Germany Tightens Ists Grip on Its European Empire

Germany Tightens Its Grip on Its European Empire (Source In the latest long-term budget plan, EU budget commissioner Günter Oettinger (who happens to be German) unveiled a new policy proposal. It would strip member nations of their EU funding if they failed to comply with EU requirements on “rule of law.” In theory.

In practice, it would give Europe’s largest states the ability to blackmail the smaller ones. You can see this in the way Europe is already using its “rule of law” controls. The EU is currently pursuing Poland for violations of the rule of law. If it succeeds, it will be able to strip Poland of its EU voting rights—if all other countries agree. What is Poland’s great transgression against the basic tenant of liberty? The EU accuses the Polish government of tampering with the composition of its judges on its constitutional court. That’s a sham. Spain did almost exactly the same thing and the EU said nothing. The difference is, the EU approves of Spain’s government, but not Poland’s.

Ottingher’s proposals would dramatically expand the EU’s power. If the European Commission deems that a country has violated the rule of law, financial penalties would come into effect. Only a large majority in the European Council could stop those penalties. In the Council, voting rules take into account population. Germany is the most populous nation in Europe. So if it wants sanctions on a country and it gets a few other nations on its side, the rest of the Council could not stop them. We could soon have an EU that tells its member states how to run their own countries. The EU bureaucracy is already fighting democratically elected governments in Poland and Hungary. If it gains the power Oettinger is proposing, it would have even more authority to make member nations do as they are told. This is just the latest in a long-standing trend. Hans Kundnani noted in the Berlin Policy Journal last month that in Germany’s vision for Europe, “more Europe would mean more Germany―as in many of the steps already taken in the last seven years since the euro crisis began.”

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