Can you guess the EU interviewee?

EUflagResponsible recycling being all the fashion, I’m partly reproducing here what I wrote almost four years ago. When you get to the end you’ll know why.

Why do you think we need an EU?

No nation in Europe can by itself achieve the necessary scale of economic freedom to meet all social demands.

So essentially we are putting collective security above individual sovereignty?

Now at last the time has finally come when the people of Europe, in their understandable striving for economic security, can make the decisive step to co-operation.

That still doesn’t address the issue of national interest in relation to collective security.

The will towards European Community effort… must become the leading concern of the basic, ruling economies… It means a readiness in certain circumstances to subordinate one’s own interests to those of the European Community. That is the highest goal which we require from the European states and we are striving to attain it. In individual cases this will mean sacrifices but the outcome is that all people will benefit.

But surely the tendency in the EU runs towards creating a protectionist bloc, something generally regarded as economically counterproductive?

If one considers the natural potential of our continent, it becomes apparent that Europe, in fact, meets all the requirements of a complete, self-sufficient economic area.

How do you think a unified economy can accommodate the interests of individual countries?

The preconditions for a political order to achieve the co-operation of the peoples of Europe are clearly identified. Its essence: respect for national character, development of own economic resources, long-term economic treaties. Economic interdependence is endorsed by destiny. The economic unity of Europe is manifest.

Aren’t we talking about essentially a statist economy?

The new empowerment of the productive and creative power of the individual is grounded in the community, the creation of a uniform economic understanding and attitude, the allocation of decisive tasks through the political leadership… Apart from this, the economy is free and self-responsible.

Don’t you think that the only major freedom remaining in individual states is that of running suicidal debts?

It has to be said that the debt is generally overstated compared to what it actually is. The arithmetical error runs on because differences in accounting periods, balances and balances in contra are not simultaneously taken into account.

That may be. But surely a monetary union inevitably presupposes the pooling of debt?

This task [of creating a single currency] is only possible if we first bring the European national economies into order…

But one can’t help noticing that the current austerity measures, feeble as they are, are causing unrest among people used to getting something for nothing.

Such a fundamental economic belief demands a social conscience. The people of Europe must and can demand social responsibility and consciousness from their state leadership in the realisation of the new economic order.

You seem to be suggesting that social responsibility may have to come at a cost to prosperity.

The new European economy will have to consider as its first task the fulfilment of its social obligations.

Thank you, Mr…

Well, replacing the ellipsis with the interviewee’s name would be telling, wouldn’t it? You still haven’t had the chance to guess who he was.

In the good, if recent, tradition of British education, I’ll give you a multiple choice. Was it a) José Manuel Barroso, b) Jacques Delors? c) Jacques Santer? d) Romano Prodi? e) Jean-Claude Juncker?

The interviewee could have been any one of those venerable gentlemen, but wasn’t. The correct answer is f) None of the above.

Every reply to my imaginary questions came from a speech delivered in 1942 by Walther Funk, Hitler’s Economy Minister. Herr Funk spoke from the heart about the EEC, Europäische Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft for short.

In pursuit of his high-minded ideals Herr Funk indulged in certain peccadilloes that eventually earned him a life sentence at Nuremberg, with a hangman’s noose a distinct possibility until the last moment. But his words still resonate in a modern context.

Each one bears an uncanny resemblance to the language of every formative document of the EU. Such likeness of words must betoken at least partial, if not yet total, similarity of principle and purpose. Suffice it to say that the glittering prize Herr Funk saw in his mind’s eye, a federal Europe dominated by Germany, is a whisker away from becoming a reality.

It’s true that some of the trappings of the Third Reich, those revolving around mass murder, are so far absent from the everyday practices of the EU. However, much too often, when talking about either Reich, people concentrate on the consequences of the founding principles, rather than the principles themselves. Far be it from me to suggest that these are identical in the EU dominated by today’s Germany and wartime Europe dominated by Nazi Germany. Yet it takes a blind man, or else Lord Heseltine, not to realise that they’re remarkably similar.

That was the gist of the remarks Boris Johnson made the other day, those Lord Heseltine called ‘obscene’. I’d call them factual (decorum prevents me from telling you what I’d call Lord Heseltine). And if you don’t believe me, talk to the spirit of Walther Funk.

 

 

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