Macron burst into the proceedings of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” yesterday with a proposal to reform the EU’s constituent treaties which immediately divided the states into two sides. It is the response to a US strategy in Ukraine which, irrespective of its effects on Russia, is increasingly undermining the power enjoyed by the Franco-German-Italian axis within the EU.
Table of Contents
- The Strasbourg pledge
- The answer: 13 to 11
- The Franco-German-Italian axis defends itself… against the US
- It’s the coming war
The Strasbourg pledge
The setting chosen by Macron could not have been more significant: the Conference on the Future of Europe, a project that the EU developed over the course of a year to make up for the reputational damage caused by Brexit. It was time to deliver some conclusions that had been out of time the day after the war in Ukraine started.
The debate of the day, once the arms shipment and the use of EU territory to train Ukrainian soldiers had been accepted and expanded, seemed to be on Ukraine’s integration into the organization. Zelensky had come off the hook with a statement saying that putting cannon fodder in the war against Russia was the “blood price” for joining the EU. And that the price had already been paid. France’s representatives, on the other hand, reminded anyone who wanted to listen to them, as Macron later pointed out, that “it would take decades” before such a thing would happen.
But this time it was not just a no. Macron was coming with an alternative for both member countries and aspirants.
1 Create a “European political community” that would leave the door open to Britain, in which would fit, under EU leadership, Ukraine, Moldova, the Western Balkans… and Georgia, which is not even in Europe… but not Turkey, against which France is still embattled and which the EU is already threatening even in terms of food security.
In other words, it is basically a matter of reproducing and enlarging the political structure of NATO, leaving Ankara out, rebuilding a certain space for the movement of elites and affirming a new onion layer to the Franco-German imperialist influence. An old Mitterrandian idea recovered in the new context to reassert a European space autonomous from the US. The underlying objective, as Xi recommended to Scholz, “to put the security of Europe in the hands of the Europeans”.
Now, the war in Ukraine and the legitimate aspirations of [Ukrainians], like those of Georgia and Moldova, who also want to join the EU, mean that we need to rethink our geography and the organization of our continent. This new political organization would allow democratic European nations that adhere to our fundamental values to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation in terms of energy, transport and investing in infrastructure where people can move around, particularly young people.Macron, yesterday in Strasbourg
But it escapes no one’s notice that such a proposal, which would imply reforming the Treaties on which the Union is based, would mean the end of the national sovereignty of most of the member countries.
With monetary sovereignty ceded to the European Central Bank, with fiscal sovereignty restricted by the convergence criteria, the states are now being asked to give up also the last stronghold of political sovereignty: the possibility of negotiating trade-offs under threat of veto every time their imperialist interests are twisted by the force of major neighboring powers.
The answer: 13 to 11
Thirteen countries, including the Baltics, Poland, Sweden, Romania or Bulgaria, with often conflicting interests, immediately, jointly and publicly rejected the proposal in the strongest terms.
While we do not rule out any options at this stage, we do not support hasty and precipitous attempts to initiate a process leading to treaty changes…. We already have a Europe that works. We do not need to rush into institutional reforms to achieve results.Statement by the 13 countries opposed to treaty reform.
The government of Denmark, which is 20 days away from a referendum imposed by its legal order in order to join the EU’s defense policy, summed up its refusal in one sentence: “it is a dead end”. That is, even agreeing to cede sovereignty to a qualified majority of countries, trying to implement it through treaty reform would be counterproductive. Reform would have to be approved unanimously – in quite a few cases by prior referendum – and that would imply, at best, making substantial concessions to some countries at the expense of others.
On the other side, Germany. First Scholz and then Baerbock made it clear that the German bet goes that way and that they do not mind stirring up the hornet’s nest of intra-European imperialist contradictions… no matter how much risk it may entail.
The Franco-German-Italian axis defends itself… against the US
The combination of European army, end of the unanimity rule and creation of a specific political structure for the EU area of influence has become the joint program of Germany and France out of necessity.
They are not unaware of the risks – once again it could bring the EU to the brink of implosion – but with Germany seeing its model of accumulation in question due to the economic war against Russia and the divorce from China imposed by the US, and France being politically overtaken by Washington, each day the war in Ukraine lasts longer represents a greater risk for both of them.
And every day that passes the US seems more determined to drag out the war as long as it can by pouring weekly billions in new weaponry into the Ukrainian army. The saying “the US is ready to fight to the last Ukrainian” has gone from a reluctant joke to a real fear in quite a few European chancelleries.
Thus, without questioning the “necessity” of fueling the war against Russia, the French press already speaks openly that for the US it is “an outsourced war against Moscow” (Le Monde) without clear goals in which the European powers may be dragged into “an extension to the whole continent” (Marianne) if they blindly follow the US.
Has the United States decided to wipe out Russian power, at the risk of extending the war to the whole of Europe and seeing a cornered Putin using tactical nuclear weapons? Let’s be clear: pointing out that Vladimir Putin is solely to blame for the invasion of Ukraine and the possible use of nuclear weapons does not prevent us from questioning the nature and goals of this Western war.Putin’s crime, Biden’s provocative strategy. Marianne
Just yesterday, Draghi reminded Biden that the European goal was not an endless war but a successful peace agreement. Obviously, Biden was not moved.
It’s the coming war
One thing is clear: the coming reorganization of the EU will be born out of war and will be oriented towards it. Whether as a Franco-German-Italian pseudo-bloc, or as a strategic appendage of NATO.
Europe has made a qualitative leap towards militarism which cannot be reversed. The consequences are beginning to emerge more and more clearly under the characteristic profiles of a war economy: concentration and centralization of capital reinforced around the state, reinforcement of the military industry, subordination of the needs of accumulation to the strategic needs of the imperialist conflict (let us recall the suicide represented by the accelerated change of energy sources) and reinforced policies of political and social framing.
In the face of these, no serious resistance can be expected from any sector of the political apparatus. The state will push forward like a steamroller, with the trade unions in the front line, on the living conditions and freedoms of the workers. They will dress it up as progress or impose it as “sacrifices”. But they will not cease to accelerate on a trajectory that is already set. Only the development of the organization and the ability of the workers to stand up to its immediate consequences can stop its course.