The more time that passes since the European Union announced its €750 billion rescue package for the eurozone, the more we seem to discover about the severity of the financial crisis ripping through Europe.
How serious is it?
Last Wednesday Angela Merkel, the normally reserved chancellor of Germany, told the German parliament that “nothing less than the future of Europe is at stake.” Extreme measures must be taken, Merkel warned, to “avoid a chain reaction to the European and international financial system .…” In Poland the next day, Merkel stated that the crisis was the “greatest test Europe has faced since 1990, if not in the 53 years since the passage of the Treaties of Rome.” Think on that: The leader of the most influential country in the EU believes the union could be facing its greatest challenge since its inception over half a century ago.
Truly, we are at this very moment—and in the days and weeks ahead—witnessing the most transformative period in Europe since World War ii!
It won’t be long before the political and economic ramifications of Europe’s ongoing financial crisis will be felt globally. In the immediate term, however, one nation in particular will experience the tectonic shifts now underway in European politics and finance.
Just as Europe was approaching financial meltdown, Britain was bogged down in a post-election leadership crisis. General elections in Britain took place May 6, but it took till May 11 before a clear-cut victor emerged to take Britain’s helm. During the four days in which the UK was essentially headless, events of terrific magnitude unfolded in Europe.
On May 10, with British politics in complete disarray, the German-led European Union made a bold move toward greater financial and political control over Europe!
When you think on the news of Europe’s financial crisis over the last two weeks, what personalities come to mind? French President Nicolas Sarkozy dominated the headlines; so did Angela Merkel and Greek President Karolos Papoulias, as well as personalities from the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Even President Barack Obama made the front page. Meanwhile, as the massive financial crisis unraveled across the Channel, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron were as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel.
The relative silence of Britain’s leaders between May 6 and May 11 is all the more alarming when you consider the fiscal and political ramifications for Britain of the trillion-dollar bailout. For example, within 48 hours of the EU announcing the rescue package for eurozone states, the European Commission had proposed its first set of economic reforms for Europe. First, mechanisms ought to be created to more consistently enforce punishment of a member state if it breaches EU rules on budget deficits and federal debt. Second, surveillance of the fiscal operations of EU member states by the European Commission must be stepped up. Third, national budgets of EU member states will be vetted by the European Commission before implementation.
These conditions may have been proposed by the European Commission, but they are being energetically promoted by Berlin.
“Berlin has written some very large checks to ameliorate the economic crisis,” Stratfor explained last week, and in return, “Germany wants to redefine how the eurozone is run.” In the short term, and while the threat of “financial Armageddon” still looms, this will “prompt potentially momentous institutional changes in Europe” (May 14; emphasis mine throughout). Yesterday, Germany’s Spiegel Online reported: “In addition to pushing for increased regulation of hedge funds and of the financial markets, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has drafted a list of proposals to revamp the European common currency. From suspending voting rights to national bankruptcy proceedings, the plan is far-reaching.”
How far-reaching are Germany’s designs on Europe?
“Just when you thought the EU could not go any further down the road towards authoritarian excess, it gets worse,” wrote the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in response to the idea of EU powers, under the watchful eyes of Berlin, vetting the budgets of EU member states (May 14). Under this new condition, “EU finance ministers will pass judgment on the British (or Dutch, or Danish, or French) budgets before the elected bodies of these ancient and sovereign nations have seen the proposals,” he warned.
“Did we not we not fight the English Civil War and kill a king over such a prerogative?” Evans-Pritchard lamented.
Of course, Britain can do what it has always done when it comes to EU initiatives it does not like: It can refuse to participate or simply drag its feet in implementing them. Essentially, this is what it did last week, when after agreeing to contribute £13 billion to the EU rescue package, it refused to offer another £50 billion of loan guarantees to its European partners. Problem is, with Europe tottering on the edge of financial Armageddon, any non-compliance by Britain only heightens tensions with Europe.
Consider, for example, the comment last week by Jean-Pierre Jouyet, current chairman of France’s financial services authority, in response to Britain’s refusal to get on board the EU’s rescue package for the eurozone. “The English are very certainly going to be targeted given the political difficulties they have,” he warned. On May 11, French bank bnp Paribas warned its clients that Britain would very soon have its “Greek moment,” which would inevitably cause Britain to lose its high credit rating, in turn precipitating a run on the pound. “Help yourself and heaven will help you,” Jouyet told Britain acidly. “If you don’t want to show solidarity to the eurozone, then let’s see what happens to the United Kingdom.”
The warning from France was bitter and clear: A financial crisis in Britain is imminent, and when it hits, Britain should not count on Europe for assistance!
On Tuesday, the assault on Britain continued when EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to introduce tougher regulation on the hedge fund industry. With an estimated 80 percent of Europe’s hedge funds based in London, Europe’s plans to regulate hedge funds threatens, as London Mayor Boris Johnson has previously warned, to “strangle” London as a financial center. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s reaction to the decision reveals just how much—or how little—Germany empathizes with Britain’s plight on this issue. “I think that Britain will understand,” he stated nonchalantly. “That’s how it is in Europe. We are a union, and there are decisions that go against individual countries, but that can happen to any one country.” Really, Mr. Schäuble?
How many decisions of this magnitude have gone against the German government recently?
Evans-Pritchard stated that “[t]he moment of definition is fast arriving for Britain” (op. cit). As this crisis unfolds, and as German-inspired European imperialism takes hold of Europe’s finances and politics, it “will put Britain and the eurozone on such separate courses that it will amount to separation in all but name,” he wrote.
For those who understand Bible prophecy and read the Trumpet regularly, that is an electrifying observation. With Bible prophecy as his guide, and for year after year, decade upon decade, Herbert Armstrong explained that Britain would not remain a part of Europe. In fact, when Britain joined the European Community on Jan. 1, 1973, he warned that it would prove to be a “tragically historic date” for Britain—a date “fraught with ominous potentialities” (Plain Truth, March 1973).
Today, the “ominous potentialities” Mr. Armstrong warned about have become ominous realities!
In the time ahead expect Europe, especially Germany, to apply immense pressure on Britain and on the newly elected government of Conservative leader David Cameron. Britain will be pressured to fall in line with Berlin’s ongoing reconfiguration of Europe. More than likely, however, Britain will not slip happily into Germany’s posse of minion states. In fact, as the Trumpet has explained for years, expect Britain to either remove itself from the European Union, or to be actively cast out by Germany for not cooperating.
Either way, events that have unfolded in Europe in recent days mean that Britain’s exodus from Europe is imminent! ▪