A European union or yet another empire?

Adrian Hill, a former soldier and diplomat, continues his series on leaked German military reports casting doubt on the future of the EU ‘project’, featured in Der Spiegel. Disclaimer: At times we publish the views of our members. This article is not an official Veterans for Britain paper and does not necessarily reflect the view of Veterans for Britain.

‘He who defends everything, defends nothing.’

Frederick the Great


According to Der Spiegel, ironically, the Germany Army report speculates that one day the Poles and Baltic states might throw in their lot with Russia. The planners also worry that the Hungarians and the Balkans might do the same in protest against a European Union run by Germany and France. Keep in mind, as an old friend and onetime very senior German intelligence official explained to me one evening over supper at our home, that our membership of the European Union made Franco-German rule more acceptable for the rest. That was not a sufficiently good reason, I observed reasonably, for us British to stay and, besides, millions of us including my wife and I had voted to leave. Yet one could argue that the present situation in Poland suggests the reverse of the planners’ fears is happening. Whether it’s through buying gas or investing in Baltic pipelines and Siberian car factories, Germany seems the country with the closest economic relationship with Russia. During his lecture, General Carter mentioned the importance of reducing our dependency on Russia for energy. Far from diplomatic flirting with the Russian bear, Poland and the Baltic states appear glad to have NATO troops and supersonic fighters based in their countries while some in neutral Sweden even think of moving closer to NATO. As for the former Balkan Soviet satellites, RAF Typhoon fighters are based in Romania on rotation and last spring HMS Daring joined exercises in the Black Sea. Though only token deployments, they are welcomed. Are the Eastern Europeans ready to hand over their protection from Russia to Putin’s telephone friend, Angela Merkel?

After reading Der Spiegel and then comparing its report with the reactions of German friends, then comparing the speeches of Sigmar Gabriel and Martin Schultz, Angela Merkel’s speech at Davos, one spots a pattern. Many ordinary Germans are concerned because they know that our departure from the European Union opens a window of opportunity for Merkel and her allies. She declared recently that they must have the courage to finish the business. German friends recognise that the British never had much influence within the European Union other than perhaps to delay the inevitable. Yet they are not at ease, don’t know how they can turn the ship around, confess they envy the British who had the courage to say no thanks, we’re leaving, now, before it’s too late.

Over the last eighteen months but particularly since the German election there have been plenty of signals about the future of the Europe. My own forecast is to expect a gradual disengagement from NATO by the European Union countries led by Germany until eventually that leads to a Russo-German pact draped with a European Union banner. Negotiating such a pact may take longer than Angela Merkel’s latest Chancellorship – if that lasts through this spring. German political leaders may genuinely believe that under their management the new European Union super state ought to be able to pull off a diplomatic coup that brings peace to Eastern Europe including the Baltic and Balkan satellite economies, moreover, a peace deal that removes all threats from Russia. Such a deal could safeguard Germany’s considerable investments in Russia, above all cost far less than another Cold War arms race, or God forbid, another European war. The latter fear makes it much easier to sell a pact to uneasy German voters. Putin, of course, wants to split NATO and part of any deal will include a demand that the European Union lifts all sanctions. As part of a new ‘ peace dividend ’ almost inevitably our troops would swap Paderborn for Salisbury Plain. The Americans would also be asked to depart from the soil of the European Union. The obvious price for this would be that Russia gives back the Kalingrad enclave and Germany regains Konigsberg and whatever is left of the Masurian Lakes in that portion of East Prussia. This might prove a master stroke but it could also be the match that lights the gunpowder. As Digby Jones pointed out the other day, while we focus on smoothing trade in goods and services, the Germans and the European Union seek political gains for which they are prepared to make economic sacrifices. May I suggest that there might be other sacrifices for which they have made no allowance – despite thinking they have.

Lifting sanctions is the high value card and it’s held by Angela Merkel as she pursues rapprochement with Putin. He’s not an easy neighbour and any deal with him will be tricky to police. Along the Russian marches some countries worry, they could pay a steep price for diplomatic and defence incompetence in Brussels – as has Ukraine already. There’s also the danger of tensions to come as remarked by General Sir Nick Carter in his lecture – Estonia, Georgia and Moldavia, Poles, the other Baltics and Balkans, any one of them could be next. As history goes they’ve only just emerged from fifty years of tyranny and still the Russian’s meddle, even in tiny states far away from their frontier like the northern half of Macedonia. Personally I rather doubt that ordinary people throughout the former Warsaw Pact countries would trust their first violent occupiers to save them from the second ones. Poles know reality. From the mass graves in Katyn Forest to the Warsaw Pact maps in Polish for the invasion and occupation of Britain that are on sale in London – the Poles were going to occupy us for the Russians – they have seen what happens when you have no friends within reach. Some of the more privileged have swallowed the European Union lexicon. I have been lectured by the wife of a Polish ambassador that Angela Merkel saves Poland from Russia, that the British like the Swiss have no experience of war. I asked the lady if she knew that my country declared war on the Germans three days after hers was invaded by them on the 1 September 1939. She looked puzzled.

Listening to Sigmar Gabriel one pictures a Continent where the only independent democracy is Switzerland, a target because of its independent law, independent politics, independent trade and independent Swiss Franc. Stealing the Swissie would pay for countless European Union junkets. Since then we have had the Merkel speech in Davos hinting at a European Union foreign policy as a counter to the protectionists – the United States, us and the Commonwealth, and many others – blandly ignoring that she spoke for the largest Zollvereign on the planet. Given the latest exposure of the German trade surplus I found her remarks about trade protection plain hypocrisy; but what she said obliquely about Russia ( rather than Donald Trump ) was very revealing, ‘ Since the Roman Empire and the Chinese Wall, we know that simple isolation does not help in securing borders and a good cooperation with neighbours is needed.’ Merkel went on to explain that this includes deals with neighbours such as the European Union-Turkey migration deal that she brokered. Expect further diplomacy towards better relations with Moscow and perhaps eventually leading to that camouflaged pact. Because, should the European Union have its way, all the other ancient states – including our islands if the fully brainwashed remainers have their way as well – would become satellites, controlled through Brussels, but European Union branch plants of the German economic and political sun.

Adrian Hill