Balkans EU Move on Expansion a New Level of Panic by Brussels

The hypocrisy is outstanding. Especially from MEPs who have a voice and can talk about the problems in countries which are more or less ruled by the mob.

When the EU starts to panic, it reaches out in a feral manner for bigger ideas. The EU army, although an idea which has been flogged to death, is still buzzing around like a fly looking for a turd to land on. But one other idea which eurocrats cling to when a real political calamity starts to cast a shadow over Brussels is expansion. During October there was much talk about ushering in a new wave of candidate countries from the Balkans, as the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, personally promises to help these countries enter the EU club.

Yet there can never be anything in Brussels more idiotic and disingenuous than this idea that the more members that the EU has, the taller it stands around the world. In 2004, the EU expanded from 15 member states to 25 as Eastern European countries, as well as Cyprus and Malta, joined – a move which Romano Prodi, the EU Commission president personally took the credit for as the crowning moment of his five-year term in office. He explained to me in an interview then how important it was, but in reality what I sensed was that EU expansion was all about keeping senior EU officials happy, as it calmed there tormented brows and gave them new tasks, objectives and a whole new ‘raison d’être’.

Yet expansion is really just self-indulgent nonsense. In 2004, when a wave of Eastern European, former Soviet bloc countries joined, some EU mandarins confided to journalists like me that it was also a very good way to rebalancing the EU, so that the old ‘Franco-German axis’ could be dissolved. In fact, nothing of the sort ever happened as the power struggle between these two EU giants and founding members of the EU has been resolved by Germany simply taking all the power and letting France believe that it is a much respected deputy in the decision making process and big thinking.

Macron himself welcomes the idea of Balkan countries joining as it will swell the ranks and make him look bigger as he plays the role of unpaid EU President.

But the reality of poorer, backward eastern countries joining the EU is that a darker ‘edge of Europe’ syndrome actually threatens the EU project with corruption, organised crime and the Muslim contingent all playing a role in giving far right groups a larger slice of the electoral cake.

The hypocrisy is outstanding. Especially from MEPs who have a voice and can talk about the problems in countries which are more or less ruled by the mob.

Romania and Bulgaria are both countries which have broken the mould on corruption, particularly in their judiciary systems. In Romania’s case, its elite promised to do something about graft to appease some EU officials’ worries. The result was simply the farcical creation of waves of anti-corruption agencies leading one top journalist in Bucharest to tell me that “we have so much anti-corruption activities now that we can more or less bottle this shit and sell it to the rest of the world, thanks to the EU”.

Balkan countries joining the EU will be the final blow for the EU, in reality. What we have learnt about Romania and Bulgaria joining is that the old idea banded about in Brussels that “we need to get them here in Brussels as members, then we can work on their governance deficit” which was a narrative I heard over and over again when I was based in the Belgian capital, is folly.

The idea that Albania is going to embrace the EU’s model of democracy and adopt literally thousands of EU directives on everything from workers’ rights to the length of car windscreen wipers is of course far-fetched. Or environmental legislation. Or women’s rights. The list is endless. Or that North Macedonia is going to become an EU utopia and tell those naughty mafia gangs to stop raking in billions from nice EU taxpayers who want to save money and buy fake cigarettes from a business which eclipses the national debt.

Like so many of the European Commission president’s ideas, this one is really crackers but it’s one which MEPs and member states will allow her to cradle. In the meantime, just as Turkey’s membership bid to join the EU was shot down by France and Germany, whose political elites didn’t like the immigration implications, the EU commission itself will work its dark magic internally to remind the German EU boss that if these Balkan countries are let in, then for the first time ever in the history of the EU, the institutions in Brussels would have to welcome and integrate thousands of Muslims in the EU bodies themselves and begin to look at the Muslim element in almost everything the EU does. The grey-haired, obscure, middle-aged Masons who really run the EU, will put their foot down at some point and no doubt use the criminal argument and the need for the “accession process” to be taken on board first. But this idea by VDL herself gives an indication about just how much of a crisis the EU is in, if it can stoop this low just for a few press releases and video handout footage to the call centre journalists in Brussels. With Poland grabbing the headlines in recent weeks about the very real possibility of following Britain in leaving the EU, it’s hardly surprising that this sort of PR stunts are presented to the media. In Brussels, they are, after all, practically on the payroll.

By Martin Jay
Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

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