Niall McCrae: 2027, the EU dystopia to come

Chief commissioner Michel Barnier wags his finger at the media conference. An uprising in a major European country has forced his hand, as attacks on police and politicians lead to desertions and defections. Unlike the British government, which was pummelled into submission over the Brexit deal, these plucky secessionists are undermining the authority of the formidable Eurocrat. So he threatens to send in the EU Army.

It’s 2027, and the EU is more powerful than ever, yet also more detached. It reigns supreme in the cosmopolitan cities, in the financial centres, and on university campuses: Berlin, Heidelberg, den Haag, Frankfurt-am-Main, Gothenburg, Barcelona, Fiorentina. These islands of the liberal intelligentsia look condescendingly on the masses, whose unpredictable and uninformed votes put progress in peril come each election. The provincial hinterlands are stifled by backwardness, with rising tension between nostalgic nationalism and expanding ethnic enclaves. Among the commoners, rule by Brussels is at best tolerated, at worst despised.

Consulting historians, political commentators begin to see what the EU has become: a latter-day Holy Roman Empire. And Barnier and fellow commissioners are behaving like the ‘enlightened despots’ of the European past.

The HRE was a revival of the old Roman Empire, but with papacy to the fore. Founded in AD 800 when the Pope crowned Charlemagne as emperor, its domain comprised France, Germany and most of modern-day Italy. After the French left in the tenth century, and the Italian parts were given away, the empire centred on Germany. Successive emperors looked east to expand their territory; the pagan Prussians, Slavs and Balts were suppressed by brute force, and fiefdoms were established in Hungary, Poland and Bohemia. But the intent to rule Europe was confronted by the forces of national identity, the Reformation and Thirty Years War, and the HRE gradually retreated to a federation of principalities.

Maintaining order over the many petty oligarchies of the HRE was awkward, but Joseph II, emperor of the late 18th century, had a master plan. He was an arch-centraliser, who cloaked his zeal for control in Enlightenment values. Determined to create a state apparatus that would banish feudalism, Joseph II levied taxes to pay for institutions and representative bodies operating under his jurisdiction.



Just as the European Union is becoming less united, the HRE was not really holy. The rich statelets presented themselves as hubs of intellectual enterprise and the arts, but as the princes sought to fortify their privileged status against popular rebellion, survival was prioritised over aesthetics or virtue. The Vatican with its papal bulls was a hindrance, and religious fervour was regarded from the castle ramparts as dangerous populism. With his Secularisation Decree, Joseph II banished the Jesuits, cut the number of saints’ days, and his anti-clerical stance led to a testy visit by Pope Pius VI. Joseph II didn’t care much for God: leave superstition to the ignorant plebs.

Joseph II overstretched himself. He signed a treaty with Russia and Prussia to divide Poland among the three, but faced serious revolts in Hungary and Belgium. The end came soon after Napoleon declared himself emperor of France. As la Grande Armée marched across Europe, German princes seceded from the HRE to accept Napoleon’s protection, and in 1806 Pope Francis formally rescinded the empire.

The HRE ended as an embarrassment of corrupted ideals, and the EU may be going the same way. It has extended beyond coherence, having incorporated the same parts of eastern Europe that caused so much trouble for the holy emperors. Economically it is stagnating, and it has created a cultural timebomb with its mass migration from Muslim lands. For now, the EU seems to have strength and resilience: the combined might of France and Germany, its neoliberal multiculturalism an inspiration to youth. But ten years on, and the view from Barnier’s bastion looks less assured.

Breaking news from a burning city: protesters surround the old parliament building, the EU flag is ripped off the pole. Inside, worried officials burst into a wordless rendition of Ode to Joy. The soldiers, experienced only in handing out food tokens to crowds of migrants, are refusing to fight. And this is how the most apparently impermeable and permanent regimes end: not with a bang but a whimper.

Niall McCrae

  • David R

    Will we have to wait that long?

    • Bernard from Bucks

      I don’t think so.
      Three out of four Italian political parties want to leave the Euro and/or the EU.
      The second place finisher in France wants to leave the EU.
      The 3rd place party, and fastest growing party, in Germany wants to leave the EU.
      Austria and Poland have governments that are openly defiant of Brussels.
      For all the media spin, Greece, Spain, and Portugal defy Brussels as well.
      Tick, tick, tick.

      • Alan Llandrindod Wells

        The EU makes no economic sense for other than the super-rich, and economics rules in the end.
        It is ideological.
        The Biderberg gangsters like it, because the brown envelopes go to one address.

        • Thomtids

          As th late, great Nick Ridley rightly pointed out, what ponces around as the EU bringer of enlightenment is nothing but another revivification of the German Custom Union with the addition of a capital transfer union. It is nothing but a German scam.

          • MickC

            Indeed! Nick Ridley….the best Chancellor we unfortunately never had.

          • Thomtids

            I seem to recall Nick liked his fags….instant disqualification from post-Thatcher Office. No fool he. Unlike cretins like Hunt. Wrong party, wrong ideas, wrong man.
            And where did they exhume Adonis from? He should have accepted the Brady treatment when he died (politically) ie disposed of without music or ceremony. It simply shouldn’t be done in decent society that dead people refuse to lay still and shut up. God, can you imagine if Heath the teeth shifted Salisbury Cathedral and rose up to say that no-one had got his permission to leave his beloved EU.

          • MickC

            One of the (rather good) jokes Labour (Healey?) made about Ridley was that he “was the only Minister with an empty in tray, an empty out tray….and a full ash tray”….
            No doubt as we age we all believe the public figures on both sides, of our earlier years were giants compared to the current pygmies….but they were! Of course, there was then a true political divide….not just a PC jostle to the left of middle.
            Corbyn is bringing back Socialism; who will counter it with a revival of Thatcherism? Certainly none of the current “Conservatives”….

          • Thomtids

            Yes. The press were much more respectful and the politicians at least attempted to approximate to their party’s political expectations. The seamier side was still there. The venal dishonesty still shines through with the expenses scandals but now the sexual behaviour is wanton and open. Keeler et al was tepid compared to rent-boys and drugs.
            Profumo atoned…Vaz couldn’t care less. That’s tge difference.

      • Bob

        And then there’s the collapse of the Euro…

  • Niall McCrae

    Illustrating the Teutonic dominance, the HRE was described by Hitler as the First Reich (the Second was the Kaisers).

    • Reborn

      As I’ve often observed, the borders of the EU are nearly identical to the
      borders of the Third Reich & its shameful collaborators – including
      the Republic of Ireland & Spain.
      Lacking anyone of Churchillian status & suffering from relentless pro EU propaganda,
      younger British people fail to recognise that WW2 was in vain & that the UK has
      fallen.
      Germany does not need an invading army when the UK is run by Quislings.

  • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

    Good point made even if your history of the HRE is nor right. The emporers were first from France and then from Czechoslovakia. The Joseph to whom you refer was Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany did not exist as a country and hence your references to Prussia. It was the Napoleonic war that brought about the end of the HRE not the thirty years war at all.

    • Niall McCrae

      Joseph II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1765 to 1790.

      • disqus_N9Jawtu8Uw

        ….and like I said Niall, he was a Hapsburg and an Archduke of Austria. When you suggest that Germany was a kingdom in the Middle Ages that is being shockingly economical with the truth. A) It wasn’t a kingdom, B) they were city states.

    • Niall McCrae

      And on Germany, you are probably thinking that only modern Germany counts. In fact, Germany was a kingdom in the Middle Ages. Today the West and East are a slightly uneasy unification of the old ‘true’ Germany with Prussia.

  • Gary Laconic Jr.

    And in other EU news from 2027, the UK’s transitional arrangement enters its ninth year. Labour Prime Minister Paul Mason, buoyed by an increased majority following his recent trouncing of Justine Greening’s New Conservatives, describes as “constructive” the latest round of trade talks with EU chief negotiator Miriam Gonzalez Durantez. Lord Hammond urges caution and demands that there be no cliff-edge. New LibDem leader Gary Lineker “respects” the country’s earlier decision to vote Leave for the fourth time, but insists there must be a further referendum on the final deal.

    • Simon Platt

      Wake up! It’s only a bad dream!

      Isn’t it?

      • Gary Laconic Jr.

        Phew. I blame last night’s strong cheese for such fanciful notions. What nonsense. I mean, to imagine that Philip Hammond might wish to derail Brexit….

  • Simon Platt

    A few historical slips, there.

    Let’s hope the futurology is still more innaccurate.

  • Calvin Graham

    There’s the ‘Tyranny of the Status Quo’ argument but I just don’t see it lasting too much longer, between all the ongoing crises and the incompetence in Brussels. I’ve said since the start that I doubt Brexit will happen because the EU (as we know) it will no longer exist as it does today to Brexit from.

    My cartoon on Brexit and the week’s news
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3XvrYvubuc

    • UKCitizen

      Politicians and the voting public can remain irrational a lot longer than you can remain sane!

    • Thomtids

      The founding premise of the EEC as it transmogrified into the EU, was that it would bumble along so as not to frighten the plebs but encounter regular crises justifying executive action over and above “democratic” support. The 2008 financial crisis was undoubtedly manoeuvred to occur. What has followed has seen enormous real inflation with static monetary value based on worthless printed money making up for negative growth financial status.
      Greece, Catalonia, Britain……who’s next?

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    Dr McCrae

    A frighteningly dark and dystopian vision of the inevitable slide of the EU into totalitarianism – and one that is supported by historic parallels.

    Is the threat of sending in the EU army realistic?

    Sir Roger Scruton and others have recently signed the Paris Statement.

    This is the one insight in the document, which should alarm all those who intend to defend liberty, security and freedom:

    ‘They wish to build supranational institutions that they are able to control without the inconveniences of popular sovereignty. It is increasingly clear that the ‘democratic deficit’ in the European Union is not a mere technical problem to be remedied by technical means. Rather, this deficit is a fundamental commitment, and it is zealously defended.’

    If Brexit fails, then Britain falls into the hands of a new imperial power: the EU.
    Empires make war (the Ukraine), that is their nature.

    Furthermore, an empire can only hold its multi-racial, political and belief factions together by civil (and ultimately military) ‘force’ – preliminary steps are demonstrated by the imposition of civil disabilities.

    In an empire, Christianity must be crushed. It must be crushed, for it puts obedience to its LORD before loyalty to Empire. If it is not, then it risks giving hope for freedom, security and liberty to other ‘identity-factions’. Once that risk materialises, then civil force is necessary (ultimately supported by imperial violence) for there is no other way to defend the Big Lie, constructed upon the continental scale.

  • UKCitizen

    The EU is currently a very large body and the effect of entropy on large bodies means that it can last a long time before it reaches critical mass and implodes. Brexit may jolt it down the timeline a bit if it ever happens and another financial meltdown may well bring it low, but the bureaucratic nature and insidious control over it’s vassal states through the Euro and buying off countries leaders and institutions, will allow the EU to exist as an ideology, even if in a slowly diminishing form.

  • Mr Starter

    There is an ideological tumor growing in the EU that could bring it’s demise, the same disease which is causing death and destruction in countries around the world.The irony is that it’s presence in Europe is self inflicted.History( if knowledge of it is still allowed) will show that the forces of evil finally triumphed.

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      You post is interesting particularly in the use of ‘forces of evil’. I seem to recall the great writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Ben Okri (?) once saying that they believed that there are some sort of intelligent shadows that moved from nation to nation.

      One gets the feeling, that as Judeao-Christianity revives and spreads in the former Soviet Union – its shadows have moved and are hovering over Europe.

      • David

        I do hope you are right. Russia has been reborn as a Christian nation, with the state encouraging the Church. So unlike rapidly de-Christanising secular western Europe where it seems the state is at best indifferent to the Church, and often hostile , Russia has become the last bastion of Christendom, but reborn. Whether the missionaries come from the Third World or the east we need to return to our roots.