Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Will Russia's Resurgence Push Fragmented Europe Into Stronger Union This May?
March 24, 2014 | Tom Olago

The Ukraine/Crimea crises currently in the limelight now seem to be reviving the debate for the need of a centralized Europe. 
Billionaire financier George Soros, also one of the world’s leading investors, reportedly told The Daily Beast that the European Union is in danger of falling apart if it fails to confront Vladimir Putin’s naked aggression in Ukraine, and that European governments should have seized on Russia’s land grab in Crimea to breathe new life into a union that is disintegrating and stumbling towards oblivion.

In a recent interview with the Daily Beast, the billionaire financier said squabbling European nations failed to meet the challenge and continued to act in their own narrow self-interest. Soros claimed that “Europe was totally unprepared for this crisis and Putin outmaneuvered Europe with no difficulty.”

Soros, also described as “a loud supporter at the launch of the Euro currency and a cheerleader for a united Europe” has long insisted that the Euro was being fatally mismanaged. He said it was heart-breaking to see European governments shrug their shoulders while witnessing an unprecedented popular uprising in the name of the European Union. Soros lamented that “Ukrainians have effectively proved that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to get closer to a Europe that is, at the same time, in the process of disintegration.”

With Putin’s troops in Crimea and a referendum on joining Russia due to be held over the weekend, Soros said there was still time for Europe to act: “I would argue passionately that [the European Union] should not be a failed experiment and events in Ukraine are a wake-up call to face that issue. It’s a challenge, and I hope that Europe will respond to it and actually really rediscover its original mission because that’s what got lost in this distortion that has occurred.” Soros also argued that it was more important for Europe to offer positive assistance to the struggling Ukrainian government in the form of financial and technical assistance.

Soros in his latest book ‘The Tragedy of the European Union’ brings out what could be a “game-changer” catalyst to European unity with the telling statement: “Russia has benefited from the fact that Europe is disunited. But now that Russia is emerging as a threat to Europe, it may once again become a force that brings Europe closer together. I pin my hopes on Chancellor Merkel … one must never give up hope.”

It would appear that Soros’ hopes stem from the fact that Germany’s economic strength makes it the Eurozone’s driving force. He however clearly has limited confidence in German interest or passion to lead European unification via the appropriate economic and monetary policies. His cautious optimism about German commitment is also reflected in his book, in which he reportedly blames the Germans for eroding Europe’s fragile union by enforcing policies of austerity, allowing southern European nations to build up debts they will never be able to repay, and doing “just enough” to keep the Euro afloat.

Soros claims that Berlin’s fiscal rigidity has created a two-tier Europe where debtor countries are at a permanent disadvantage. Germany seems to be walking a tight rope where it needs to play an effective role in the EU, while balancing the need to be sensitive to the needs of the German population that may consequently be adversely impacted – such as the management of levels of inflation.

Germany is however showing signs of strong opposition to Putin’s actions in Ukraine and Crimea. In the middle of March, German chancellor Angela Merkel indicated that Europe was willing to increase pressure on the Kremlin, asserting that a referendum orchestrated by Crimea’s pro-Russia parliament would be a “catastrophe,” and indicated that the EU was willing to begin to imposing travel bans and asset freezes on people and firms accused of helping to violate Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

The lingering question now is whether the Europe-wide elections in May are likely to further unite or fragment Europe. Will the elections help the federalist forces to unite Europe or will she become further fragmented? This issue was examined earlier this year in a Prophecy News Watch article: Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission and the longest serving Brussels commissioner, called for "a true political union" to be put on the agenda for EU elections this spring.

"We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government and two chambers – the European Parliament and a "Senate" of Member States," she said. Mrs. Reding's vision, which is shared by many in the European institutions, would transform the EU into a “superstate” relegating national governments and parliaments to a minor political role equivalent to that played by local councils in Britain.

José Manuel Barroso, the commission president, also spoke and signaled that the EU would use the centenary of World War One to warn that Euroscepticism, far-Right and populist anti-European parties could bring war back to Europe.

On the other hand, some observers feel that constituent EU countries will be sending a “record number” of politicians to Brussels who are hostile to further EU centralized power. Britain's David Cameon has promised a referendum in 2017 on leaving the European Union altogether in hopes of putting the contentious issue to rest.. In Soros’ view, “That would be a big step forward in the disintegration of the European Union…Britain’s absence would greatly diminish the weight of the EU in the world …” 
Yet others disagree, suggesting that Britain’s departure would be of limited impact as she has always generally resisted strong EU unification policies.  A poll conducted this January found an even 41% supported remaining in the Union while that same 41% was opposed.  The next few years are set to determine Britain's destiny with Europe and possibly the European Union itself.

Perhaps Vladimir Putin’s latest military expansionist actions will have given supporters of a strong and united Europe just the ammunition they need to win over the hearts and minds of EU voters in May. Between now and then, could similar further events happen or even potentially be engineered to facilitate such an outcome?

It promises to be an interesting watch.

Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/March24/242.html#dA3prT7ULLT02S0y.99

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