The Bullies of Europe
While U.S. citizens are lulled back to sleep after a Middle East war victory, a new battle rages among European Union member states. As the Union is set to expand from 15 to 25 members next year, the Convention on the Future of Europe has drafted a radically new EU constitution. This draft, presented to European leaders June 20, has enraged many delegates and European citizens over the imbalance of power it would create in EU institutions.
In the proposed amendments, the European Council would replace its rotating presidency with a full-time president. The new post of EU foreign minister would be created, and the European Commission would be pared down. Additionally, qualified majority voting would be extended to include more than 20 additional areas, eliminating the national veto in these areas.
Through these propositions, smaller member states would lose their equal right to representation in the Commission, and power would be consolidated within the EU’s six biggest nations: Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Spain and Poland.
Chairman of the Convention Valery Giscard d’Estaing declared in May that, “EU member states are not equal.” He stated that, although member states should have “equivalent rights,” this did not mean they should be accorded equality with their bigger cousins. An insider close to Giscard d’Estaing said that the taboo of all states being equal must be broken if the Union is to be built on “sound political foundations.”
At present, each country is guaranteed one commissioner, with larger nations having two. The proposed changes limit the size of the European Commission to 15 executive members, “with the Commission president free to choose his teamwithout regard for their nationality” (Irish Times, May 17; emphasis mine). The smaller states, in particular the eastern and southern candidate countries, argue that each member should be guaranteed a commissioner to protect their national interests in Brussels.
It is noteworthy that these amendments were made to the draft constitution just months after several of the “big” nations scolded a number of candidate countries for their outspoken support for U.S. policies.
For example, last August Romania contractually promised not to extradite Americans to the International Criminal Court. A Washington Post article showed how the EU “registered its displeasure with Romania and then warned ‘other candidate countries which have also been approached by the United States’ not to ‘make any more moves to agree to sign such an accord.’
“A few months earlier, the prime minister of the Czech Republic was attacked for making highly ungenerous statements about Yasser Arafat. ‘Such language is not what we expect from a future member state,’ declared the European Union, an unsubtle threat to the Czech application for EU membership” (Feb. 21).
Most recently, some Eastern European candidates for EU membership openly defied France and Germany by backing the U.S.-led war on Iraq. This again was met by serious rebuke, with French President Jacques Chirac attacking Eastern Europe as “not very well behaved and reckless.” For one professor at New York University in Prague, Czech Republic, “[T]he implied message that Eastern Europe must choose between the U.S. and Western Europe seemed cruel after decades of totalitarian rule” (Reuters, May 16).
After the fall of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a unipolar system with a militarily dominant U.S., to many European leaders the world lacked “balance.” Europe’s leaders are seeking to counterbalance this lopsided world order by forming a powerful European superstate.
Although it is in Europe’s interest to expand its territory eastward for commercial reasons, politically the more influential EU states would rather not have to deal with an additional 10 nations in their executive Commission. That is why they are so keen on the proposed amendments.
Among eurozone countries, the nations driving the further unification of Europe are also proposing a reduction in influence of nations that oppose increasing federalism. One way is by removing the voting rights of nations with opposing views. “European finance ministers from the 12 single-currency countries moved decisively last night to take more control over their own economic affairs. They said they should be solely responsible for more decisions affecting only the eurozone, and that non-euro countries such as Britain, Sweden and Denmark should not have a vote” (Financial Times, London, May 13).
At the Mercy of the Council
In effect, the draft constitution consolidates a new legal entity akin to a giant federal state. An innovative clause (Article 46) has been included proposing that if a country wants to leave the EU, it has to notify the Council of the EU, which will decide, by qualified majority, the terms of the agreement. As the votes of the member states are weighted according to population, can we see the tremendous power this gives Europe’s larger nations?
This spells an end to the last relics of sovereignty of each and every member state. Once accepted, member states are bound by a constitution to be enforced by a reduced group of powerful states. If the policies or direction of these few leading nations do not suit a particular member state, it will be presented the option of withdrawing from the Union, but under the conditions—and at the mercy—of the members of the Council, in which the most influence is held by representatives from the same nations whose policies caused the withdrawal in the first place!
That is not all. The creation of the post of a permanent president of the European Council, to replace the current rotating presidency, carries implications so far-reaching, no human being—void of revealed understanding—can foresee the consequences. The Council is where EU national leaders meet to set policy. Larger countries complain that the current rotation reduces the EU’s effectiveness and dilutes the focus of the presidency and that the musical chairs system can only worsen the bloc’s decision-making difficulties when it expands to 25 members in May of next year.
However, “[S]maller countries … fear that the voting superiority of the larger nations will mean that presidents will come from those countries” (bbc News, May 16). That is a realistic fear. With larger nations having proportionately the most voting power in the Council, the persons to fill the two most powerful positions—the presidency and the minister for foreign relations—could conceivably be chosen by a few heavyweight EU countries.
A Time of Trouble
These far-reaching changes will bring to the fore a most powerful politician to lead Europe. With decision-making power in the hands of the nations that want to bring Europe back to world power status, this man will arise in their midst to spark a radical shift in policy that will prove detrimental to the U.S., Britain and the rest of the world (Hab. 1:6-11). The unfolding of the Holy Roman Empire’s final resurrection is being exposed in greater detail through these current events.
Watch for the leading nations of Europe to continue bullying their smaller neighbors into submission as the finalization of a European Constitution looms at the EU_summit in October. The new European constitution portends the virtual enslavement of member states to the will of those minds that drive this Europower (Rev. 17:13).
The Bible reveals how 10 kings will give their power and authority to this beast power (v. 12)—in tune with the idea we see being proposed for Europe’s constitution. Soon, one leader will wield tremendous power in the upcoming “United States of Europe” (Dan. 11:21-24, 36-39)—setting a policy for destruction and waging war as we have never seen to date (Isa. 10:5-7; Rev. 13:4). The constitution that will enable this man to exercise such incredible command is only months from being finally ratified! The final text will be adopted at a conference in October. That singular action will unleash a chain of events destined to rock this world to its very foundations!