When dealing with the Greek debacle of last July, political analysts often describe it as an unequal power relation between Greece and other Member States in the Euro group, lead by Germany. However, a major actor is missing from this picture. Indeed, the role of the US in EU’s affairs is no secret, and most relevant documents on the question are not even confidential anymore (see Ambrose Evans Pritchard, Daily Telegraph, Sept 19, 2000).
However, and to my regret and astonishment, given the volume of evidence confirming the leading role of the U.S. in the making of the European Union, most of what is written on these recent events has not taken into account its geopolitical aspect, where the United States, as many Latin American readers might expect, take a central role, especially in its development phase.
A political project with deep roots
Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, the U.S. and its spying agencies conducted a massive campaign with the goal of creating a single European market with its own currency and a centralized political structure. The goal for the Americans was ambitious though easy to summarize: to create a U.S.-dominated region – both economically and militarily – that would allow its “manifest destiny“ to be fulfilled: a region comprising the U.S. and most of Europe (minus Russia of course) that would very much fit the contours of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement region with Germany as its main partner.
This EU as envisioned by the United States would also have gotten rid of Nation-States (except perhaps Germany) by promoting smaller and transborder regions, or euro-regions, a process of which we are only seeing the first stages now with the independence claims of Catalonia, the Basque Country, Scotland, today and perhaps Brittony, Northern Italy and Alsace tomorrow.
Think tanks rather than Sherman tanks
The vehicle through which this political vision was accomplished in the post WWII period was the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), a CIA front with barely any excuse for being anything other. Its board of directors was filled with prominent members of the U.S. secret services, including former heads of OSS/CIA: Gen. W.J. Donovan, Allen Dulles and W. B. Smith...
The ACUE funded as well as directed the Federalist movement (founded in 1943). The Federalist movement would be one of the most important and earliest promoters in Europe of the idea of an integrated Europe. Its ideological basis was rather left-leaning in rhetoric and its self-proclaimed values, built around the idea that “the dividing line between reactionary and progressive parties no longer follows the formal line of greater or lesser democracy, or of more or less socialism”, as stated in their manifesto, but rather there are “those who conceive the essential purpose (...) as the ancient one (...) that is the conquest of political power – and who, although involuntarily, play into the hands of reactionary forces” and “those who see the creation of a solid international State (the EU) as the main purpose”.
In the Federalists manifesto one can appreciate the origins of today’s pavlovian association in the European press between leaving the EU and right-wing ideology (Le Pen in France, Liga Del Norte in Italy, etc). Indeed, what exactly is right-wing about sovereignty? Asking the question is of course to answer it…
U.S. influence in the EU today
Perhaps a more striking example is that of the European Movement International (EMI), a deep-seated institution still existing today, a think tank or what we would simply call today a lobby group. Created in 1947, the EMI is one of the most important institutions that aim at promoting European integration. Their funding has been mainly through the ACUE (ergo the CIA) and several institutions like the Rockefeller or the Ford foundation, also known for their ties with the CIA. The EMI is composed of 33 international member associations, among which one can find many youth groups (always a primary target in modern insurgency) like the Erasmus student network, the famous European exchange program, the European student’s forum, the Young European federalists ... but also Labor Unions, journalists, military groups and a wide variety of professions.
Another example of youth being the primary target of U.S. propaganda through its secret services was the European Youth Campaign. The so-called activists for this campaign that was best remembered for their slogan “We are Europe” lead their campaign to promote European integration between 1951 and 1958. According to Christina Norwig, a PhD student that worked on the subject: “The U.S. had financed the youth movements after WW II for political reasons in the Cold War period but in 1958 these financial support was stopped. The official argument was that since Europe had now its own institutions it was the task of Europe to promote youth activities.” Indeed, in 1957 the Treaty of Rome was signed between France, Italy, Germany and the Benelux countries, rendering obsolete the funding of the campaign through the ACUE.
It is quite striking to see how most of these supposedly European institutions, think tanks, magazines, student groups, etc. are all so closely connected to the U.S. government to U.S. interests, and those ties do not stop at the level of lobby groups and think tanks…
Barroso and the CIA
Many of the Commissioners in Brussels are known pro-U.S. advocates and many have or have had connections with U.S. institutions. But if one were to give one paradigmatic example of the close ties – to say the least – between U.S. interests and the EU that would be the case of Jose Manuel Barroso, the former president of the European Commission (2004-2014).
Barroso was the Former President of the Maoists Student association in Portugal in 1974 – in the middle of the “Carnation Revolution.” After the overthrow of the dictatorship, the U.S. were afraid to see the highly popular communist party of Portugal (PCP) win the election and put the country in the orbit of Moscow. The U.S. then sent a new ambassador to Lisbon. His name was Frank Carlucci, but he was not just like any other diplomat.
Carlucci not only later became the Secretary of Defense under Reagan (‘87-‘89) but was also the Deputy Director of the CIA between 1978-81 and a member of the Carlyle group (see the Bush family). In other words Carlucci was the man of the secret services in 1974 when he took office at the U.S. embassy in Lisbon.
His tactic in Portugal was simple: to build a network of pro-U.S. political figures that would span from across the spectrum. J.M.Barroso immediately became Carlucci’s favorite. From then on Barroso’s career skyrocketed. From student unionist to academic at Georgetown U. – the cradle of the CIA -- in Washington DC, and thanks to a scholarship from... NATO! Later he became the Prime Minister of Portugal, having been promoted by the media like no other politician in his country before.
Finally in 2003 after huge public outcry, and as Prime Minister, Barroso was forced to back down from privately selling – without public procurement – the National Oil Company to... the Carlyle group.
Evidently, this might be considered mere conjecture, however when one looks more closely the body of evidence grows substantially, which points at the U.S. influence in the making of the European Union, from its earliest stages in the postwar period to the present day …