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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

von der Leyen’s Götterdämmerung


Twilight of the Gods" was Richard Wagner's last in the cycle of music dramas called, "The Ring of Nibelung," which is based on old Norse mythology prophesying war among beings and gods that results in the burning and remaking of the world.

It is always deeply dissatisfying when a negative prediction comes true—especially predictions which are meant as more of a warning. This one was Wagnerian.

In August 2019, Ursula von der Leyen—then the erstwhile German minister of defense—was rewarded for her eminently mediocre (and corrupt) performance with the presidency of the European Union's administrative superstate—the head of government of the foremost globalist experiment in so-called "regional integration."

Carried into office by a margin of just eight votes in the European Parliament, we vehemently protested, mainly disappointed with the so-called rightists and populists who very much had the numbers to keep Berlin from imposing her against the wishes of just about everyone—including her own political party (EPP), which had stood a different candidate for the position during those same 2019 European elections.

Having risen far past the level her mediocrity should have allowed, there are copious servings of Schadenfreude to be had in seeing globalist publications like The Economist turn on her almost immediately. She awfully mismanaged her administration's half-baked attempt at a federal EU health policy to respond to the pandemic—a bad policy to begin with, suffused as it is with the globalist arrogance only a self-important Eurocrat oblivious to her past failures can muster.

Mediocrity and Incompetence

Were it not so disgraceful to avoid responsibility as she has managed so far, one can only look at the dismal figures of the Brussels-run vaccine rollout to realize that the main thing keeping globalism from any level of prosperity is the total incompetence of senior-most globalists themselves. Pretend experts without qualification, they are in fact, a losing bunch of has-beens.

We dissented against other major appointments of the von der Leyen commission as well. The EU's far-Left socialist foreign minister, Josep Borrel, somehow managed to end up in Moscow denouncing American sanctions on Cuba within a year of his appointment. Hardly the sort of headline one expects of our nearest and dearest allies. Heights of irony reached: Both authors were accused of being Russian-aligned in the wake of the 2016 election (one of us even got summoned up by the FBI!) and yet, Russophiles with a track record of hating Israel, America, and freedom somehow end up running the U.S.-Iran talks in Vienna. Nobody should be surprised at their utter fruitlessness.

Chinese and Russian vaccine diplomacy in the EU's periphery has filled the gap von der Leyen's commission has left—a net negative to the transatlantic relationship, and squarely Brussels' fault. Brexit Britain muffles chuckles across the sea, pleased to have escaped the jaws of Brussels and its farce of a failed state.

As the Ursula von der Leyen (UVDL) presidency has started to come apart at the seams, Charles Michel, the former inadequate prime minister of Belgium who acts as the EU's head of state, has recently gained prominence. Other countries—notably Turkey, who epically snubbed UVDL recently—seem to be re-configuring their approach to which power brokers in Brussels are the correct ones to schmooze and court. Von der Leyen doesn't even make the shortlist. She is doomed to insignificance.

The EU should go further. The European Parliament should hold a censure vote and remove Von der Leyen from office now. With an outgoing Merkel Administration that has no apparent intention of changing course on its Chinese-centric export model (with the attendant political submission that entails not to mention its complete dependence on Russian oil and gas) it is long past time for other major European countries to wrestle away the levers of power from haughty Berlin and their Deutschland uber alles attitude.

An Italian Resurgence?

Arguably the greatest European political crime of the past decade was Angela Merkel's handling of the migrant crisis provoked by Western weakness on Libya, Syria, and Ukraine during the Obama Administration. The political assassination of Silvio Berlusconi—now funnily a member of the European Parliament—is probably the single biggest turning point in that story.

Unjustly maligned in 2011, Don Silvio, a Trumpian media billionaire who embodied Italy's ethos was deposed and replaced with a string of colorless technocrats handpicked by Merkel. Italy wouldn't democratically elect another leader for almost a decade. The Italian state was strong enough to withstand the assault, however, and still managed to avoid being stuck with every single migrant who made the crossing—Berlusconi had threatened to hand out Italian passports, knowing full well that most of the migrants would end up much further north (think Germany or Sweden).

Currently in power in Rome is the Berlusconi-appointed (former) technocratic head of the European Central Bank, economist, Mario Draghi. Though Merkel got the credit for saving the phony currency, the Euro, during the debt crises of the late 2000s, Draghi can lay as much claim to that policy victory as she can.

Now that Britain has Brexited (others may follow), it is time for Italy to assume its natural role as the third leg of the European stool. Deposing von der Leyen and installing a figure like Berlusconi who would appeal both to the populist Right and the centrist establishment is vital if Europe is to bring its full force to bear for the transatlantic alliance in the great many issues where America needs her to deliver. Eventually, Italy will have yet another election and in that case, the Right will surely prove victorious and finally install Matteo Salvini of Lega as prime minister. Salvini wears the "Trump of Europe" mantle well.

Though, as Eurosceptic anti-globalists, we do feel free to reluctantly encourage Frau Ursula to stay in office for the 42 months remaining in her term. Having dedicated herself so fully to proving us correct over the past year and a half, we're entirely sure she will continue to be the greatest flag-bearer for the cause of national sovereignty—however unwitting will be her intention. 

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