The grandson of one of the primary architects of the European Union warned this week that Europe will fail if debt-stricken nations like Greece are not allowed to leave the eurozone.
Shortly before issuing this warning, Stephan Werhahn quit the Christian Democratic Union, which was founded by his grandfather Konrad Adenauer, in protest against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pro-bailout policies. Werhahn now plans to stand as the chancellor candidate of Bavaria’s Free Voters party in next year’s federal elections. His primary platform is that the euro should be limited to a handful of homogeneous, northern European states.
This platform is similar to ideas espoused by other German elites, such as EU anti-bureaucracy czar Edmund Stoiber. During an interview in 2011, Stoiber reminisced that he had wanted a smaller, more unified eurozone. In other interviews Stoiber has further admitted that it should be possible for member states to be excluded from the eurozone if they refuse to get their financial house in order.
Unlike Werhahn, however, Stoiber still supports the Christian Democratic Union and espouses a belief that Germany should give bailout money to ailing eurozone states, but only in cases where the recipient country is willing to submit to German-imposed conditions. “A bailout only makes sense if the indebted countries, such as Greece, may be prescribed a relativization of sovereignty,” said Stoiber in an August 2011 interview. “The wages in these countries cannot increase; taxes will have to be increased.”
In an interview conducted last summer at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg also outlined a similar plan to reshape the European Union. During this interview, Guttenberg stated that European leaders need to hold a discussion on continental unity similar to the discussions held in the United States between 1776 and 1789.
Guttenberg admitted that it would be “lovely” to have 28 European states (including Croatia) living “in a glorious equilibrium,” but said he didn’t think such an arrangement could ever be reality. Instead, he advocated a multispeed Europe wherein some member states had more influence than others:
So, my plea in this regard is to accept that we have had a Europe of different speeds from the beginning, from the very beginning when we were talking about a European Economic Community of six. Already, we had different phases of development in the countries we are talking about and that has, I think, [become] even more dramatized within the years and within the decades leading up until now. So, having not only a dual-speed, but a multiple-speed Europe would actually need a vision or an idea of a different shape of the European Union, also a different shape of the monetary union .…
Like Werhahn and Stoiber, Guttenberg stated that he does not exclude scenarios involving certain member states stepping outside of the eurozone:
I would not exclude, for instance, a scenario where we have member states stepping out of the euro, well knowing that that cause is more than just numbers and technological questions of how to deal with the banking system.… You also have to deal with the emotional aspects that are connected to that, and that’s the inequality you have in that very equation.… I can imagine such a step if you take that idea seriously to somehow cope with a Europe and a eurozone of different speeds .…
He also stated, however, that it may be necessary to set up certain “focused projects” that delegate a high level of influence to financially stable non-eurozone members like Poland and Sweden:
[I]f I see how incredibly well Poland has developed during the last couple of years, I think if you talk about major economic changes within Europe you cannot just silently overturn your neighbor to the right in Germany, but you have to take them into a rather shaky boat as well. The same is true of Sweden; the same is true of partners which are not part of the monetary union right now, but which could be part of very focused projects that should be made possible within the European Union. I am the strongest imaginable advocate for the European Union to survive, to sustain, to prevail .…
According to the tenants of this vision outlined by Baron Guttenberg, it would be easy for the European Union to emerge as a superstate composed of a small number of dominant, tier-one nations and a larger number of submissive, tier-two nations. Many German elites may find such a system to be an appealing way to maximize their influence over the entire European continent without giving undue amounts of power to nations possessing objectives contrary to their own.
The biblical image of Daniel 2 shows that an end-time resurrection of the Roman Empire will be composed of 10 kings. Baron Guttenberg’s comments on European nations like Poland show how the European Union could be “reshaped” to include additional Eastern European powers. Regardless of exactly how the details play out, it is certain that a German-led European empire will soon rise, bound together by the tenants of Roman Catholicism and involving 10 kings.