On the other side of the EU
BSSB.BE Morgoth’s Review 5/03/2019
* You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. Winston Churchill
European security currently rests essentially on the NATO alliance and the principle of mutual defence, and on cooperation between national intelligence services working to prevent violence against people and national assets. But in an era when threats come from domestic extremists as well as hostile state and non-state actors seeking to undermine democratic institutions, this is not enough.
- In recent years, intelligence sharing has stymied countless terrorist plots by Islamist extremists and far-right groups. But failures to share intelligence across borders have also resulted in horrendous attacks in Brussels, Manchester, and other cities.
Belatedly, European security services have also begun to focus on the threat that Russia poses to liberal democracy.
Over the course of recent election cycles, the Kremlin has proved successful at compromising democratic processes and polluting public discourse. Making matters worse, the rise of far-right populists in key countries is undermining the security apparatus needed to counter Russian aggression. Intelligence sharing requires mutual trust, but the alliances that once provided the basis for trust are under increasing strain.
This is evident across Europe. In Germany, the former head of intelligence recently suggested to Bild that Austria’s intelligence services cannot be trusted so long as the right-wing Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) is a governing coalition partner. After all, in February, the FPÖ interior minister made the extraordinary decision to order a police raid on Austria’s main domestic intelligence agency, removing files and sensitive information.
Guy Verhofstadt, on behalf of the ALDE Group . – Mr President, well Prime Minister, as per Jean-Claude Juncker, my start as Prime Minister was also in Finland. You remember that my first Summit was in Tampere. I remember two things from Tampere in 1999: first of all, the reindeer on the menu for the Summit, and secondly that we decided there to have a common European migration and asylum policy. We are still struggling with the Member States to have one.
I am pleased that in your intervention, you started with Santeri Alkio who said – and I have a quote from him, it was Nils who helped me naturally, as he is from Finland – ‘the people’s idea of the League of Nations should be urgently taken by Europe to build a United States of Europe’. Whether it was in the 1920s or the 1930s, I don’t know. It was in the 1920s. It is a fantastic project that needs to be built, and certainly in your intervention, and I want to take three points that in my opinion are necessary for that.
- First of all, on the eurozone and the governance of the eurozone. I agree with you, we don’t need a reform of the eurozone to replace the homework that Member States have to do with new instruments. They have to do their homework. That’s not at stake. What is at stake is that a single currency, at world level, needs fiscal capacity; needs, based on the official capacity, euro safe assets to be used at world level in order to have more harmonious growth inside the eurozone and an instrument against what we call ‘asymmetric shocks’. All this cannot be done through the homework of the Member States alone. There is something common that needs to be tackled. So I agree with you, but the one doesn’t contradict the other, in my opinion.
- My second point is on the single market. You said ‘yes, we have the best single market in the world’. I will rectify it a little bit. We could maybe have the best single market in the world when we also have a single market in the markets of the future – digital, energy, capital. I think there is one good solution: create one regulator at European level and, automatically, we shall see the emerging single digital, energy and capital markets.
- My third point is on defence. I think the biggest waste of money for the moment in the European Union is the lack and the non-existence of a real European Defence Union. We are spending half the amount of the Americans on military. We have a budget in Europe on military that is three times bigger than the Russians’ budget, but we are not capable, I think, to do our defence alone and that’s because we have 28 times duplication and that’s why I hope, also, that the European Defence Union will be one of the key priorities of the Finnish Presidency.
YOUTUBE:On the other side of the EU . ‘the people’s idea of the League of Nations should be urgently taken by Europe to build a United States of Europe’.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: Morgoth’s Review