Backtracking from Brexit

BERLIN/LONDON | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - The German Chancellery is looking for options that can annul the British referendum's decision to withdraw from the EU. According to reports in the media, Chancellor Angela Merkel has discussed repeating Britain's referendum with her closest entourage. However, "external advice" should be avoided, because this probably would be rejected in Great Britain, according to Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier. The German media, on the other hand, is busy inciting the EU-oriented British establishment majority with concrete proposals of how the referendum results could be subverted, for example, it would be risky, if the government simply refuses to initiate the withdrawal process or if the parliament forbid the Brexit. However, it is conceivable that the withdrawal negotiations end with a miserable result, and is, then, submitted to the British population for approval - in the expectation that it will be rejected. SPD Chair, Sigmar Gabriel also intensifies pressure by calling for young EU-oriented Britons to be granted German citizenship. The appropriation of foreign citizens as Germans is nothing new; it had previously been restricted to Eastern Europeans with German ancestry. That one state arrogates the right to claim sovereignty over citizens of another country on the basis of political orientation - (being "pro-EU") - is unprecedented.

Options for Remaining

The German Chancellery is searching for options that could annul the British population's decision to leave the EU (Brexit). As the weekly "Der Spiegel" magazine reported, already on Sunday following the referendum, Chancellor Angela Merkel had discussed with "close confidents," including Chancellery Minister Peter Altmaier, how "the British could possibly be kept in the EU."[1] A referendum rerun and holding new elections are among their contemplations. However, they are attentive to the fact that the British population hardly tolerates foreign interference in its domestic affairs. "Suggestions from abroad would be fully out of place," warned Altmaier. Therefore, it was decided that, for the time being, demands that rapid decisions be taken concerning the Brexit, should be avoided at EU level. "No one knows, which consequences the new [British, (editors note)] government will take." The debate in Great Britain about how to deal with the referendum results is still in full swing, the Chancellery Minister was quoted. They may possibly realize that "the Brexit costs are too high," "it would be prudent to wait to see how this debate turns out."

EU Routine

This is confirmation that the highest levels of the government in Berlin are seeking ways, also in Britain's case, to undermine the will of the majority of the population, while, at best, feigning acceptance for tactical reasons. This approach has long since become EU routine. In Ireland, the EU reversed the rejections of the Treaty of Nice and of the Lisbon Treaty, pronounced in two referendums (June 7, 2001 and June 12, 2008) by having the referendums repeated after a comprehensive PR campaign (October 19, 2002 and October 2, 2009). Negative referendums on the EU Constitution in France (May 29, 2005) and in the Netherlands (June 1, 2005) were annulled by minimally modifying the draft constitution and subsequently imposed it renamed the "Lisbon Treaty." The Greek referendum opposing the German austerity dictate held July 5, 2015 was simply disregarded. Even the referendum in the Netherlands opposing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will have no consequences. Germany's Chancellor Merkel announced last week that the government in the Netherlands must find a "solution" for dealing with the referendum results - a rejection of the association - that does not affect the Association Agreement.[2]

Tips and Tricks

Considerations about how to prevent Brexit, against the stated will of the British people, are being voiced by sectors of the British establishment's EU-oriented majority, particularly the right-wing of the Labor Party. They are receiving ammunition from Germany's mainstream media's lively debate on how best to annul the referendum's results. For example, the liberal weekly "Die Zeit" considers that the British government or the parliament could simply defy the will of the population and refuse to initiate or forbid Brexit procedures.[3] The journal's online edition considers both to be problematic - not as a question of principle, but merely for tactical reasons. If the government ignores the results of the referendum, it will harvest "a major credibility problem," including massive loss of votes at the next elections. In the case of a parliamentary decision blocking Brexit, the pro-EU parliamentarians could lose their mandates at the next elections. Both would result in an enormous boost in influence for the pro-Brexit camp. This is why some are making a plea to enter Brexit negotiations with London, conceding only miserable, inacceptable conditions for the Brexit, in the hopes that these will again be submitted to a referendum and refused, with Great Britain remaining in the EU as the consequence.

"Strong Arguments"

Pursuing considerations along these lines in other leading dailies, the online edition of the weekly "Der Spiegel" upped the ante. There are "strong arguments" indicating that "the referendum's implementation," in other words, the Brexit, is anything other than "self-evident," writes the journal. According to "Spiegel Online," the German political scientist, Bernhard Weßels finds that the results of the referendum are "actually not ... credible," given the fact that voter turnout was only 72 percent. Applying this logic, governments in various EU member countries should resign. "Spiegel Online" asks whether it is not "undemocratic" to "ignore" the fact that "millions of pro-Brexit voters would like to change their vote." Aside for the fact that the allegation of "millions" would vote differently is contrary to current opinion polls and a total fabrication, this argumentation would make a mockery of every democratic election. One German criminology teacher ultimately claims to have discovered that the referendum was held "under dilettantish and distortional conditions."[4] Therefore, it should be reconsidered.

The Scottish Joker

Scotland's growing pro-EU nationalism provided a supplementary trump card in attempts to induce the pro-EU sector of Britain's establishment to overturn the democratic majority's decision. german-foreign-policy.com will report soon.

German Citizenship for Pro-EU Foreigners

In addition, SPD Chair, and Germany's Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, has intensified pressure and sought to drive a wedge in the British population. With an eye on the fact that the pro-EU sentiment predominates among young Britons, Gabriel declared, "they know better than the snobs of the British elite that it concerns their future."[5] "The drawbridge to them should not be taken in." The SPD Chair calls for young Britons living in Germany to be given German citizenship "so that they can remain EU citizens." Rebecca Harms, Chair of the Green Group in the European Parliament had already spoken in favor of this "citizenship offer" to young Brits.[6]

No Taboo

That the Federal Republic of Germany would grant German citizenship to foreign citizens and thereby lay claim to their allegiance, is nothing new. Since the 1990s, East Europeans, with German ancestry, could receive German citizenship. Until now, as explained, for example, on the webpage of Germany's General Consulate in Wroclaw Poland, presenting a "Volkslistenausweis" ("Race-Attestation," issued by the Nazis) of the parents or grand parents had been sufficient.[7] More than 200,000 Poles and several tens of thousands Czechs have become citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany.[8] Rumania's President, Klaus Johannis has the right to become a German citizen whenever he wishes. The suggestion of laying claim, in the future, also to Western Europeans - merely on the basis of a political affirmation (being "pro-EU") - is however new and unprecedented in international politics. It confirms that in its struggle to maintain its hegemonic project - the EU - Berlin recognizes no taboos, not even in regards to allied countries.

For more on this theme: The First Exit, and Flexible Union with a European FBI.

[1] Pressekonferenz von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel nach dem ersten Tag des Europäischen Rates in Brüssel. 28.06.2016.
[2] Ralf Neukirch: Bundesregierung hofft auf Sinneswandel Großbritanniens. www.spiegel.de 02.07.2016.
[3] Katharin Tai: Gibt es einen Exit vom Brexit? www.zeit.de 30.06.2016.
[4] Markus Becker, Dietmar Hipp: Diese drei Argumente sprechen für den Exit vom Brexit. www.spiegel.de 01.07.2016.
[5], [6] Gabriel will doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft für Briten in Deutschland. www.spiegel.de 02.07.2016.
[7] www.polen.diplo.de/contentblob/4070298/Daten/1263182/stamb.pdf . See To Heighten Tensions.
[8] See Völkisch radikalisiert.