Nov 042017
 November 4, 2017  Posted by at 2:11 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Claude Monet The house at Yerres 1876


If there is one thing the Spain vs Catalonia conflict reminds us of, it has got to be Turkey. And that is a much bigger problem for the EU than it realizes. First of all, Brussels can no longer insist that this is an internal, domestic, Spanish issue, since Catalan president Puidgemont is in…Brussels. So are 4 members of his government.

That moves decisions to be made about his situation from the Spanish legal system to its Belgian counterpart. And the two are not identical twins. Even if both countries are EU members. This may expose a very large European problem: the lack of equality among justice systems. Citizens of EU member countries are free to move and work across the Union, but they are subject to different laws and constitutions.

The way the Spanish government tries to go after Puidgemont is exactly the same as the way Turkish president Erdogan tries to get to his perceived archenemy, Fethullah Gülen, a longtime resident of Pennsylvania. But the US doesn’t want to extradite Gülen, not even now Turkey arrests US embassy personnel. The Americans have had enough of Erdogan.

Erdogan accuses Gülen of organizing a coup. Spanish PM Rajoy accuses the Catalan government of the same. But they are not the same kind of coup. The Turkish one saw violence and death. The Spanish one did not, at least not from the side of those who allegedly perpetrated the coup.

Brussels should have intervened in the Catalonia mess a long time ago, called a meeting, instead of claiming this had nothing to do with the EU, a claim as cowardly as it is cheap. You’re either a union or you’re not. And if you are, the well-being of all your citizens is your responsibility. You don’t get to cherry pick. You got to walk your talk.

Belgian news paper De Standaard today makes an interesting distinction. It says the Belgian judicial system is not asked to “extradite” Puidgemont to Spain (uitlevering), but to “surrender” him (overlevering). Legal gibberish.

The paper also states that the case will go through three different courts, each of which has 15 days to announce a decision, so Puidgemont is safe for at least a month and a half. And then on December 21, Rajoy had called elections in Catalonia. For which, reportedly, he will seek to ban several parties. Don’t be surprised if that includes Puidgemont’s.

Moreover, even if the democratically elected president of Catalonia loses all appeals available to him, he could then ask for asylum in Belgium (apparently, Belgium is the only EU member country in which EU citizens can ask for asylum). And then you would really get into a mix-up of EU versus Belgian versus Spanish laws. In a way this is good, it would test a system that is not prepared at all for such divergences.

But what a disaster this is, once more, for the EU. It has shown zero leadership in the case, neither from the likes of European Commission head Juncker nor from Angela Merkel, its most powerful head of state. How can one not conclude that the Union is completely rudderless? This is just as bad as the refugee crisis, and the beheading of the Greek economy.

Threatening people with 30-year jail terms for organizing a peaceful vote is not what the EU should stand for. And now that is does, it threatens its own survival. Europe cannot be the land of Erdogan or Franco, it cannot look the other way and live.

That may be why the German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have prepared a report that looks at future scenarios for Europe, including worst-case ones. The article in Der Spiegel is in German only, and my command of the language is a tad rusty, but the translation through Google is surprisingly accurate, I only had to change a few words.

The authors don’t seek the worst case option in either Spain or Greece, but perhaps they should. Then again, some of their projections are stark enough to offer plenty food for thought.


Military planners think EU collapse is conceivable

According to SPIEGEL information, the Bundeswehr played through social and political trends until 2040 for the first time. Strategists are also developing a worst-case scenario. The Bundeswehr believes that an end to the West in its current form over the next few decades is possible. This is according to information from Der Spiegel from the “Strategic Perspective 2040”, which was adopted at the end of February by the top of the Ministry of Defense and since then kept under wraps.

For the first time in its history, the Bundeswehr’s 102-page document shows how social trends and international conflicts could influence German security policy in the coming decades. The study sets the framework in which the Bundeswehr of the future is likely to move.

The paper does not yet provide any concrete conclusions for equipment and strength. In one of the six scenarios (“The EU in Disintegration and Germany in Reactive Mode”), the authors assume a “multiple confrontation”. The future projection describes a world in which the international order erodes after “decades of instability”, value systems worldwide diverge and globalization is stopped.

“The EU enlargement has been largely abandoned, other states have left the community, Europe has lost its global competitiveness,” write the Bundeswehr strategists: “The increasingly disorderly, sometimes chaotic and conflict-prone world has dramatically changed the security environment of Germany and Europe.” In the fifth scenario (“West against East”), some eastern EU countries are freezing the state of European integration while others have “joined the Eastern bloc”.

In the fourth scenario (“multipolar competition”), extremism is on the rise and there are EU partners who “even occasionally seem to seek a specific approach to Russia’s” state capitalist model “. The document expressly makes no prognosis, but all scenarios are “plausible with the 2040 time horizon,” write the authors. The simulations were developed by scientists of the Federal Armed Forces Planning Office.

Funny, that ‘future projection’ looks a lot like how I see the EU today, not in 2040.

There’s a longer article behind a paywall at Der Spiegel, but this should be sufficient to get a conversation going. Angela Merkel may be all EU all the time, just like all her EU peers, but her own army has serious questions about that. And given the Catalonia swamp, who could doubt that they are right about having doubts?

Yanis Varoufakis’ DiEM25 movement is all set towards democratizing the EU, but how realistic is that goal? How divergent does a Union have to get before you give up on it? Poland, Hungary, Czechia all want completely different things from what Holland and Germany want. New French president Macron is finding out as we speak that he can only do what Merkel allows him to.

And then along comes Spain and tries to inflict Franco era laws and violence on its citizens. But Brussels does nothing, and neither does Berlin. Refugees can rot away on Greek islands if eastern Europe doesn’t want them, and Catalan grandmas can get beaten to a pulp by the remnants of Franco’s troops, Brussels has zilch.

The way the EU functions today is no accident, and it’s not some new development. Present-day Brussels is the culmination of 50-60 years of institutionalization. You don’t change that with an election here or there.

Will Catalonia be the endgame of Brussels? Will it be the refugee crisis? Brexit? It’s impossible to say, but what is certain is that in its present state, the Union has no future. And at the same time, there’s no solution in sight. The powers that be are deeply invested, and they’re not going to let go just because some country, or part of a country, or political party, or group of voters wants them to.

The EU is profoundly anti-democratic, and it intends to stay that way. But imagine that Belgium ‘surrenders’ Puidgemont, a man whose movement has lifted anti-violence to a whole new and modern level, and Rajoy jails him for 30 years, and the next day sits in on some meeting in Brussels, what picture does that paint for the 500 million EU citizens?

They’re crazy if they think they can get away with this.



Home Forums Preparing For EU Collapse

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    Claude Monet The house at Yerres 1876   If there is one thing the Spain vs Catalonia conflict reminds us of, it has got to be Turkey. And that is
    [See the full post at: Preparing For EU Collapse]


    If you are going to talk about something, it would be a good idea that you inform yourself first.

    Mr Puidgemont is going to face 30-year jail terms not for organizing a peaceful vote. He is facing 30 year jail terms for breaking all the rules of the Parlament(of Cataluña), making their own laws, and trying to impose it to millions of people that do not agree with them, along with a declaration of Independence.

    First, those people had 50% plus one of the seats of the Parlament, but more people voted other parties. One day they enacted the law of the referendum without permission not just of the central Government of Spain, but breaking all the rules of the Parlament itself. They did something that requires two thirds of the Parlament, with just simple majority. The central Government should have acted immediately, the king of Spain wanted to do something at this moment, but the weak prime minister that we have did nothing.

    After this law was enacted, they also broke all the rules for the opposition to do something about the law, and they close the Parlament.

    Then after that they organized a voting system for voting something that is also illegal in Spain. Cataluña was never independent, like Scotland(or Navarra, Asturias or Aragon in Spain were) was for example and the right to decide is on Spanish people as a whole. The conditions of Independence were also pie on the sky(we will be independent and be part of Europe, Spain will have to face 100%of our debt, will have open frontiers with no duties, will confiscate Spanish accounts and companies).

    If those conditions were possible, hey! I will want Independence too! It is like telling to a person that he could divorce, get the home, the kids, the car, a maintenance pension and call the other person when he wants to have sex with her. Spain with 42 million non separatist people will surrender to 2 million separatists, could be a good dream, but not realistic.

    After that, they counted the votes, themselves.You know, like Stalin said, the important thing in a democracy is not those who vote, but those who count the votes. They said that almost three million people voted and 90% of those said yes. They could have said five million as well. Remember what they told each other in the preparations to the coup(that were recorded by investigating police):”When we count the votes, we put a million more if they are too few”.

    Then during and after that Referemdum the central Govertment did very little, again, while separatist threw stones at police, police run, local police looked to the other side, and three Guardia Civil cars were destroyed by “pacifist”, while hotel owners were blackmailed by phone with death threats if they lodge the police. Very democratic.

    The world at large saw “the brutality” of police because the people that we have in Central Government is so incompetent and were not prepared, while the separatist have prepared for decades. They managed to order local Hospitals to consider everybody that have gotten an anxiety crisis after watching local TV (again controlled by them) “injured”. And that alone made for officially 200 injured people by police out of people that had not gone out of their homes.

    A woman said police broke all their fingers and sexually assaulted her. Of course the woman herself was a separatist profiter herself acting ala Bart Simpson:

    Even after that Central Government did nothing and even declared that they did not want to act.

    They waited and after some time the separatist did a semi declaration of independence based on their Referendum data. Central Government again did nothing but ask if they have declared Independence, they did not respond. After that the Central Government humiliated again saying that people please tell no because if you say yes we will be “forced” to react with the 155. And so they were force to declare a weak 155 that does not even get control of local radio and TV media, controlled by separatists.

    It is only after that that the separatist declare Independence. And THAT is what is punished with 20 years, not following the law is over 10 years. Because you could not tell millions of people that they are now under your control without consequences. You could not tell people that one night they had their money in euros and now they are Catalan francs(with debt in Euros) without consequences. You could not break Catalan society with parents not talking with their children without consequences. You could not take the taxes of the State without consequences.

    And they were also warned that what they wanted to make was against the law before they did. 40 years ago Puyol father directed a company that went under and what is now 12 million euros(stock owners money) simply “disappeared”. When the police started investigating Puyol son the politician managed to redirect the investigation as an “attack on Cataluña” in front of lots of people. Central Government panicked and stopped the investigation.

    It is a happy coincidence that 12 million euros later appeared in the bank of Puyol son. After that Puyol “reigned” over Cataluña and started demanding a 3% bribery that increased as he felt safer and safer over time, sometimes even getting 10% of everything that was done in Cataluña. Central Govertment did nothing again.

    So this people simply believe that rules are not for them. And who can blame them? if they had been over the law for 40 years. Even today central Government is doing nothing, the only people acting being judges on their own. The Puyol family is outside jail even after discovering their hundred or thousands of millions of dollars.

    V. Arnold

    Guy Fawkes-1605
    Remember, remember, the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

    V. Arnold


    Well, yours is one point of view.
    There are others who differ…

    John Day

    The EU has been a growth based Ponzi scheme, worth holding together as long as overall economic growth let the cans be kicked down the road by promising better days ahead.
    That’s ending. It has ended, and the concept is slowly catching up.
    Division into small enough entities to be coherent will be hard, and our owners will want to rule by controlling border flows and turning the smaller entities against each other, It’s always worked before…


    Will it be like the US Civil War, with Brussels sending troops? Or Madrid sending troops? Whose job is it to send troops? How does tiny Andorra manage to remain independent?

    What Catalan needs now is allies. Just looking at a map, it doesn’t seem large enough to repel a military assault. And that’s what it comes down to, of course — which party to this ‘discussion’ has the strongest military? Will NATO get involved? Can it AVOID being involved? Which ‘side’ will it take?

    And can Catalonia afford to buy a modern air defense system? The military picture in recent conflicts seems to come down to that. If you can’t shoot down your enemy’s drones and/or CAS jets, you have a problem.

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