France: The Beginning of the End

For 14 years now, the Trumpet has foretold of the unification of Europe under German leadership. For more than 50 years before us, our parent magazine, the Plain Truth, spread the same message. Even as the dead were buried and the wounded limped from World War II’s battlefields, the Plain Truth’s editor in chief, Herbert W. Armstrong, warned of the future resurrection of Germany.
From the September 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the Trumpet’s editor in chief, Gerald Flurry, as a geopolitical weatherman, has been monitoring this intensifying storm in Europe, documenting the rise of Germany and the unification of Europe. What’s more, the Trumpet has shown the future of this European combine. The rise of a German-led Europe has been perhaps the most discussed subject in all of our writings.

There is, however, one aspect of this subject that some might believe the Trumpet has missed. Oddly enough, it is a seemingly obvious part of the puzzle, even to the mainstream news media. This would be France.

Read any newspaper discussing the leadership of the European Union, and France is virtually always mentioned. Terms such as Franco-German axis, European triumvirate (comprised of France, Britain and Germany) and Old Europe (France and Germany being the key nations) are commonplace in the news media. The clear implication is that France is and will remain a key component of European growth. In news media across the globe, France is seen as a key player in the unification and leadership of Europe.

Yet, in this magazine, which has focused greatly on the unification of Europe, France has received nowhere near as much attention as Germany. Most of the time, it has only been when France has come into contact with Germany that the nation has even been mentioned. We have never written one article indicating that France will lead the EU—despite the important leadership role in the EU that the nation has been playing. Is the Trumpet missing something here? Just what is France’s role in the EU?

The reason we have written little about France’s role in the EU is the same as the reason we have written little about Holland’s, Spain’s or Portugal’s role in the EU. Put simply, Bible prophecy tells us that these nations are more followers than leaders in this European combine—known in the Bible as the king of the north (Daniel 11:40). The Trumpet monitors Europe from the biblical perspective, and as we have clearly proved over the years, the nation most behind the unification and leadership of the king of the north is Germany. The Bible tells us this is the nation to watch.

With this in mind, there is a trend that involves France we can expect to see: France will be sidelined from leadership of the EU. While it is true that France and Germany have been the two primary nations behind the unification of Europe, France’s influence in the EU will begin to wane, and it will become more of a follower of Germany than a leader with Germany. Bible prophecy reveals this fact.

Beginning of the End

In August, EU Commission President-elect José Manuel Durao Barroso revealed who will be filling the 25 positions in the European Commission when he assumes his position in November. As the executive arm of the European Union, the European Commission is responsible for proposing legislation to the European Parliament and enforcing EU laws—and even levies and fines against member states for noncompliance (Stratfor, August 13).

Within the Commission, some portfolios are more important than others. For example, the three separate portfolios of competition, internal market and trade essentially determine the direction of the entire EU economy. The three nations that hold these posts have significant influence over the EU’s economic future.

One significant step toward marginalizing France from European leadership was taken when France was assigned the relatively unimportant portfolio of transport in the European Commission. “There are a half-dozen critical posts on the Commission, of which the one that France was left holding—transport—is not counted” (ibid.; emphasis mine throughout). For being a traditionally key player in the evolution of Europe, France was essentially shafted. And France’s bad fortune didn’t end there.

“Barroso put the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom—the three most economically liberal members of the old EU 15, who often find themselves at odds with France’s Eurosocialism—in charge of competition policy, internal markets and trade policy, arguably the three most critical positions for determining the broad direction of the Union’s economic evolution” (ibid.). Even the smaller nations of Latvia and Hungary were given greater portfolios than France—taxation and customs, and energy, respectively.

To offset France’s disappointing assignment, it, along with Germany, Estonia, Italy and Sweden, was given the position of vice president of the European Commission.

Although Germany did not receive the position of “super-commissioner” as it had hoped—a position yet to be created which would combine several economic posts into one—it still received the important portfolio of enterprise and industry, as well as vice president. Germany continues to wield significant influence in the European Commission.

There is no mistaking that France’s role in the EU is being reduced. “Figure in that trade, a portfolio that the French held in the last Commission, is now in British hands and that the new ‘foreign minister of the EU’ position created by the new constitution operates only with unanimous consent of EU members, and it is clear that France has lost all of its levers over the European Union’s external affairs” (ibid.).

Remember, France’s diminishing role in the EU is only significant as it relates to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. And while prophecy does not specifically discuss France’s waning influence, it does discuss Germany’s increasing influence. France’s diminution of leadership will allow Germany’s influence over Europe to grow.

The time of France riding Germany’s coattails in the leadership of Europe is about to end. As time goes on, you will see Germany share the leadership of Europe less and less with other European nations. France’s failure to receive a significantly influential position in the European Commission is one of the first signs of this key trend in European affairs to watch.