The German dream of European domination is now is tatters with Brexit, and the trade talks must head in only one workable solution – the creation of a new European Economic Community (EEC) based entirely on trading relations. The old EEC worked when the modern day EU is failing.
The United Kingdom has sparked a new political revolution across Europe which has the potential to take at least eight other current EU nation states into a new EEC.
Already there are rumblings in Poland – supported by Hungary – against EU diktats. Perhaps the only way Spain can resolve the Catalonian crisis and remain as a united nation is to follow the UK out of the EU.
With the emergence of the Far Right in Austria once again, serious questions will be asked about that nation’s future in the EU. Add in Ireland (cleared worried about the Brexit Bounce on its economy), and other states with strong Euro skeptic communities, such as Denmark, Italy and Greece and you have the basis of the EEC Mark 2.
During this year’s trade talks about UK withdrawal from the EU, all eyes will obviously be focussed on the reaction of the Germans. For Germany, history plays a major role.
It is very clear the Germans have never forgotten the crushing defeat which French Emperor Napoleon inflicted on Prussia in the 1806/07 War of the Fourth Coalition, which saw the French march proudly into Berlin.
It was equally clear the Prussians had learned nothing from Napoleon’s equally serious defeat of the combined Russian and Austrian forces at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, which paved the way for the French march on Berlin.
Twice in the first half of the 20th century, Germany has tried to rule Europe by military means. Kaiser Bill failed in 1918 and Hitler was defeated in 1945 with both wars costing millions of lives.
But with the fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of the country, Germany was once more in a position to challenge for the position of top dog in Europe. But this time, there would be no tanks or planes – it would be purely economic.
The 2018 trade talks are not so much about how much the UK will have to pay the EU to guarantee its economic divorce, but are more about how much control can Germany have on its EU partners.
The other major factor which the current German government seems incapable of coming to terms with is the steady growth of the populist Far Right across many EU states, based on the concept of reclaiming national sovereignty. The rise of the Hard Right AfD party in Germany alone has proven that the fascist fox is once more in the moderate chicken coup!
Germany cannot even rely too much on neighbour France given the Far Right Front National’s continued strength. Throw in the Freedom Party in Austria, Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary and the German economic blanket which once covered virtually all of the EU is starting to rapidly unravel at the seams.
Assuming British Prime Minister Theresa May’s minority Conservative Government survives with the help of the DUP MPs until at least Brexit in March 2019, how should the embattled Tory PM play the trade talks?
The tactic must be ‘divide and conquer’ rather than ‘we’ll go it alone’. She must fuel the ethos of Euro scepticism throughout the so-called ‘Gang of Nine’ nations under the strategy – one oorut, eight still to follow. Yes, in a worst case scenario, the UK may have to pay huge economic ‘reparations’ for daring to follow the democratic wishes of its citizens in a referendum and walk away from the EU. True, other nations – particularly within the Gang of Nine – which boast a strong Euro skeptic tradition may be also privately pondering their economic future within the EU, but are equally wondering what the financial bill will be for quitting the EU.
If the pro-German Europhiles have their way, the EU will make an economic example out of the UK by making the UK pay such a heavy financial divorce that other unofficial members of the Gang of Nine will be too afraid to leave.
However, if May and her colleagues – especially if she can allow MPs from the staunchly Euro skeptic DUP to be part of those trade talks – can play the strategy of ‘united we stand and we can all get out of the EU’, then the foundation of a new EEC will become a reality.
It’s not so much a question of ‘how much will we have to pay?’ but ‘how much can we pull the financial rug from under Germany’s feet’ which will be the key factor in 2018. Supplementary question – does the Tory/DUP coalition have the Maggie Thatcher-style courage to go head-to-head with Germany?
John Coulter is a unionist political commentator and former Blanket columnist.
Follow John Coulter on Twitter @JohnAHCoulter
Dr Coulter is also author of ‘An Sais Glas: (The Green Sash): The Road to National Republicanism’, which is available on Amazon Kindle.