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Europe is peace? “It’s pretty but it remains a fable”

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A flag ” who gave us 70 years of peace “. Here is how MEP Nathalie Loiseau justified the erection of the European flag at the Arc de Triomphe last weekend, a demonstration supposed to mark the start of the French presidency of the European Union. Other voices mingled with his to advance the same argument.

Historically, does this vision of the European Union hold up? Not at all, says historian and writer Olivier Delorme, author of 30 good reasons to leave Europe.

Marianne : On Vie-Publique.fr, an information site under the aegis of Matignon, one can read: Promoting the establishment of a lasting peace is the main reason behind the construction of Europe “. What does this remind you of?

Olivier Delorme : It’s wrong. Historically, the European Union is a construction of cold war and not of peace. It emanates from the desire of the Americans to unify a market in order to promote the penetration of its products. Thus, the first consequences of the creation, in 1951, of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) were the cessation of purchases of Polish coal and then the closure of French mines in favor of the import of coal American. The United States feared that the end of the war would mark the return of recession following the great crisis of 1929. They therefore wanted to organize economically, at the same time as militarily, the part of Western Europe which did not come under the influence Soviet.

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The European Economic Community (EEC) created in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome has the same function: to unify the European market to remove the obstacles to the circulation of goods and, as a result, to allow the penetration of American products and to avoid customs duties. customs from one member country to another. Ditto for the single currency. As early as the 1960s, Washington launched the project in order to avoid exchange risks.

For 70 years, there has been no war between states that have fought for centuries. Can we conclude that Europe is peace?

Of course not! The first cause of peace in Europe is the crushing of Germany in 1945. The country has never been a finished nation and has always seen an imperial destiny. Here we fall into the other intellectual swindle of the mantra ” Europe is peace » : to say that war is the result of nationalisms. On the contrary, it is the fruit of imperialisms. World War I is started by empires, not nations. The Austro-Hungarians attacked Serbia to expand towards the Balkans because, since 1866, they had been blocked in the north by Prussia and then the German Empire. It is the need to expand borders to ensure hegemony that triggers wars.

“The first cause of peace in Europe is the crushing of Germany. ”

For the Second World War, Nazism was above all racialism. The doctrine establishes a hierarchy of so-called races and gives the destiny to that said to be superior to dominate the whole of Europe.

By affirming that Europe is peace, contrary to the nationalisms which would provoke war, we completely obscure the role of imperialism. American wars after the victory of 45 are imperial wars, Vietnam is a good example. The demonstration can also be exported. Since the annihilation of Imperial Japan, there have been no more wars with neighboring China and Korea. These three countries did not need a European Union to stop the conflicts. The nation aims to be master at home, the empire wants to expand. The idea that the nation produces war is false.

What are the springs of peace that Europe has known for 70 years?

In addition to the crushing of Germany, it is the atomic weapon and the balance of terror which will contribute to European peace. From the moment the Americans and the Soviets are able to destroy their adversaries with the nuclear bomb, war becomes impossible and Europe can no longer be a battlefield. This risk of mutual destruction prevents any confrontation between the two blocs. Within Western Europe, the prospect of war becomes absurd because all countries are part of the same organization subject to the Americans, NATO. Also, the French deterrent wanted by de Gaulle prevents any attack against France. Let us also remember that after the fall of the USSR, Europe was not able to prevent wars.

What are you referring to?

The peace mantra is only for member states. But that would be forgetting the war in Yugoslavia. At the time of the break-up, the European Union had not recognized any state. But, in a few hours, Germany decides, against the EU, to recognize Slovenia and Croatia, which provokes the Serbian reaction and the chain which leads to the war. In a sense, it is Europe that triggers this conflict by its lack of decision and consultation.

“When we create the single currency, we believe that the economies will converge. However, the reverse happened. The euro is overvalued for certain countries such as France, Greece or Portugal. ”

Today, the EU is also unable to protect its member countries from conflicts with other powers. Cyprus is still partly occupied and colonized by Turkey, which remains a candidate to join the Union. The European organization was also unable to support Greece when it was attacked by Turkey in the summer of 2020. When the Turks violate the Greek exclusive economic zone, its territorial waters and its airspace, the Germany and a few other countries postpone the adoption of sanctions and then reduce them to next to nothing. The EU thus encourages aggression more than it deters it.

There is this idea that economic cooperation brings states together and, ultimately prevent future conflicts. Is this a point that we can give to the European Union?

This would be the case if it were well based on cooperation. However, according to the texts, the EU is based on the principle of free and undistorted competition. It prohibits states from protecting their production and their workers. Thus, it leads to worsening economic hardship across the continent. When we create the single currency, we believe that the economies will converge. However, the reverse happened. The euro is overvalued for certain countries such as France, Greece or Portugal. This pushes for an internal devaluation. To compensate, wages are lowered and the budgets of social protection systems are cut. On the other hand, countries like Germany or the Netherlands have an undervalued euro compared to their economies. Which gives a huge advantage because their products are cheaper than they should be. Europe, as it is constructed, results in weakening the weak while strengthening the strong.

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Also, with the austerity policies it imposes, the EU does not propose a policy of peace but of economic warfare to the detriment of the weakest. When the Greeks voted for a leftist government, the president of the commission believes that there is no democratic choice against the European treaties. And the Greeks had both massive impoverishment, an increase in mortality, a collapse of their economy which never recovered and an increase in debt, which had served as a pretext to impose this policy on them. If Europe is peace, then it is that of cemeteries.

For the Swiss researcher René Schwok, the EU has contributed to peace via enlargement to the south and east, which would have allowed economic catch-up and political stabilization, what do you think?

It is a profession of faith. No one can say that the EEC anchored democracy in countries like Portugal or Spain as they emerged from dictatorship. These are arguments that were put forward in these countries and which still carry today but, perhaps simply, the era of authoritarian regimes in Europe was over. Nothing proves that without European organization things would have been different.

“In reality, by discrediting the idea of ​​alternation, since the European treaties predetermine the policies followed regardless of the voters’ vote, the EU is preparing for the disasters of tomorrow. ”

In my view, it is rather the post-war boom and social states that have pacified European societies and rooted democracy. On the contrary, the policies imposed by the euro and the EU weaken or destroy the welfare state, force by budgetary logic to dismantle their public services. In the end, it destabilizes democracy. In France, we observe that political alternation does not change anything in the orientations predefined by the treaties. Almost everywhere, voter turnout is falling and radical forces, especially on the right, are garnering more and more support. In reality, by discrediting the idea of ​​alternation, since the European treaties predetermine the policies followed whatever the vote of the voters, and by impoverishing the middle classes in which democracy is anchored, the EU is preparing the disasters of tomorrow .

Why do you think this mantra is still invoked to defend the EU? Is the coincidence of peace and European construction the only positive argument?

The problem is not having a story. The only credible thing is to explain that the European Union is an Atlantic construction, circumstantial to the cold war. But that would not convince people of the benefits of the EU. It was therefore necessary to hammer this mantra, repeated excessively without it ever being able to be neither criticized nor demonstrated. Just like Erasmus and the end of the need to change money when you go to another country. They are crutches which make it possible to avoid explaining what the true principles of the European Union are. Free and undistorted competition is unlikely to excite people, especially when they see the consequences of it on a daily basis. So we have to invent fables. Europe is peace. It’s pretty but it’s still a fable.

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