People can hold high office in quiet uneventful times and also in tumultuous times. You dear lady as Chancellor of Germany hold that office at one of the most pivotal points in your country’s history. The decisions that you make over the remaining course of this year will shape Germany’s future for decades to come. You have led your country to a point on a road where there is a fork – two roads – two choices. Choose one and you will lead your country into a future that so many Germans before you have dreamed of – the undisputed leader on the continent of Europe. Choose the other and you will lead your country into the abyss of economic ruin and slump, record inflation and levels of bankruptcy. Seldom in recent times has such a stark choice being laid before a head of government: the sunlight uplands or the vale of desolation.
That fork in the road has a name that you know all too well. It is called the Euro. As you know, the Euro is part of a grand objective to establish a European Union across Europe from the Atlantic coast of Portugal to the Black Sea. From the Straits of Messina to the Gulf of Finland. This is indeed a vast empire: 27 member states with a total population of 501,259,840 (2010 estimate) and a total area: 4,324,782 km2 1,669,807 sq miles. The problem for Germany as is now becoming all too painfully apparent, is that this empire has grown too large. That the Eurozone encompasses too many countries with too much economic divergence and too much sovereign debt. This empire clearly is set to collapse because its leaders over extended themselves. The lessons of history are clear: look at Napoleon. His defeat in the Russian winter of 1812 led ultimately to defeat at Waterloo and the end of the Imperial dream to dominate Europe. He over extended himself. This of course was an attempt to unite Europe by force of arms. Former President of France, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing famously stated that the object of the European Union was to unite Europe by the pen and not by the sword. This peaceful attempt however seems set to fail for reasons akin to those earlier martial attempts. Over extension. What is clear is that the Eurozone as it is presently constituted is too large to be supported. Germany is a rich and powerful country but the scale of the problem is now too great. A bail out of Greece is very expensive but affordable but Portugal, Ireland and Spain? Impossible.
There is however another choice. That other road. What does this involve? It involves the reduction in the member states of the Eurozone area. The following states should leave the Eurozone at the earliest opportunity: Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. This will involve the resurrection of their old currencies. This obviously will cause turmoil in their economies but it will be a turmoil which will ultimately be beneficial to them as it will allow them to shape their own economic policy. Importantly – from Germany’s point of view – it will result in the Euro being regarded as a stable and secure currency. However, the change must not stop there. Europe itself need to be reshaped.
Currently there is one supra national construct: the European Union. The Treaty of Lisbon has established the European Union as an international state complete with its own legal identity, corps diplomatique, body of law and parliament. It even has an anthem and a flag. What needs to be done is to bring forward a new treaty. One that presents each member state with a new direction. For most member states the choice they make will be forced upon them by their own economic circumstances. The choice the new treaty must bring about will be this:
(i). To continue as members of the European Union with the Euro and accept the establishment of a European fiscal government as suggested by Herman Van Rompuy President of the European Council.
(ii). To become members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This of course must mean prior consultation with EFTA’s existing member states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It is extremely unlikely that these states will object. This will mean that the former members of the Eurozone: Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain will leave the EU as will those members not part of the Eurozone: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
What will this mean?
It will mean that these new EFTA members will no longer participate in the decision making processes of the European Union. Accordingly, they will obviously no longer be consulted or be involved in the formulation of EU Directives or policy. They will no longer send members to the European Parliament. They will no longer send money to the European Union. They will no longer receive money from the European Union. The treaty should confirm that all EU Directives passed before the split are legally binding on the former members but MUST confirm that these EU Directives will henceforth be able to be amended or repealed by those former members.
Where will this leave the European Union? As a very powerful entity on the world stage. Look at the statistics:
EU Member/Population/Land Area
Austria Pop: 8,356,707 Area 83,872 km2 32,383 sq mi
Belgium Pop: 10,741,048 Area 30,528 km2 11,787 sq mi
France Pop: 64,105,125 Area 674,843 km2 260,558 sq mi
Germany Pop: 82,062,249 Area 357,021 km2 137,847 sq mi
Italy Pop: 60,090,430 Area 301,338 km2 116,346 sq mi
Luxembourg Pop: 491,702 Area 2,586.4 km2 998.6 sq mi
Malta Pop: 412,614 Area 316 km2 121 sq mi
Netherlands Pop: 16,481,139 Area 41,526 km2 16,033 sq mi
Total Pop: 242,741,014 Total Area: 1,492,030.4 km2 576,073.6 sq mi
This is an empire the size of which the Emperor Charlemagne would have given his eye teeth to rule! Is not that enough Chancellor?