Europe’s Far Right: From Fringe to Mainstream

Europe’s Far Right: From Fringe to Mainstream

Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

The far right shocks the world in France. A leading German politician says Islam ‘does not belong in Germany.’ Views that were once considered extreme are the new normal in Europe.

Anti-immigration and anti-Islam policies are now mainstream in Europe. A few years ago, they came only from fringe groups. The Party for Freedom (pvv) in the Netherlands, Jobbik in Hungary and Future of Austria (bzö), for example, shocked politicians across the Continent, coming from nowhere, while more established parties languished.

It was a radical shift in European politics. But since then, Europe has gone through another shift, even more radical.

The Trumpet covered the rise of these fringe groups in August 2010. In October that year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed that multiculturalism had “utterly failed.” In February the next year, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron followed suit. Worried by the rise of the far right, Europe’s mainstream parties began to move into its turf.

‘Fringe’ Groups Still Strong

Despite this shift to the right, the fringe groups are still popular. So popular that “formerly fringe” would perhaps be a better way to describe them. In the first round of France’s presidential elections, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen won a record 18 percent of the vote. “We have blown apart the monopoly of the two parties of banking, finance and multinationals,” said Le Pen. “Nothing will ever be the same.”

Her success came after campaigning against the European Union and immigration. She blamed the EU for forcing France to let in far more immigrants than it could handle, demanding that the nation cut its annual immigration from 200,000 to 10,000.

Le Pen says she is fighting the “Islamization” of France. Muslims, she warns “are advancing in the neighborhoods. They are putting pressure on the population. They are recruiting young boys” to fight for Islam.

This Islamization and immigration are tied together in Le Pen’s mind. Speaking after Mohamed Merah murdered three children and an adult outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, she said: “How many Mohamed Merahs are there on the boats and airplanes full of immigrants that arrive in France every day? How many Mohamed Merahs are there among the children of these non-assimilated immigrants?”

Meanwhile, on April 23, Geert Wilders’s Party for Freedom (pvv) toppled the government of the Netherlands. Wilders rose to fame by opposing Islam, but it was his opposition to the EU that triggered his latest actions. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte offered to resign after Wilders’s party said it no longer supported budget cuts that were, for the most part, demanded by the EU. “We will not accept having our people bleed at the hands of bureaucrats in Brussels,” he said.

Last election it won 15.5 percent of the vote. A recent poll suggests that this support has remained steady. The pvv is on target to remain the Netherlands’ third-largest party, giving it considerable say in the government.

Mainstream Moving In

With the fringe groups still strong, mainstream parties are moving further and further to the right to try to capture its voters. Last week, the leader of Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in parliament, Volker Kauder, said that “Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and so does not belong in Germany.” He added, “But Muslims do belong in Germany. As state citizens, of course, they enjoy their full rights.”

In the past, that kind of rhetoric would have come only from someone like Wilders or Le Pen, not a leading member of Germany’s ruling party.

Some of Germany’s Muslims almost seem to be trying to provoke a clash. An ultraconservative Salafist group, The True Religion, sparked Kauder’s comments by starting a campaign to put a Koran in every home in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. According to Die Welt, the group’s leader, Ibrahim Abou Nagie, is considered a dangerous preacher by Germany’s intelligence service.

As Sarkozy fights to keep his job, he too has been shifting his rhetoric to the right. Early on in the campaign, he copied Le Pen by speaking out against Islam and immigration. After Merah’s shootings, he quickly deported several radical Muslims. Unlike in Britain, these radical clerics were swiftly sent home, without a chance to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights or claim their right to family life was being violated.

Now he could shift further to the right. After coming second to the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande, the top two contenders go head to head in a second round of voting for France’s presidency. Sarkozy will try to convince the 18 percent of voters that chose Le Pen in the first round to vote for him in the second.

Fifty-seven percent of Le Pen supporters said they will vote for Sarkozy, and 20 percent said they’d back Hollande. Sarkozy seems set to shift further right to try to capture more of Le Pen’s votes.

“National Front voters must be respected,” he said after the first round of voting. “They voiced their view. It was a vote of suffering, a crisis vote. Why insult them? I have heard Mr. Hollande criticizing them.”

Europe’s Border Debate

Perhaps one of the fastest transitions from extreme to mainstream comes from Europe’s debate over open borders. In February, Geert Wilders launched a website for the Dutch to report unpleasant behavior by immigrants. There was an immediate outcry from across Europe. Ambassadors from 10 Eastern European countries signed an open letter to Dutch party leaders complaining about the website. But Prime Minister Mark Rutte did not criticize the site.

Open borders and the free movement of people are key parts of the EU’s integration. The website, and Rutte’s silence, was held up as proof that “Something’s gone wrong in Tulip Land”—as one newspaper proclaimed.

Just a few months later, Wilders’s position is mainstream. Last week, the French and German interior ministers published a joint letter calling for “the possibility of reestablishing internal border controls.” Germany and France may bring the issue up at a meeting on April 26. Wilders was vilified by the left for this belief. Now it is official government policy of the EU’s two most influential countries.

A Scapegoat

Part of the reason for this sudden immigrant bashing is that politicians are trying to blame immigrants for their countries’ economic troubles. This means it will only get worse, as the eurozone’s economic crisis worsens.

As Europe’s economy collapsed in the 1930s, politicians blamed Communist agitators and Jews. This time, it’s Anglo-Saxon bankers and immigrants.

The EU itself is bound to get a lot more involved in blaming immigrants. At the moment, people like Le Pen and Wilders are also pointing the finger at Brussels, both as the cause of the financial crisis and for causing mass immigration. In order to deflect this blame, we can expect the EU itself to jump on the anti-Islam and anti-immigration bandwagon.

Of course, Muslims and immigrants have caused genuine problems. The Trumpet isn’t taking sides or criticizing any of these groups. We’re simply pointing out the trend, and the massive impact it will have on the future direction of Europe.

The anger against these groups is mild compared to what is to come. Before it’s all over, much of Europe will look like Greece. Mass riots will force EU nations to clamor for a German solution.

What is now extant in Europe is sowing the seeds of a much greater anti-Islamic outburst. Times are still pretty good, so the hatred is restrained. But once the chips are really down, a brand new Europe seething with hatred will emerge. These trends prove that the hatred is there. Europe’s relative prosperity simply hides it.

Europe is heading for a massive clash with Islam. There will be mass deportations and even concentration camps. But for now, that hatred is simmering below the surface.

Germany, China Pledge Closer Economic Ties

German and Chinese leaders promised to enhance bilateral business ties at an industrial fair on April 21. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao both spoke at the economic forum, which was held in Hanover, Germany.

In 2011, trade between China and Germany totaled $190 billion. Wen said that the two nations want to increase that figure to $280 billion by 2015. China and Germany are the world’s two biggest exporters.

Although China chalked up a €14.5 billion trade surplus last year over its largest European trade partner, German exporters are finding more success in China than their European peers. In one such example, Wen was on hand at Volkswagen headquarters on April 23 as the German automaker signed a deal to build a new plant in the Xinjiang region.

The Trumpet forecasts that a “mart of nations” will work in confederacy to dominate global trade for a short period of time at America’s expense. This conglomerate will be led by the German-led European Union and China. These pledges of closer cooperation in Hanover point to the fulfillment of this forecast based on Bible prophecy. To learn more about the future of the global economy, read “The Silk Superhighway.”

Egypt Cancels Gas Deal With Israel

The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company is terminating its contract to ship natural gas to Israel. The company announced the termination on April 22, saying that Israel had violated contractual obligations.

This is the latest setback for Israel’s energy sector, which imports 40 percent of its natural gas from Egypt. Over the past year, saboteurs have repeatedly blown up the pipeline, disrupting the supply.

Israel and Egypt signed the natural gas deal in 2005, and Israeli Energy Minister Uzi Landau said it was a cornerstone of the two nations’ peace treaty. However, it has become a symbol of tension between Israel and Egypt since the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak last year.

On April 23, a Hamas spokesman called the cancellation of the gas deal “a step in the right direction.”

The termination foreshadows the future of Egypt and Israel’s tenuous peace agreement.

The Trumpet predicted as far back as 1993 that a radical shift would come, and Egyptian politics would lurch into the Islamist camp. That Islamist takeover is now underway in Cairo, and the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement cannot last. Continue to watch for relations between these two nations to grow more and more strained. This will have unbelievable ramifications for the region and the world. For more information, read “Prophecy Comes Alive in Egypt!

George Bush Greets Herbert W. Armstrong at Kennedy Center

George Bush Greets Herbert W. Armstrong at Kennedy Center

Jerome Delay/AFP/Getty Images

Both enjoy special Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performance.

“There is perhaps no other musical ensemble more consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music than the Vienna Philharmonic,” boasts the orchestra’s website.

For over a century and a half the Vienna Philharmonic has been regaled by plaudits of notable admirers from Wagner to Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss. Audiences from around the world have enjoyed inspiring performances, whether in their native Austria, or at world capitals visited by the famed ensemble.

Twenty-eight years ago in Pasadena, California, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performed live on the stage of Ambassador Auditorium from February 18 to 19, 1984.

The following week, Herbert W. Armstrong flew to Washington, D.C., to watch their performance for the nation’s political elite in the national capital.

On March 12, 1984, the Worldwide News reported, “The Ambassador Foundation was instrumental in making the orchestra’s U.S. tour possible. Before the Washington concert, the foundation sponsored a reception at the Kennedy Center under the patronage of the Austrian Embassy.”

Upon arrival in D.C., on the occasion of the 1984 concert, Mr. Armstrong was ushered into the Israeli Room for a half-hour reception with about 20 guests including the chairman of the Kennedy Center, a U.S. senator, Washington Performing Arts representatives and embassy staff.

Some years earlier, Mr. Armstrong had hired an influential employee of the Kennedy Center to fill the post of director of performing arts for the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, which ensured strong links between both parties.

As the performance of the orchestra drew near, Mr. Armstrong was ushered to his seat in the Austrian box, which was next to the U.S. presidential box reserved for President Ronald Reagan. However, on this occasion, it was occupied by Vice President George Bush, Secretary of State George Schultz, Austrian President Kirchschlaeger and Ambassador Thomas Klestil.

During the intermission, Mr. Armstrong “talked with Vice President Bush, Secretary Schultz, President Kirchschlaeger and Ambassador Klestil” (ibid).

One topic of conversation was Mr. Armstrong’s world travels, and it was during this discussion that Mr. Kirchschlaeger extended a personal invitation to Mr. Armstrong to visit him at the Presidential Palace in Vienna.

As the conversation closed and the ensemble reconvened for the second half of the performance, Mr. Armstrong noted that “he was impressed with the vice president’s abilities” (ibid). Mr. Bush had originally challenged Mr. Reagan for the Republican nomination, and upon defeat was selected as vice president for two terms. He would later succeed Mr. Reagan and become the 41st president, in office from 1989 to 1993.

As the orchestra resumed their performance, the group was able to compare it to the one the week previous at Ambassador. The consensus was that the acoustics of the Kennedy Center were exceptional and that the “quality and intimacy” of Ambassador Auditorium was without comparison.

After a wonderful performance, gracious applause and the drawing of the curtain, Mr. Armstrong was ushered to the top floor of the center for a special reception for around 300 guests.

“Mr. Armstrong was introduced to prominent individuals in the nation’s capital who thanked him for his involvement in the performing arts. Many commented on his World Tomorrow programs and about his Wall Street Journal advertisements” (ibid).

As the clock struck midnight, Mr. Armstrong departed to his hotel for some needed rest in advance of a meeting the following day at the Chinese Embassy.

Today, Mr. Bush is part of the great American audience witnessing the prevailing symphony of national division in the country he once led as president. A political dirge today encompasses a country facing imminent bankruptcy with its collective moral character in deep crisis.

As presidential election preparations swing into high gear, the U.S. searches for a way out of its deepening malaise amid accelerating cultural, ethical, military, moral and spiritual decline.

Perhaps in the quieter moments of retirement, whether at home in Texas, or maybe at the presidential library in College Station, Mr. Bush occasionally recalls that special evening in 1984 at the nation’s capital during which he was honored to meet the “internationally recognized ambassador for world peace,” Herbert W. Armstrong.

Just hours from the 41st president’s home is the successor to Ambassador Auditorium. Located north of Oklahoma City in Edmond, Armstrong Auditorium is the country’s newest hall for performing arts.

Should President Bush visit, he will find Armstrong International Cultural Foundation founder and chairman Gerald Flurry has followed in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps, having taken the time to review the exterior, interior and acoustical blueprints of Ambassador Auditorium to use that design as a model for construction of its $25 million successor, Armstrong Auditorium.

Increasingly, performers from around the globe are gracing its stage and enjoying the peaceful environs and one-of-a-kind hospitality. This “polished jewel lifting the human spirit” is adorned with Swarovski-trimmed crystal chandeliers, Baccarat crystal candelabra, American cherry wood veneers, Spanish marble and Azerbaijani onyx. The hall’s superb internal acoustics and the soaring Swans in Flight sculpture, designed by Sir David Wynn, combine to set Armstrong Auditorium apart in a class all of its own.

Whether concert goer, cultural buff, or admirer of humanitarianism, we encourage you to visit this performing arts jewel at the heart of the United States.

China-Philippines Standoff Intensifies

China-Philippines Standoff Intensifies

Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

China’s belligerency is on display on the world stage once again.

Beijing intensified a 10-day standoff between the Philippines and China on Friday by sending a third ship to a shoal in the South China Sea where both sides claim sovereignty.

The confrontation at the Scarborough Shoal began on April 10 when a Philippine warship accused eight Chinese fishermen of illegal entry and poaching in Philippine waters, and attempted to arrest them. Philippine officials said the vessels held endangered marine resources such as giant clams and live sharks, which it is illegal to catch. The Philippine officials attempted to arrest the fishermen, but were stopped by the arrival of two Chinese government vessels, which ordered the Philippine warship to leave Scarborough, saying it was Chinese territory. The Philippine ship refused to back down, saying that the territory lies well within Philippine waters. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea designates a country’s exclusive economic zone as 230 miles from its coastline, and the shoal in question is only 140 miles from the Philippine coast. China’s closest territory to the shoal, Hainan province, is 542 miles away from the Scarborough Shoal.

On Tuesday, the Philippines asked China to bring the simmering dispute to a United Nations-linked international court. “[W]e fully intend to humbly invite our Chinese friends to join us in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. “The whole world knows that China has myriad more ships and aircraft than the Philippines. At day’s end, however, we hope to demonstrate that international law would be the great equalizer.”

But, in a move revealing how little regard China has for international law, Beijing ignored the proposal and reiterated its demand for the Philippines to withdraw its ships from the shoal in order to “restore peace and stability there.” Instead of taking the simmering dispute to court, China dispatched another patrol vessel to the shoal. Beijing said the third vessel was deployed because the Philippines had dishonored China’s jurisdiction.

The standoff is being closely monitored by regional players to see how far Beijing will go in its increasingly belligerent stance on territorial claims there. “We understand that the world is watching, and the issue at hand has a wider implication on how China is asserting its territorial claims, which have no basis in international law,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have competing claims in the South China Sea, with China claiming almost the entire sea. The area is disputed largely because it straddles some of the world’s busiest sea lanes, has rich fishing waters, and is believed to contain vast oil and natural gas reserves.

China has long said the disputes should be resolved bilaterally, but the Philippines and other nations have been quick to call upon the United States and international community for assistance. China has consistently expressed displeasure over external involvement, and over the waters of the South China Sea being a site for military drills for the U.S. and other powers. But last Monday, as the standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels continued, thousands of U.S. and Philippine soldiers undertook joint military drills in those very waters. The military exercises, involving 4,500 U.S. troops and 2,300 Filipino soldiers, were planned before the standoff came to a head, though Manila called the display of U.S.-Philippine solidarity “timely,” in light of the conflict.

“Given the international situation we are in, I say that this exercise, in connection with all those that we have had in the past, is a timely and mutually beneficial event for us and our U.S. counterparts,” said Philippine Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Jesse Dellosa.

However, the U.S. has said before that it may not always be willing to support its longtime ally the Philippines, and a time approaches when American backing will not be available for any of the nations China threatens. As China’s might continues to grow and American will fades, watch for Beijing’s belligerent behavior to simultaneously increase. The Philippines and other Asian nations will be compelled to abandon the sinking U.S. ship, and to set aside their intercontinental disputes. This shift will lead to the establishment of a colossal Asian power bloc and—ultimately—to the most hope-filled event in history! To understand more, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Ten EU Nations and a New ‘Super-President’

Ten EU Nations and a New ‘Super-President’

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In a move that will strike many followers of this website as dramatic, 10 European Union nations are considering creating a powerful new office to lead that European combine.

Ten European nations propose a new EU super-president. These two entities—10 nations and a singular all-powerful leader—seem to match perfectly with Bible prophecy for these times.

Yet do they really?

Let’s take a closer look.

Last week a meeting attended by representatives of 10 European nations convened in a palatial mansion in Brussels to consider creating a powerful new presidential post to lead the greatest trading bloc in the world, the European Union.

EUobserver.com reported that “Ideas kicking around in a reflection group of select EU foreign ministers include merging the roles of the EU Council and European Commission presidents.

“A senior EU source told this website following a meeting of the club in the Val Duchesse stately home in Brussels on Thursday (April 19) that the new supremo would have more power than either Herman Van Rompuy or Jose Manuel Barroso do today …” (April 20).

The representative group of 10—convened by Germany—comprise Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Though the number 10 is significant to Bible prophecy relating to a Europe of the immediate future (Revelation 13 and17), it is highly doubtful that this particular group of 10 will be the final 10 nations that will take the lead under German hegemony in the prophesied future restructured European Union.

One reason we cast doubt on this is because a parallel prophecy to that of Revelation 13 and 17 contained in Daniel 2 indicates that the final 10 will be divided between east and west Europe. The only two nations that may presently be considered as part of east Europe in today’s club of 10 that convened in Brussels last week are Austria and Poland.

Nevertheless, the prophetically most potent consideration to which this group of 10 devoted its time was the prospect of merging its present three-tier top-level leadership into one all-powerful presidential office. Such a proposal has a most significant prophetic ring to it.

The problem that the EU leadership presently experiences is a problem of redundancy. The three top offices that presently lead the unwieldy union of 27 nations tend to trip over each other in the decision-making process.

As EUobserver.com puts it, “The EU Council president post was created by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009. But the Lisbon architecture is messy, with Van Rompuy, for instance, overseeing recent debate on EU fiscal reform, while Barroso’s commission puts forward its own ideas and implements final decisions.

“Van Rompuy and Barroso also represent the Union at international summits. But Van Rompuy is top dog in terms of protocol, while another post-Lisbon creature, the EU high representative—a job currently filled by Catherine Ashton—does day-to-day foreign relations” (ibid).

In the revelation of prophecy for our time relative to world conditions that will prevail immediately prior to Christ’s return, it is clear that a single powerful political leader in tandem with a single great religious leader will dominate a great prophesied northern power that shall hold sway globally for a brief moment in time (Revelation 13).

As our editor in chief has pointed out, that religious leader may already be in office.

In respect of the prophesied future political supremo of Europe, the fact that all three senior EU officials—Herman van Rompuy, José Manuel Barroso and Katherine Ashton—are prepared to consider a merger of their powers into a singular super-presidency of the EU is vitally significant!

Keep watching for this proposal to become a reality.

However, in our watching, one aspect of this powerful super-president’s appointment to office should not be overlooked. Contrary to the observation quoted by EUobserver.com’s source—who stated that the appointment of a singular EU super-president would give the EU more “‘democratic legitimacy’ because he or she would be elected by meps”—Bible prophecy indicates that the future political leader of the final 10 will not be elected to that office. In fact, that leader will rather be drawn to that all-powerful office by flatteries (Daniel 11:21).

The questions that remain are, which political personality has the charisma, the general political appeal, and perhaps the dynastic profile, to be drawn into that office by flatteries?

Believe it or not, he is already waiting in the wings for his moment. Indications are that he even tested the water last year and found that his moment had not yet come.

Watch this website for regular updates on the inevitable rise to prominence of a charismatic political personality to the point of his eventual appointment as the super-president of a powerful European combine—a great northern superpower (Daniel 11)—ruled over by 10 kings, all yielding their own individual power to his overarching leadership (Revelation 17:12-13).

Then, “when these things begin to come to pass,” as Jesus Christ declared, “look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh”! (Luke 21:28).