Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
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.

What is the EU for?


The EU has never quite decided on its mission statement and this has caused difficulties for itself and for us, even after our withdrawal.

Its deepest roots lie in the desire to prevent a repeat of World War One. At the fateful Versailles peace conference in 1919 the French minister of commerce and industry, assisted by Jean Monnet, was seeking European economic cooperation and the latter became Deputy Secretary General of the League of Nations soon afterwards.

In 1940 when WWII was under way Monnet seized the opportunity to exploit the crisis by proposing, through Churchill, a national unification of England and France to counter the German assault, but this initiative was immediately overtaken by the fall of the French government.

After that war ended a reprise seemed wholly unlikely. Neither France nor a now-partitioned Germany was in any condition to fight again; indeed the 1944 Morgenthau Plan to reduce Germany to an agrarian state was only abandoned because it would have led to the starvation of millions of Germans. The priority now was to prevent internal Communist revolutions in Western Europe (where many citizens felt that capitalism had failed the people) and set up a bulwark against Soviet expansionism - as early as 1949 George Kennan was mooting the reunification of Germany (Fischer, p.98.)

Nevertheless, in 1951 came the Schuman Plan to sequester the materials of potential Franco-German war via the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community, whose first President was Monnet, again.

Now if the nascent EU had kept its eyes on war prevention it might have done more over the decades to control newer instruments of mass destruction: France's independent nuclear deterrent, the development of biological and chemical weapons, cyber-warfare and so on.

It might also have tried to maintain a greater degree of independence from the United States, which seems to have used it as a sort of buffer empire against the Red Menace.

Instead, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and despite what Gorbachev was 'led to believe' in 1990 NATO - arguably no longer needed since its antagonist had vapourised - crept nearer and nearer to the Russian border as the EU gobbled up one after another of the former Communist satellite states. Now Finland, an EU member since 1995, has just been persuaded to join NATO also. It's like the classic children's game 'What's the time, Mister Wolf?'

So the EU in its various stages has gone from peacemaking to regional defence preparation to a provocation in Ukraine that in Russian eyes at least was impossible to ignore, an existential threat; and further moves in eastern and northern Europe seem designed to double down, to escalate the conflict, to bring the bear roaring out of its cave.

Are there US State Department planners so convinced of an afterlife that they are content to risk Ragnarök and Götterdämmerung, or do they imagine that there is such a thing as Eurolocalised nuclear war directed from across the Atlantic when Russia thinks it faces a threat to its very survival?

So much for the blurred and contradictory military role of the EU and its non-coterminous NATO geography.

Yet Britain is not made safer by Brexit, because of our continuing membership of the latter and our servile relationship with the US. Officially we are not at war with Russia, yet we have special forces and presumably other personnel operating in Ukraine; British anti-monarchists jib at the expected £100 million cost of the coming Coronation (money that is a beneficial economic stimulus) yet say nothing of two years of support for the Zelensky regime that is to consume 46 times as much; threatened by the prospect of peace breaking out between Russia and Ukraine, PM Johnson flew out in March last year to scupper the talks and ensure the continuation of the modern Somme - to whose benefit, at whose instigation?

When have we ever been in such peril?

Yet the EU was originally sold to us as something else, a free trade area that would bring prosperity to its citizens: 'FOOD and MONEY and JOBS', yelled Wilson's 1975 Referendum pamphlet.

Well, not so much a land of milk and honey for the people as for corporate interests. The 'Four Freedoms' of the Treaty of Rome - the free movement of goods, services, capital and persons - are freedoms for business. Even now Brits complain about queues at ports and airports, but the free movement of persons is and was more about the unhindered importation of workforces. This was made clear (for example) on the 2004 accession of Poland to the Community, when several EU countries imposed restrictions on Polish workers to limit domestic socio-economic disruption; for its own part and typically of British short-sightedness and complacency the Home Office blithely predicted a mere 5,000-13,000 Polish entrants instead of the c. 800,000 that did come.

Thus a cosy trading cartel of Western European countries, able to maintain a popular standard of living far above that of the wider regions and the world, began to lose that advantage by adding low-wage nations to its fold, as well as by the wider GATT trade liberalisation (against which Sir James Goldsmith warned in 1994) that undermined our employment, prosperity and social cohesion to the enormous benefit of a small class of middlemen and money-shifters.

The EU has not helped us guarantee 'food and money and jobs'; not even affordable warmth in our houses, thanks to the Nordstream punishment beating Germany received last September; but it has helped implicate us in another European war, 'no matter what my German voters think,' as the Green moron Annalena Baerbock said a few months ago.

It's what the term 'mission creep' was invented for: no clear and consistent mission, plenty of creeps.

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Director : Robert Oulds
Tel: 020 7287 4414
Chairman: Barry Legg
The Bruges Group
246 Linen Hall, 162-168 Regent Street
London W1B 5TB
United Kingdom
Founder President :
The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
Vice-President : The Rt Hon. the Lord Lamont of Lerwick,
Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
Washington D.C. Representative : John O'Sullivan CBE
Founder Chairman : Lord Harris of High Cross
Head of Media: Jack Soames