Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself

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Written by Diana Johnstone; Originally appeared Global Research

The French capitalist elite that sponsored Macron’s meteoric rise is acutely aware that the European Union is in serious trouble. They chose Emmanuel Macron to save it. His success or failure depends on whether he can persuade the rest of the EU, notably Germany, to let it be saved.

Macron’s Mission: Save the European Union From Itself

Source: express.co.uk

In Trouble Politically

The EU is in serious trouble politically, because the elites love it, and ordinary people do not. A poll published June 20 by the Chatham House Royal Institute of international affairs found a “simmering discontent” with the EU among ordinary Europeans. Over 70% of people classified as decision-makers and opinion influencers – leading politicians, journalists, CEOs and leaders of major civil society organizations such as university presidents– welcomed European integration as beneficial, whereas only 34% of ordinary citizens agreed. On immigration, 57% of the elite consider immigration good for their country compared to 34% of the rest of the population. In short, the “decision-makers and opinion influencers” agree with the decisions they have been making and the opinions they have been advocating, while most other people are not convinced.

This is scarcely surprising since for over half a century the elites “who know what is best for the people” have been forcing European integration down their throats, with massive propaganda to justify major binding decisions taken without consulting the people (or, when the people are consulted, the result is ignored). Member States’ democratic procedures were essentially nullified over half a century ago by the unelected European Court of Justice when it ruled that European laws prevailed over national laws. The vast majority of Europeans were not even aware of how their democracy was being overruled and made obsolete. “Europe” meant escape from the bad past and the promise of a beautiful future of peace and prosperity. The elites saw to it that the real existing “Europe” is based on two principles: “free movement” of everything and absolute respect for “competition”. Presented as the apex of European values, these principles are neither moral nor democratic.  They simply give all power to international financial capital.

In Trouble Economically

The elites have long been able to live comfortably with popular discontent. But economic troubles threaten to wreck the whole setup. Throwing together countries with deeply rooted differences in social philosophy and practice, binding them together with a common currency and rules that prohibit adaptation, does not work. As the spearhead of globalization, Europe’s dogmatic enforcement of both competition and “free movement” of goods and capital is enabling foreign capital – Chinese, Qatari, U.S., etc. – to buy up much of its productive resources piece by piece. Instead of growth, the euro has brought stagnation. The reign of unlimited “competition” promotes beggar-thy-neighbor practices rather than solidarity. Germany has lowered its labor costs, and continues to maintain large export surpluses with its neighbors, whose own budgets are broken by the trade imbalance. Concentration of wealth and lowered income decreases consumption and causes businesses to failure and tax revenues to shrink. The European Union finds itself on the edge of a perilous downward spiral.

France’s position in the troubled European Union was the overriding issue in recent French presidential elections.  The issue was obscured by trivialities, such as media-inflated “scandals” over politicians hiring their wives and children, or non-issues such as “the fascist threat”. Yet the issue was there. Among leading candidates, both Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen flirted with the notion of leaving the euro, or even the EU itself, but neither had a clear handle on the issue. In her decisive final debate with Macron, Marine Le Pen proved incapable of clarifying her own position on the euro. In the absence of any clear alternative to EU membership, voters were more frightened than seduced by the notion of getting out. Seeing no clear choice, voters massively abstained.

As a result, the European Union won the French election, in the person of Emmanuel Macron.

Macron’s mission is to bring the alienated couple, the EU and the French people, together – by persuading both to do what they don’t want to do.

Macron’s Protection Strategy

Macron’s June 21 interview with the French daily Figaro and seven other major European newspapers clarified his salvage strategy. The key word is “protection”. The idea is that people can develop loyalty toward institutions that protect them, and people do not feel protected by the EU.

This interview included significant foreign policy statements, notably a change in France’s policy toward Syria.  Macron announced that “imported neoconservatism” is no longer welcome in France.

In all our EU societies, “the middle classes have begun to doubt”, Macron observed. “They have the impression that Europe is being built in spite of themselves. This Europe is dragging itself down.” Thus Europe must be made to provide both physical and economic security in order to reassure the citizens and regain their support.The physical protection involves controlling migration and cooperating in eradicating terrorism. The political impact of recent terrorist attacks ensured that any new French government would have to take moves to secure borders and control immigration, but Macron chooses to try to accomplish this at the European level. So far, disagreements between Member States have prevented effective measures from being taken.

Economic Protection

As a slight dissonant note in the usual rhapsody praising unspecified “Western values”, Macron made a subtle distinction between European and American “values”, implying a special European identity. “Americas love freedom as much as we do. But they do not have our taste for justice. Europe is the only place in the world where individual freedoms, the democratic spirit and social justice have been wedded to such a point.”

This implies that there must be limits to demolishing French social benefits in order to satisfy German demands for lower labor costs and a balanced budget. Meeting those demands is seen as the necessary condition for gaining German confidence in order to shift from austerity to prosperity programs. But it requires a quid pro quo. “The strength of some cannot feed for long on the weakness of the others.” In other words, German political leaders need to accept the fact that an EU which benefits Germany at the expense of other member States cannot last forever.

Specifically, Macron denounced the rules on “detached workers” which enable employers to evade the social costs of labor in countries like France by hiring foreign workers from countries like Rumania under the rules of their own country. “Detached labor leads to ridiculous situations. Do you think I can explain to the French middle classes that businesses shut down in France in order to go to Poland because it’s cheaper there, and that the construction industry hires Poles because they are paid less? This system is not fair.” (Such observations were denounced as “racist” when made by Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, but are in fact totally consensual.)

Macron’s Foreign Policy

Macron’s statements on foreign policy could be seen as hints of a possible joint European foreign policy, partially independent of the United States, at a time when Washington appears to be paralyzed by deep state efforts to overthrow the President.

For the last six years, Paris has been at the forefront of the get-rid-of-Assad propaganda. Former foreign minister Laurent Fabius notoriously declared that Bashar al Assad “has no right to be alive on earth”. In a clear break, Macron said that trying to settle the Syrian problem militarily was “a collective mistake” and stressed his aggiornamento:

“I do not proclaim that the destitution of Bashar al Assad is the precondition for everything. For nobody has shown me his legitimate successor!”

His first priority is fighting terrorist groups, with the cooperation of everybody, “particularly Russia”. His second is

“Syria’s stability, as I don’t want to see another failed State. With me, there will be an end to the sort of neoconservatism imported into France for the last ten years. Democracy cannot be imposed on people from outside. France did not take part in the Iraq war and was right not to. France was wrong to wage that sort of war in Libya.”

The result was failed states where terrorist groups prosper.

Somewhat ambiguously, Macron professed to be “aligned with the United States” on setting a “red line” against use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“If it turns out that chemical weapons are used and we know how to trace where they came from, then France will proceed to carry out air strikes to destroy the identified stocks of chemical weapons.”

Yet this statement is not precisely aligned with U.S. practice, which has always automatically blamed Assad for chemical weapons attacks, without ever bothering to “trace where they came from” or to limit retaliation to the arms stocks themselves.

Understanding Putin

As for Russia, Macron was also ambiguous, stressing unspecified “disagreements” with Vladimir Putin over Ukraine, while distancing himself from current anti-Putin hysteria in Washington by observing that Putin’s objective is to ensure the survival of his country, not to weaken the West.

Any one of the other leading candidates for the French presidency would almost certainly have gone farther toward rapprochement with Russia. While neoconservative influence has permeated French media and the Socialist Party, it does not control the French establishment as in the United States. Macron’s statements are a long overdue recognition of reality in harmony with informed opinion in France, notably in the diplomatic, military and business communities, which see the U.S.-induced Russian bashing as unjustified, contrary to French interests, and dangerous. These shifts in foreign policy were probably an inevitable reaction against the past ten years of Sarkozy-Hollande’s absurd role as puppy dog running ahead of its American master, yapping at Washignton’s chosen enemy.

Such concessions to reality could contribute to working out a common foreign policy with Germany, which has tended to keep its distance from certain U.S.-led military adventures. However, they are accompanied by urgent appeals to Germany to increase its military spending, at a time when the United States is making similar demands, in order to strengthen NATO against the Russian “threat”. Macron in contrast seems to have in mind the prospect of strengthening Europe by providing it with a strong military defense of its own, presumably not totally under U.S. command. The current struggle for power in Washington favors moves toward European independence. This can sound good if indeed it allows Europe to bow out of various U.S.-incited wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. But military buildups are costly and dangerous in themselves, and not the appropriate way to promote peace in Europe and beyond. The arms race that United States threats have incited in Russia and China shows signs of spreading.  There are forces in Germany all too willing to seize any pretext to revive German military strength.

Resistance To Macron

Macron’s efforts to save the EU marriage will encounter stiff resistance from both sides – and not least from the European side.

The resistance in France will be minimal in a parliament entirely under his control. The largest “opposition” party, the Republicans, are moving toward supporting him. The Socialist Party is decomposing rapidly, and the rest of the opposition is tiny and divided. Opposition in the streets sounds revolutionary, but it is not favored by the current relationship of forces, notably the weakness of the unions and the strategic disadvantages of a diminished industrial working class.

The resistance to Macron’s projects in Europe stems from the mere fact that the EU includes too many nations with conflicting interests and cultures. On the issue of control of migration, for example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened wide the gates to refugees, whereas Hungary is intent on keeping them out. Germans, or at least some of them, consider mass migration good for a country with a low birthrate. Hungarians, in contrast, want above all to preserve their cultural identity. The Baltic States, many of whose current leaders were nurtured in Cold War America, as well as Poland, with its bitter historic rivalry with Russia, support U.S. demands for a defensive/aggressive military posture against Russia. This has virtually no support in France, Italy or Spain. As for economic interests, they are widely contradictory, with important differences between North and South, East and West, that cannot easily be unified. And finally, except for the mobile, multilingual elite, people in Europe do not feel European: they feel French, or Italian, or whatever.  Macron’s mission is clear, but it might turn out to be mission impossible.

Diana Johnstone is author of the introduction to her father’s book, From MAD to Madness, by Paul H. Johnstone (Clarity Press, 2017), and author of Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton (CounterPunch, 2016).

She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

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  • Solomon Krupacek

    This article is far from the reality. It is about russian wishes. Like in series of articles about Trump.

    the EU is strong enough. and do not need to be saved from itself. hopely, the brits leave EU. from the beginning was big mistke to alow them to enter. always slowed down the integration.

    the reality is that, 2 new countries entered the sytem for euro, and 2 another countries began to work about to find the entering date before 2025. slowly will be built up common army. of course, in long time distance with all categories. nuclear weapons, navy, airforce and ground forces. as trong as russia. i know, this is unpleasant for moscow, but sorry, an independent, strong eu = this way. and be sure, one 500 million inhabitans having union will not have problems. only if germany will give 2% of gdp for army, will be stronger alone then russia. wee need to bulid up really strong european federative republic. and be sure, within 50 years rusia will enter. as normal meber, no priviligies. this will be the only chance against chinese expansion.

    • Fraggy_Krueger

      Well your answer is far off, too. The European elites are in the hands of/totally intermingled with the Anglo-American plutocracy. There is and will not be an independent Europe. When the US-empire crumbles, the EU would be affected very much, too. Actually – Europe would go down, first – as it is common fate for pawns on the chessboard.

      Russia has realized that they can write off the European elites. They had persistently tried to reach out to them – one can just admire their patience in this regard. Depending on how the US can further destabilize some of the BRICS countries, we will definitely see parts of Asia, South America and Russia further evolve and push back US economic and military oppression.

      The US-elites probably will somehow cooperate sooner or later in this regard, once they´ve accepted a multilateral balance of power – but Europe will have to fully bear the consequences of the failed policy of domination.

      But… if the Anglo-American elites don´t accept the inevitable end of their hegemony – it will be a very bad awakening for this whole planet.

      • Solomon Krupacek

        I dont think, the picture is so black & white, as you described. european elite is very various thing. and always were present people, who wanted closer connections to america, but also the opposite way. remember, lot of euroipean countries did not participate on american war in lybia, most of them boycotted 2nd war in iraq. many compromises were beacuse of UK. the – i hope – will leave us.

        BRICS is phantom organise. forget is. india is neutral to russia, but enemy with china. china is cryptoenemy of russia, enemy of india, neutral to others in brics. south-africa is on long-lasting decline, it is nothing. brasil is dancing as always.

        russia should differentiate between europe and usa. putin made a deadly mistake. he supports extreme right parties. this is curious, because thyes are semi-fascistic parties. and this is absolute red line in western. if he would send money for extreme leftires, would be easier accepted. although we wouldnt be happy also in this case. so, the brits worked 30 years to cut good contacts of russia wit prussia and aearly geman ceasardom. also the build up of new, correct contacts needs decades. inbetween are harder periods. but if the direction is constant, finally will be successful. china will be never on side of russia, and india is ally of UK. with india russia can make some good business, and thats all.

        another thing. learn little cultural anthropology. learn the thinking of different cultures and accept it. china is not running on road of anti zionosm. they never had contacts with zionists, they have no fear from them. and they will not follow any anti zionist policy. they think quite another way in comparison to european. they were, are and will be isolacionists. chines thinking was always: we dont need anybody else. and also now they keep distance. it is irrealistic to build up friendly contacts with china, because they do not want to share with anybody and anything. chinese are closed, thiefs (stell technology, in other countries do not pay taxes), egoistic nation.

        indians are more open, but very poor, and geographyically isolated. they will cooperate with each country, but will not form alliance with none of them, except UK.

        brasil, south africa are nothing in political, economical, military viewpoint. and this will be not changed. if yomebody think, they can be dangereaus for usa, is very naive.

        and finally iran. iran is theocratic islamic state, should not be given as good example. this is not way for russia.

        so, you should think over, why do not want closer contacts none of modern countries with russia. there are lot of xountries,m where thepopulation likes russians, but do not want russia as allied country. e.g. greek like russians, i personally know dozens of them, who speak russian, but never would change Eu and NATO for eurasia.

        until you do not find the correct answer to this queation, you are on wrong wroad and have no chance in the 21st century. ;) and remeber, you should immediately stop suppeort of extreme right parties. this is wall between us, built by you.

  • Mountains

    All this is nonsense and yada yada. Either fucking attack or STFU

  • Cyriak Papasissis

    This EU , with those regulations and rules , is not anymore salvageable and needs to be destroyed. Small tinkering here and there does not address the main pillars of the EU , as they were modified in 1992 , without any consensus. The peoples were not asked for these fundamental changes , no debate was developed. They were suddenly presented with a completely new set of rules and regulations , in direct disagreement with the initial proclamations of the old EEC. The goalposts were shifted suddenly , in mid-game. For example , the ”protection” afforded at the beginning for agriculture was suddenly removed under GATT and WTO rules. At the moment the agriculture in the periphery of EU is in dire straits, as well as λιωεστοψκ προδθψτιον. Greece has been de-industrialized . This , I claim , was the intention from the beginning of the ”morphed” EU , because I don’t think the elite in the Commission could not see what was coming. The Greek politicians , the Greek elite , were ” bribed” or ”lured” with false promises , and they delivered the people to the slaughterhouse. The EU has decided to allocate to Greece the role of becoming the ”tourist” destination , and a cheap one at that. The rest of the Economy was left to shrink and sink. All other jobs are supposed to be minimum wage menial . The extensive middle classes , professionals , scientists , etc. , have no prospects of employment and must starve , or emigrate . In Germany for example , Greek doctors are paid one half of what the German doctors earn. The voice of the people was not heard by the traitorous elite, of all parties. Greece must import everything from the core of the EU , even essentials , like milk . The rules were twisted in such way , that the German exports are favored , against the local food products , although the Greek products have better quality. 60% of the Greeks voted in 2015 to deny these rules , shoved down their throat , but the referendum result was put aside. The Laws implemented by the Brussels elite in Greece are unconstitutional , and Democracy in EU is bogus. The traitors who govern Greece are puppets and marionettes , and this is how they are going to judged in due time. 70 % of the people now are against the EU , and if the percentage is not growing faster is that so many emigrate , and so many die in the hospitals , which are left bereft of even the most essential items.The people are left with the task of organizing a new party from scratch , because the existing elite is bought and secretly paid by the EU elite , which is really the financial capital mafia. This EU is in fact bringing forth the plans of Hitler Nazi Germany for a ”united” Europe , where exactly as today , the same economic conditions would prevail. It is not a surprise to learn that the author of the German ”Lebensraum” at the expense of the rest of the countries was Walter Funk , one of the ”fathers” of EEC.

    • Cyriak Papasissis

      //livestock production//

    • Solomon Krupacek

      In Germany for example , Greek doctors are paid one half of what the German doctors earn.

      this is sure not so, as you wrote. in uk might be, but in germany are simply tables. i know lot of doctors working in germany, and they get full salary. in germany the doctors have less salary than in benelux countries, france, north europe. for half salary has no sence to go in germany. ;) in norway you get muchmore then in germany.

  • SnowCatzor

    The EU is beyond saving now, with Britain leaving and a growing disconnect between the hyper-liberal/left elites in Brussels and Nationalistic eastern European nations, the only possible futures are either a greatly-reduced EU (with only the western Euro states) or a complete disbandment of the project altogether.

    Russia for it’s part would naturally seek to support factions opposing the globalist EU.

    • Justin Ryan

      I agree!