decide in favor of continuing to push for the assent of the other 26 EU members to the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty (18 have already signed up), while offering Ireland, the 27th, the opportunity to rethink its position in preparation for a re-run of their latest referendum. If this does proceed, stand by for the coffers of Brussels to open up and flood the Irish government with euros to help brainwash the Irish into a pro-treaty mindset via a huge propaganda campaign.

But, whichever course of action the EU leaders decide on at this week’s summit, one thing is for sure. The Irish have opened a can of worms. The outcome of the Irish referendum has revealed deep divisions among the leading EU member nations.

Clashing French and German Goals

Europe is moving into deep crisis. It is a crisis such as the Continent has not experienced since the signing of the Treaty of Rome brought it into existence over half a century ago. In fact, it is a crisis that may even begin the long-awaited reorganization of the monolithic EU into the 10 distinct regions that it is ultimately destined to reflect (Revelation 17:12).

On July 1, France will assume the revolving semi-annual presidency of the EU. This will bring to the head of the table France’s controversial leader, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy has an agenda. That agenda, although having certain issues in common, in others differs significantly from that of the EU’S leading nation, Germany. The next six months could prove a rocky ride for Franco/German relations. As Stratfor points out, “Ultimately France calculates that Europe’s return to national sovereignty over EU-style federalism will strengthen Paris’ hand on the Continent, while a strong, centralized EU would favor German interests and restrain Paris” (op. cit.).

Progress toward a “strong centralized EU” in sync with the overall German plan has been a central reality to the development of the European Union since its inception. Since the reunification of Germany, that nation has regularly bullied its fellow EU member states into submitting to the German agenda for the expansion of the EU and for the increasing centralization of its governance. Now, in the present climate of confusion created by the Irish no vote, there is a feeling that Sarkozy will take advantage of deepening divisions among EU member nations to move the EU away from Germany’s goal of increasing centralization of administration to a situation where individual national sovereignty can be reasserted by EU member nations.

Sarkozy has two prime items on his agenda. Both are motivated by a fear of increasing domination of the EU by Germany: EU reorganization, and European defense.

Concerning the latter, a little history helps to understand the unfolding drama.

After World War ii, the Allies decided to demilitarize Germany permanently. But the outbreak of the Cold War led to fear of Soviet incursion into Western Europe. The Western Allies then proposed the formation of a European Defense Community in 1954. The French scuppered the idea. Ultimately French President Charles de Gaulle withdrew France from nato, electing to pursue an independent national defense agenda in 1968, complete with a force de frappe involving nuclear armaments.

Anglo-Americans, proving either short on memory or low on foresight—perhaps both—then broke their resolution for the permanent demilitarization of Germany, a nation that had instigated war in Europe on three separate occasions in less than 70 years. They drew Germany into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and in 1955 began rearming the nation. The first secretary-general of nato, Lord Ismay, succinctly summed up the Anglo-American approach to nato by stating that it was designed “to keep America in, to keep Russia out and to keep Germany down.”

That thinking is now passé. Stand by for a sea change in European defense strategy.

The French are about to rejoin nato.

High on President Sarkozy’s priorities for the year is his offer to join nato. Why the change of heart? There can be only one clear reason. Germany, as we have pointed out in recent articles, is intent on dominating nato. France can ill afford for the nation that has invaded it three times in a lifetime to have any degree of a controlling interest in any military force in which it has no say. Sarkozy is racing to make up ground to match Germany’s nato strategy as the United States, its military machine stretched to the limit globally, seeks further drawdowns of its remaining forces in Europe, and a greater handover of responsibility to the EU connection within nato.

European defense will figure high on the to-do list as France assumes the EU presidency in July. This will pit French and German military aspirations against each other. Sparks could fly.

The other main agenda item that President Sarkozy will pursue—not without support from those nations whose constituencies react negatively to rule by Brussels—is the reorganization of the EU.

Stratfor hits the nail on the head on this one. “The European Union has descended into an identity crisis since Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty, the bloc’s latest attempt at a governing treaty, June 12. France and Germany, the Union’s strongest pillars, have issued official statements in unison about their disappointment and desire to push forward with the treaty ratification process. But these official statements belie the fact that the French have been rattled to the core by the treaty’s failure and are preparing to redefine the entire EU when they take over the bloc’s rotating presidency July 1” (ibid.; emphasis mine).

That’s a tall order for the French president to take on. Yet if ever there was a climate ripe for those EU nations fearing total loss of their national sovereignty to strike back, it has to be now. As Stratfor observes, “In essence, France believes it will benefit from the failure of EU integration and consolidation. A reversion back to individual states’ sovereignty will free Paris up to seek its own ends through its preferred means, while the tighter and more centralized EU imagined in the Lisbon Treaty ultimately would have constrained Paris to a model that benefited the Germans most” (ibid.). But that has been the German plan all along. The whole EU model is at heart a German-shaped idea. For Sarkozy and for those whom he can muster to his support during his tenure as EU president, it’s now or never.

Pitting France and its fellow camp followers against Germany will create a considerable crisis in the European Union. What Sarkozy fails to realize is there is only one nation that stands to become the chief benefactor of that crisis: Germany.

Now it just so happens that there is also more than a hint of coming crisis within Germany itself. In Germany, both capital and labor are suffering due to the developing global economic crisis. There are signs of rebellion in Chancellor Merkel’s shaky coalition government with her junior partner, the Christian Democratic Union, threatening to withdraw and force an election. Walking close behind Merkel is Germany’s foreign minister and vice chancellor, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. He would be delighted to take over her job.

As we know, the German mind hates disjunction and disorganization. It is a mind that cleverly thrives on a crisis by using it to create its own form of Teutonic order out of chaos, and imposing its own solution. The French mentality is no match for that of the German in such a situation. Sarkozy will not be the winner in the coming turmoil of France’s six-month presidency of the EU.

The scene is set for ructions within Europe through the second half of the year. And it will all have catalyzed as a result of the Irish having once again proven to be, in Yeats’s terms, very, and indomitably, “Irishry”!

Read our booklet Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany for more information on this subject.