Is 2018 the Year Europe Falls Apart?
Europe is full of unexploded bombs. Builders often discover them when digging foundations: shells, rockets, mines and other ordnance that were used in European cities during World War ii. Instead of exploding at the time, they sank into the ground, disappearing from sight and from our memories. But under the surface, these bombs are still here.
When an unexploded bomb is discovered, it must be carefully removed. Even after all this time, if it is disturbed, it can still explode.
Europe is also filled with unexploded bombs of another kind—several of which might explode in 2018.
Many of these unexploded bombs take the form of nationalisms. The “s” is important. This goes beyond the general attitude of, We don’t want migrants. Many are filled with an incendiary passion to leave the European Union; some question whether they want to remain part of their nation.
The right of an ethnic group to determine its own destiny is enshrined in the United Nations charter. But by almost universal agreement, it does not apply to Europe. The principle of ethnic national self-determination was the fuse that exploded the 20th century’s most violent conflicts, most of which started in Europe.
After World War i, when the Allies drafted the Treaty of Versailles, self-determination appeared to be a sound principle. But in practice, it was a disaster. These competing and conflicting nationalisms mean that even after World War i ended, Eastern Europe didn’t stop fighting. The violence continued almost uninterrupted until 1945.
After World War ii, the Allies decided that self-determination was too unstable a compound to experiment with in modern Europe. So a new convention was established: European borders were set, and they were to be left alone. These borders would not be redrawn except by mutual consent.
Europeans in several areas want to change these borders, but they have never grown powerful enough to do so. But in 2017, these minority voices grew stronger and stronger until they became headline news around the world.
The unexploded bombs are being disturbed.
Catalonia is on the brink of trying a new experiment: government by Skype. It faces the farcical situation where the regional leader is on the run from the national government.
Catalonia voted to break away from Spain in a referendum on Oct. 1, 2017. Spain declared the vote illegal, took over the region, disbanded the regional government, arrested some of the main political leaders (who are now facing long jail sentences), and called fresh elections on December 21. They hoped (and polls indicated) that anti-independence parties would win.
They didn’t. Pro-independent parties gained a majority, and the crisis could soon be back.
The Spanish put out a warrant for the arrest of Carles Puigdemont, the former Catalan leader, but he had fled to Brussels. However, on Monday Puigdemont was nominated by the Catalan Parliament’s speaker to head the regional government. He plans to govern from exile by teleconferencing to speak to Parliament.
This situation may be mostly calm right now, but it is still dangerously tense. One wrong move on either side could cause the whole situation to explode into violence once again.
A more dangerous unexploded nationalist bomb lies at the border of Italy and Austria.
South Tyrol is a mostly autonomous province in northern Italy. This area belonged to the empire of Austria-Hungary until 1919, when it lost World War i and was forced to cede the area to Italy. Many in this region still speak German and want to be part of Austria, not Italy.
This problem has been smoldering for decades, but now Austria is stoking the fire by offering to give Austrian passports and citizenship to 300,000 ethnically German inhabitants of South Tyrol. Under this plan, the 60 percent South Tyroleans who speak German would be eligible to claim Austrian citizenship.
Austria may also soon allow South Tyroleans to serve in the Austrian armed forces. It is also involving the area in Austria’s regional government more, including some talks with Austrian state governors.
Heinz-Christian Strache, the vice chancellor of Austria and leader of the Freedom Party of Austria, has in the past demanded the “return [of the] former Austrians to their native country,” according to the German newspaper Aargauer Zeitung.
OpenDemocracy called South Tyrol Italy’s “largest, richest and least Italian” province. If this move inspires a secession movement in South Tyrol, Italy stands to lose a lot.
Italy is furious. Benedetto Della Vedova, undersecretary at the Italian Foreign Ministry, said that Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s decision had “the mark of an ethno-nationalist iron fist.” The president of the European Parliament, Italian Antonio Tajani, said that Europe has “many shortcomings, but it has left the era of nationalisms behind.”
“To grant citizenship based on ethnicity would have extremely serious consequences elsewhere, for instance in the Balkans,” Vedova wrote. “It could lead to the resurgence of territorial demands which would impact the peaceful coexistence of countries in the EU too.”
You can see why the Italians are worried. What Kurz is trying to do is the same as what Russian President Vladimir Putin has done in creating “new Russian citizens” in other nations, then invading those nations to come to their defense.
In South Tyrol, the Austrian government’s proposal was welcomed by most people, including the mainstream conservative party.
Germany has historically supported the push to bring the region back to Austria. Germany’s Christian Social Union has been particularly active. German-Foreign-Policy.com noted that its most prominent leader, the late Franz-Josef Strauss, “was at times involved in support measures in favor” of those who tried to break South Tyrol away from Italy by using terrorism.
With the South Tyrol question making a comeback, German-Foreign-Policy.com noted, “Violent conflicts cannot be ruled out.” It also warned that “an avalanche of similar steps in various other EU states cannot be ruled out; the respective conflicts could dangerously escalate at any time.”
This area has been violent in the past, and the ongoing conflict could quickly re-escalate. We haven’t seen this kind of a border conflict between two European powers for decades.
This conflict could be particularly dangerous because it lies directly between Europe’s biggest divide: between the prosperous north and the struggling south.
Other developments in 2018 may worsen this division.
Germany Steps Up
Over the last fortnight, I’ve written about Germany’s plan to step up in the world. Just over two weeks ago, Germany’s foreign minister proclaimed that the nation needed to abandon its “vegetarian” foreign policy and start eating meat. Last week, I noted how Germany’s new coalition deal demands new power in Europe, for Germany. It calls for nations that don’t comply with Europe’s agenda (an agenda almost always set by Berlin) to lose their EU funds. In practice, it would be a massive fine for disobeying Germany.
Even if Germany’s coalition deals fall apart and this policy proposal recedes to the background, the fact that high-ranking leaders have openly pushed the idea shows that both of Germany’s major parties are ambitious to impose Berlin’s will on Europe.
But if they try this, Germany will face stiff resistance.
In Central and Eastern Europe, voters have made it clear that they don’t want more migrants. If Germany tries to force them to take more by threatening to cut off the EU money they rely on, they will fight back.
2018 could be the year Germany starts throwing its weight around, and if that happens, other European nations will definitely react. If Germany is going to use its economic and political power more openly, it will face much more opposition.
The euro crisis has already shown that it can win those battles, but it will mean more conflict.
The Great Southern European Revolt
Since the start of the euro crisis, Germany has been threatened several times with the great southern European revolt.
The euro crisis has shown Germany’s dominance of the EU. However, thus far that power is built upon paper: treaties and EU agreements. A southern European country could potentially throw those treaties into the waste bin and dare Germany to force them to comply.
Germany has won so far by avoiding this kind of showdown.
It came close in 2015, when Greece voted in a referendum to reject Europe’s bailout conditions. But the Greek prime minister quickly backed down. According to then Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, he did so because he feared that if he did not, a German-backed coup would depose him.
The great southern European revolt, if it happens, would be a defining moment for Europe. It would force Germany to exercise power on a scale it has not in recent history—or it will lose all its power in Europe.
Italy is the next nation considering such a revolt. Leaders on both Italy’s left and right are plotting to “subvert monetary union from the inside with parallel currencies and deficit spending in open violation of the Maastricht Treaty,” Ambrose Evans-Pritchard wrote on January 17. This is just as dangerous for Germany as if Italy were to leave the euro and “far more likely to happen.”
Euroskeptic populist parties in Italy are on course to be in the majority after elections, scheduled for March 4. These parties are on different sides of the left-right divide, but all resent Europe’s control on Italy’s economy. All want to break free of European limits on Italian government spending.
Several right-wing parties published a joint manifesto that essentially calls for the government to defy Germany and print its own money. When outlining details to Evans-Pritchard, the Northern League’s economics spokesman Claudio Borghi said, “If people say this looks very like a parallel currency, who am I to disagree.”
If Italy follows through, “it would subvert the [European Central Bank’s] control over the money supply and rapidly destroy German consent for the euro project,” Evans-Pritchard wrote.
Which brings us back to South Tyrol. The general consensus is that Austria will tolerate South Tyrol as being part of Italy as long as both are part of the eurozone. But if that falls apart, the gloves come off and Austria may demand South Tyrol from Italy. The issuance of passports and similar moves prepare for that possibility.
South Tyrol could very quickly become part of any conflict between Italy and Germany. If Italy does try to defy Germany, this is just one way it could strike back.
There is plenty of scope for chaos and conflict in Europe, and South Tyrol could even be a sign that Austria is preparing for it. If so, it would not be the only one.
Last year, leaked documents published by Der Spiegel showed that the German Army was preparing for a possible “collapse of the EU.”
Commenting on this news in a Key of David program, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said that German military strategists “don’t have confidence in America, and they know that the European Union’s going to fall apart. They now have 27 nations, and God says there will be only 10 kings in that Holy Roman Empire.”
Revelation 17:12 prophesies of a European power comprised of 10 kings who combine their power in submission to one strongman.
Right now the EU is made up of 28 nations. Once Britain officially leaves, it will still have 27. That means quite a bit of falling apart in Europe. This shift from a 27-nation EU to a 10-nation military power will probably be traumatic. The unification of these 10 nations won’t be easy, but a collapse of the EU and the use of force could well pave the way to that union.
The European Union will not last in its current form. In December 2008, in the midst of the worldwide financial crisis, Mr. Flurry wrote that a crisis would “force Europeans to succumb to a strong united government of Europe, led ultimately not from Brussels, but from Berlin” (emphasis added).
The Catalan crisis, the South Tyrol crisis, the Greek crisis, the euro crisis, the refugee crisis—these are all threats to Europe. For Europe to survive, events must move in this prophetic direction.
In that article, Mr. Flurry concluded: “The crisis in Greece is a forerunner of a whole rash of similar crises set to soon break out across Europe. They will provide the catalyst for the EU’s leading nation, Germany, to rise to the fore with solutions of its own making. Biblical prophecy declares that the result will be a European superstate with Germany at the helm. And that is not good news for America, Britain and the little nation called Israel.”
This is exactly what we see happening today. Watch Catalonia, but most of all, watch for this reshaped European power to rise. For more information on what this power will look like, read our free book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy.