Erosion of the EU

After having reigned for centuries on the slave trade, than established the policy of African colonization that the old continent has subsequently wrapped with concept of cooperation, Europe has huddled, after the last Great War, under the US nuclear umbrella for the duration of the Cold War. Then, lacking raw materials to compete with the big countries such as China, USA, Russia and others, Europe has launched the establishment of the single market and did take care of controlling its access with specific standards imposed on African operators. The objective, which has become evident in recent times, has been to place the African sector concerned under the EU’s dictates. This ploy played well for the European colonizer until the end of the cold war. But it has stopped working well today by revealing innumerable weaknesses.

As a result, the EU does not stop moaning over its fate. She is angry at the whole world, but first and foremost at President Trump who took away the American support that the EU took for granted indefinitely. Officials at the top of the EU structure, who increasingly take up the ways of the former Soviet Union, say they do not understand why Trump America is fighting them. President Trump is criticized for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement, for the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, for abandoning the nuclear deal with Russia and for placing unjustified customs duties on European steel, to name a few of the most commonly cited recriminations. The EU Group is advancing, as far as it is concerned, that it does no harm to anyone, that the Group is there to serve multilateralism, disseminate democratic principles and help peace and security in the world. This argument is likely to make the American President appear as a troublemaker kid in a playground and, so, may please Brussels, of course. Only it is too beautiful and too simplistic to resist rational reasoning.

In terms of trade, the current US administration is also engaged in a tussle with China. But, while the meetings follow one another with the Middle Kingdom and that the resolution of the problems progresses in the opinion of both partners, this is absolutely not the case with the EU where the discussions seem to be severely seized. While German-speaking countries seem flexible to find a comprehensive solution with the Trump administration on tariff and non-tariff barriers (standards), France alone does not want to hear of a discussion for a compromise on agriculture and agri-food. If there is not an official opponent of this uncompromising French position in the EU, and at the same time absurd in terms of common sense, other countries of the Union have not missed to criticize it with words covered on many occasions. France seems strengthened in its dogmatism by the sacrosanct principle that the commercial policy is decided by the Commission of the EU, after consensus. But behind this loophole, France considers above all that agricultural and agri-food standards, largely from its inspiration, which it inflicts on behalf of the EU to African operators, also serve the interests of the other countries of the Union. And, we can count on the genius of the metropolis to remind them of this fact in timely meetings.

That being said, the European press recently echoes the dramatic turn that US-EU trade relations could take in the coming days if President Trump decides to tax 25% of imports of European motor vehicles, i.e. German cars. German builders are up against the possibility of additional taxation of their vehicles that would surely bring Germany into recession if President Trump decided to implement this measure in the coming weeks. They are putting pressure on their government to push France to bend its rigid (anti-scientific) position on agri-food standards. Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the EU Commission, said that if this was the case (US taxation of EU vehicles), the Europeans would not import US liquefied gas or Soy. With regard to liquefied gas, a whole port infrastructure must be put in place beforehand in Europe – which will take years – before any importation of US liquefied gas. In the case of Soybeans, which are intended primarily for livestock, it is mainly a question of price which will be the limiting factor, and this problem is a matter for the private sector rather than the Commission. In sum, these arguments should not weigh heavily in the expected decision of the US administration on future taxes on German cars. It is therefore up to the Germans, the largest economic power in the EU, to decide whether aligning their position with the interests of the “Françeafrique” is more useful for their business than maintaining the leading position in high-end automotive sales in the US market. As for France, which must feel the ground shirking beneath her feet at the prospect of a lack of German support for its causes, she apparently chose the haggling card. She announces that she will go it alone and initiate a heavy taxation of GAFA et al. (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) with, supposedly, hope to bring back Trump to better feelings about the non-tariff barriers of the EU. But this is unlikely at the time the US administration began to apply anti-dumping taxes (litigation is brought to the WTO) on products of the European agri-food sector in response to more than generous aid from the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) and also against the tightness of the EU market for agricultural products. It should be noted that the CAP bears a great responsibility on the stagnation of investment in the African agro-industrial sector which correlates perfectly with the many problems of malnutrition and the scourge of emigration of young Africans fleeing misery on our continent. Moreover, the country of Voltaire must feel good alone now that even countries of the EU, Italy among others, severely criticize its policy on our continent as the main source of mass migrations of hungry African youth.

As we all know, France was not the only Empire to colonize Africa. There were also the British. But, Her Majesty’s subjects were forced to beg the IMF for help in the 1970s, just like the poor countries, which gave a good lesson to the English. They accepted their fate, effectively lobbied the Americans for the consolidation of the City of London as a big financial center after New York, and kept a cool head while keeping their currency, the pound sterling, which has no pretensions to compete the Dollar. The EU, driven by an excessive French ambition, taking advantage of a moment of weakness before German reunification, has pushed the plug too far in wanting to maintain an unlimited and exclusive access of the EU to African wealth, wishing to continue to benefiting gracefully from American protection and, icing on the cake, having ambition to replace the Dollar by the Euro. Butter and butter money in short. So, coming to play now on the fiber of victimization is far from correct on the part of EU officials, to say the least. It even amounts to insulting the intelligence of people and taking Africans for more naive than they have been.

In this regard, a USAID official who spent many years among us said to me, twenty years ago, that Morocco, which already exported more than three quarters of its agri-food products to France, will know to be competitive once it will confront a real market. This remark can be applied to most African countries. In these circumstances, the foreseeable elimination of the standards imposed on us by the EU is only the beginning of a work that promises to be very laborious for us. But also think of how much we will be rewarded in terms of self-confidence and pecuniary resources.