Cracks Appear in the EU Facade
The signs are that the months ahead will see a new form of European Union evolving out of the present cumbersome, and divided, 27-nation monolith that has creaked and groaned along in increasing disarray since celebrating its 50th anniversary a year ago.
The vote by the Irish against ratification of the Lisbon Treaty seems to be the straw that is breaking the camel’s back of the European Union in its present state. Increasing division is coming to the fore within leadership ranks in the EU as each day passes since the Irish threw out the Lisbon Treaty on June 12. Calls for a two-speed EU are once again being heard by those who wish to ignore the democratic process, trample the will of the people underfoot and ride roughshod over any EU member nation that is reluctant to follow the Brussels agenda.
One of the most assertive of those voices is that of the German vice chancellor and foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. European Foundation reports that, in addition to suggesting that the ratification process should proceed, Steinmeier “has also suggested that if Ireland cannot be persuaded to hold a second referendum then the country should partially stay out of integration. He made a reference immediately after the referendum result was announced to the prospect that [regardless of the declared will of the Irish electorate], ‘Ireland would for a while make the way open for the remaining 26 states to pursue integration’” (June 24). So much for the veracity of a treaty that unequivocally declares that ratification cannot proceed without the unanimous consent of all EU member nations.
The same source notes, “This is another way of saying that the old German concept of the ‘hard core’ (Kerneuropa) is about to make a comeback—the idea that some EU states should be able to group together within the institutions of the EU without other peripheral states being able to stop them. The Lisbon Treaty would therefore somehow enter into force without those states which did not ratify it.”
The problem with Steinmeier’s stance is that it places him at odds with his chancellor, Angela Merkel. She is credited by many with the successful revival of the European Constitution—dressed in its new clothes as the “Lisbon Treaty”—during her presidency of the EU in the first half of 2007, and also with persuading her fellow EU leaders to sign up to the treaty, notwithstanding the known lack of support for the document from the public within a number of EU member nations.
For this, Angela Merkel was last month awarded the Charlemagne Prize.
Recently, in an address to lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, Merkel stated, “A two-speed Europe is not the way forward. We must ensure that treaties in the EU are promoted unanimously. … European unity has and will always guide me. We need the Lisbon Treaty” (Bloomberg, June 19).
But neither that view of the German chancellor, nor the opposing view of her vice chancellor, reflect by any means a majority mindset within the ranks of EU leaders. As Bloomberg reported, “Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said he expects the Irish to vote again and Czech President Vaclav Klaus declared the treaty dead. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi contradicted Merkel’s stance, saying that Ireland will be left to find its own way out” (ibid.).
Confusion reigns in the EU. The cracks that the Irish vote has exposed in the EU facade of unity may well be irreparable, in the sense of the European Union advancing in its present form. The EU is unraveling at the seams.
And the signs are that the upcoming French presidency of the EU will do nothing but exacerbate the current confusion. For a start, France’s President Sarkozy and Germany’s Chancellor Merkel have a tendency to rub each other the wrong way. This is causing tensions in the Franco-German engine that has spearheaded any semblance of European unity to this point.
Whichever way you slice the cake of this current EU crisis, one glaring reality seems apparent. Enlargement of the European Union using its traditional methods cannot proceed. In fact, following the outcome of the Irish vote, President Sarkozy went as far as declaring that enlargement of the EU will come to a halt if the Lisbon Treaty does not enter into force, stating at a press conference in Brussels on June 19, “It is certain that as long as we have not solved the institutional problem, the question of enlargement is stopped de jure or de facto” (EUobserver, June 20).
With a sound excuse to stop enlargement progressing in the traditional EU manner, the way would then be open for a core of EU member nations having a common synergy to more aggressively pursue the goal of the EU’s chief visionaries toward imperial power, propelled by Berlin and Rome under a dynamically aggressive leadership of a type more reminiscent of Europe’s past and evocative of its prophesied immediate destiny (Daniel 2:40-43; Revelation 13:1-4; 17:1-7, 12-13).
Could this present EU crisis of enlargement herald the reduction of a core Europe down to the prophesied 10 lead nations that we have anticipated for some time?
The fact of the EU being plunged into a crisis that would stall enlargement was highlighted recently by Stratfor. “In the wake of Ireland’s ‘no’ vote on the Lisbon Treaty referendum June 12, the European Union is undergoing an institutional crisis. Though EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said June 16 that there is no direct link between the Irish vote and EU enlargement, Brussels will be too busy handling the EU’s existential crisis to focus on expansion efforts. … The Irish ‘no’ vote on the Lisbon Treaty referendum on June 12, besides throwing the European Union into an immediate institutional crisis, might have closed the door on further enlargement as well” (June 16, emphasis mine throughout).
The gravest risk to further colonization of nation states by the EU is to its Balkan strategy. As Stratfor points out, “With the Lisbon Treaty now on ice and potentially scrapped altogether, enlargement will be an afterthought (if it is a thought at all) for most member states.
“It is now also doubtful whether the EU will complete the ratification of its last four Stabilization and Association Agreements (saas), made with Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina” (ibid.).
These saas are an important strategic component in the EU’s plan to stabilize the Balkans and incorporate the vital crossroads of the Balkan Peninsula into their vision of a federal Europe through the adoption of EU laws and regulations. However, as Stratfor further observes, “[T]he agreements have to be ratified by every single EU member state before they come into force. The failure of the Lisbon Treaty will make this ratification process highly susceptible to chaos …” (ibid.).
With EU administration of Kosovo already in chaos, the stalling of ratification of these saas is bound to place ongoing security and order within the Balkan Peninsula back in the headlines.
Tension is building within Europe politically, economically, and within the general social order such as to create the beginnings of an almighty continental crisis that will soon demand strong, decisive action to enable the European vision to survive and achieve the end goals of its prime movers and shakers.
Despite these tensions, and the divisions of opinion as to the future direction of the EU, Germany and France agree on one thing—that it is high time for the EU to have its own military force. This, Sarkozy has declared, is top of his agenda for France’s upcoming six-month stint in the presidency of the EU. In addition, German leaders have ensured that it will top the agenda at the next nato summit in 2009, during which a new approach to European defense and security is slated to be tabled, including a nuclear first-strike option!
The revolving door of history could well mean that, should the current EU crisis stall the accession process for Albania, Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina toward EU membership, the Balkan powder keg could blow yet again. If this be the case, it could just be that, with the U.S. disinclined to stretch its strained forces to another theater of conflict, the EU may well come to the fore and enforce order in the Balkans in what Helmut Kohl once described as “our traditional way.” And that could provide just the opportunity to propel Europe’s most dominant nation into the unopposed military and political leadership of this final resurrection of the old “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.”
Read our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire for more information on this subject.