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30 May 2017

A leaked German government document reveals how foolhardy its commitment to the crumbling EU project is.

Germany and Europe, Europe and Germany. If one nation’s ebbs and flows have dictated the continent’s destiny over the previous century, up until the present day and beyond, it is undoubtedly Germany. Greece, the former poster child of Berlin orchestrated EU meddling has now given way to Poland, an old favourite for Bosch bullying.

The latest chapter in an ongoing dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over the rule of law has been marked in the history books by a German government paper calling for Poland’s share of ‘cohesion’ funds – the half a trillion Euro purse financing bridges, schools and pointless awareness-raising initiatives – to be frozen over the course of successive expansions of the EU’s already inflated budget.

The document has been leaked to coincide with Brussels’ yearly battle over the annual budget. In theory, the amount allocated by the 28 (soon-to-be 27) Member States to the EU budget should be thrashed out only once every seven years, in line with the EU’s Soviet-esque multi-annual financial frameworks. The current one runs from 2014 to 2020, meaning Britain is perfectly poised to leave the crumbling bloc before the next commitment.

Today, the European Commission submits its proposal for the 2018 budget, a €10bn hike on this year’s eye-watering €134.5bn – payments into the pot are even higher, €157.86bn. The man at the centre of the storm about to kick off is German Commissioner Günter Oettinger, a politician fully absorbed into the EU fabric. He served as Commissioner for the digital economy and before that, energy.

In October of last year, Oettinger referred to Chinese people as “slit-eyes” and “sly dogs” in a speech without losing his job. What would have happened had he not been Germany’s man in the Commission you might ask?

But as far as EU bureaucrats are concerned, the only bad boys lurking around Europe’s corridors of power are the members of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice Party along with Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary who earlier in the year ordered the closure of a pro-EU university funded by George Soros, the man who killed our currency’s credibility in the early nineties. EU bureaucrats have inspected thousands of pages of EU regulations to find an incriminating rule to beat Orban with, unfortunately for them, single market powers do not extend as far as education, for the time being, that is.

On the question of rule of law and democratic institutions, the EU is on worryingly stronger ground and intent on making an example out of Poland. Since late last year, the Polish Government has been facing off against the EU over reforms to its constitutional court giving the executive an array of powers by decree. The EU, led by Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans has been striving to gather votes in the European Council to punish Poland for a “serious and persistent breach” of the rule of law.

For the EU to impose its imperial will on a Member State in this area, it needs the unanimous approval of the Member States and for a minor pinch on judicial independence such as this one no such support is materialising. As one diplomat of a central European country, “I very much doubt that member states will be willing, in this climate, to go on and confront Poland.”

Germany and the Commission, which sent “recommendations” to Warsaw that where promptly swatted away are hell bent on forcing the country’s patriotic government to yield. They now appear to have found a way, not via any legal or honourable means of course.  Poland currently receives €106bn in handouts under the current seven-year program, any increase to the size of the pie will mean a considerably larger slice for the former communist country. By denying the extra funds Germany may have found a way to attract its attention and undo the constitutional reforms, which have absolutely no bearing on anyone living outside of Poland.

Some may praise Germany for delivering a much-needed “nein” to the cash guzzling Poles, but that is not Germany’s motive. Berlin is perfectly happy for the budget to increase even though Britain is leaving. No, it wants to punish its neighbour for rebelling against the EU, and by virtue of that, putting a potential spanner in the EU federalisation works. An act that cannot be tolerated.

Other EU Member States who have thus far blocked the Commission’s attempts to punish Poland point to the dangerous precedent it would create: “Big nation and supranational government bully defiant smaller nation into changing domestic policy”, the headlines read. Furthermore, Germany’s latest tactic, of freezing funds spells even greater disaster for EU fanatics.

So high on its own supply of integrationist mumbo jumbo, the Eurocracy fail to understand that Eastern nations like Poland still bear the scars of Soviet domination value their independence extremely highly. They want to stay in the EU for the big fat cheques and little more. Just as the EU was once prized by we Brits for its single market, before it was realised much too many strings were attached and the single part of the set up did not actually exists, the fast developing East will soon either come to realise that the handouts cannot continue forever or that they no longer need them, or both, spelling catastrophe for the European project.

The EU is fixated with the idea of putting Britain through the grinder as we negotiate our departure, hoping to create a powerful signal that leaving the EU will spell disaster. Instead of inventing this nonsensical narrative with the United Kingdom, the EU and Germany, which will always have a reason to stay tethered to the failing project, should instead focus their attention on the very real crisis festering in Poland, Hungary and beyond. But they will not, all the better for Britain and indeed the rest of Europe as the UK builds a vision for cooperation for trade without pooling sovereignty. The federalists will weep.