EU Leaders Draft Plans for a Superstate

EU Leaders Draft Plans for a Superstate

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The 17-member eurozone could soon get its own parliament with power over nations’ taxation, spending and economic policy, under plans being drawn up by Europe’s four presidents, German paper Handelsblatt reported September 6.

European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi and Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker presented an initial report on their proposals for the future of the eurozone in June. They’re due to present their final proposal at a summit beginning October 18, with a final report and road map due to be adopted by EU leaders at a summit on December 13.

The new eurozone parliament would be made up of both members of the European Parliament (meps) and representatives from national parliaments.

Their other proposals include giving the European Commission the power to veto national budgets.

The radical reforms go beyond any other proposals for political union so far, and would require changes to EU treaties. Several meps have already spoken out against them.

Separately, Barroso called for the EU to take on more power in social, labor and education policy, as Europe struggles with high unemployment. “We need to aim for an integrated EU policy approach and better coordination of employment and social policy at national and EU level,” he said in a speech at the Employment Policy Conference, September 6. “Not only employment and social policy, but also education policy ….”

A eurozone parliament that included national members of parliament would face less resistance as it tried to take on these kind of powers.

The Trumpet has long predicted that a smaller subset of EU nations would come together to form a superstate. A new legislative body for the eurozone with powers that are usually key points of national sovereignty would be a major step in this direction.

These kind of proposals for political union are becoming common. The euro crisis is proving that a common currency requires a common government. It is forcing Europe to form a superstate before your eyes.

Ethiopia Still Leaderless

Ethiopia Still Leaderless

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Nearly three weeks after the prime minister’s death, Ethiopia’s ruling elites haven’t agreed on his successor. The division could leave the country vulnerable.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died on August 20 and was given a state funeral on September 2. Yet despite reports that Meles’s Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn would be sworn into office a couple of days after Meles’s death, Ethiopia still lacks a prime minister. The situation leaves Ethiopia vulnerable to internal pressure and outside influence.

Leaders of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (eprdf), failed to agree on the procedure to select a new prime minister in a meeting September 4. The delay shows “unexpected internal political tension and power squabbling among the ruling elite,” wrote Kenya’s Daily Nation.

“Further delay of naming Mr. Hailemariam party chief exposed the growing internal power struggle among the four ethnic-based members of the ruling party coalition: Amhara, Tigray, Oromo and Southern people,” wrote the Nation.

The eprdf is scheduled hold a bigger meeting soon to elect a new leader.

Its decision goes against Ethiopia’s cabinet, which endorsed Hailemariam as the next prime minister on August 21. State media have now stopped referring to Hailemariam as the prime minister designate.

Meanwhile, Iran is showing an interest in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Foreign Minister Berhane GebreKristos traveled to Iran for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement last month. Iran signed a memorandum of understanding on economic and customs cooperation with Ethiopia and 29 other countries, including Syria, Kenya, India and Cuba, on the sidelines of the summit. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Mansour Borqeyee recently spoke to Berhane, where he “underscored Tehran’s enthusiasm for the further expansion of relations and cooperation with the African nations, specially Ethiopia,” according Iranian state-owned Fars News Agency.

Watch the succession process closely. The Bible prophesies that Ethiopia will soon align itself with Iran, which implies that a major political change is coming. A power struggle, or more dangerously, an ethnic struggle, could leave Ethiopia vulnerable.

Ethiopia is facing pressure from Muslims protesting against government interference in their religion. It’s also opposed by Islamists in Somalia. But its greatest threat could be the new Islamic government in Egypt.

In this week’s Key of David program, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said that Daniel 11:43 shows that “Egypt is going to have a major impact on other nations in the Middle East, and in Libya and Ethiopia, in particular.” This scripture shows that Ethiopia and Libya will ultimately come under Iran’s influence. “So does this mean that Egypt leads Libya and Ethiopia into the Iranian camp with Iran’s help?” asked Mr. Flurry. “Well, yes, it certainly does.”

Egypt has a big incentive to play a leading role in Ethiopia—the Nile. Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan all depend on the river. Ethiopia is upstream of the other nations. If it keeps the Nile’s water for itself, the other nations suffer.

Files stolen from intelligence company Stratfor released by WikiLeaks earlier this week claim that Egypt was working with Sudan to prepare attacks on an Ethiopian dam currently under construction.

The report may or may not be true. But it illustrates how Egypt wants to influence Ethiopia. Egypt wants more of the Nile’s water as its population grows. But Ethiopia is working on two huge dams that would diminish Egypt’s supplies further. Having great political control in Ethiopia would allow Egypt to steer the country away from such policies. The recent creation of an independent South Sudan further muddies the waters.

Keep watching Ethiopia’s political scene, and for Egypt and Iran to gain more influence there. For more information on this key prophecy, read our latest booklet, Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy.

Russia and China Strategize for APEC Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in the eastern Russian seaport of Vladivostok on Friday. The visit between the two comes a day ahead of a summit of Asian and Pacific leaders.

In the meeting, Putin told Hu that he hoped he would give a “good impulse” to move the trade relations talks in the right direction.

In addition to the summit, the choice of city in which Putin and Hu met highlights Russia’s willingness to de-emphasize its European-dominated trade in favor of growing trade relations with China.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (apec) forum aims to foster growth by dismantling barriers and bottlenecks that slow Asian-Pacific trade.

Election-year politics and territorial spats are weakening the resolve of some of apec’s 21 members. China has also stumbled economically in recent months, facing its worst economic slowdown in three years. But Moscow and Beijing seem determined to push ahead with their agenda for increased trade and economic cooperation.

President Putin has said that Russia is looking to help by developing its far eastern territory, which shares over 2,500 miles of border with China.

The Trumpet has been watching the developing relationship between these two powerful nations for years. The Bible prophesies that these two nations will form the core of a major Eastern power bloc.

Continue to watch for the Russia-China partnership to strengthen. For more information, read our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

Neo-Nazis Now Third Most Popular Party in Greece

Neo-Nazis Now Third Most Popular Party in Greece

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It took just three years of economic collapse to revolutionize Greek politics.

The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party is now the third most popular party in Greece, according to a survey by Pulse RC published in To Pontiki weekly September 6. Golden Dawn has the support of 10.5 percent of the population.

The New Democracy party is in first place, with support from 25 percent of those polled, followed by the radical left-wing Syriza. pasok, which used to be a major party, received the support of only 8 percent.

The poll shows a stunning change in Greek politics. In elections three years ago, pasok won with 44 percent of the vote. Golden Dawn received 0.29 percent.

Golden Dawn and its supporters have been implicated in brutal attacks on Greek immigrants, though the party insists it is not behind these attacks. Yet its popularity has continued to rise.

The situation in Greece is a shocking example of how quickly and radically a nation can change once its economy falls apart. Just three years ago, this level of support for Golden Dawn would have been unthinkable.

All immigrants in Greece are not innocent victims. One Greek reporter described an “escalating crime wave,” with “daily accounts in the Greek press of illegal immigrants robbing, raping and attacking Greeks.”

This is the kind of breakdown in society that happens when economies collapse. Crime increases, and the once trendy multiculturalism is swiftly rejected as many struggle against poverty.

Continue to watch Greece. As economies around the world fail, other nations will come under the same pressure. Greece is a preview of the political change that will soon sweep Europe.

Greece: Unemployment and Pessimism Surging

Greece’s unemployment rate eclipsed 24 percent in June, up 7 percent from a year ago. The official jobs data was published on Thursday.

The Greek Statistical Authority said the number of jobless people rose 34,000 and that more than 1.2 million Greeks are now out of work.

Greece’s coalition government is working to finalize a new austerity package for 2013 that will cut another €11.5 billion from the budget, including further reductions in benefits and pensions. The European Union has also said that it will not provide the bailout package unless Greeks work a six-day work week.

Longer work weeks and still further budget cuts are terrifying to many Greeks, who are already living in one of the world’s most tumultuous economies. But the Greek government must make life even harder for its people if it wants to receive funds from Germany and its other creditors.

Greece’s multiplying hardships are approaching a boiling point. Greece’s deteriorating economy will ultimately allow Europe to become even more centralized and more powerful. Read “Europe’s Crises Are Back!”, where columnist Brad Macdonald analyzes four upcoming events that could potentially transform the EU.

Australia’s Looming Debt Crisis

Australia’s Looming Debt Crisis

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When the debt bubble bursts, a lot of people will be wishing they were better prepared.

Is Australia’s national debt dangerous? Many say Australia has nothing to worry about. Debt levels are low, and tons of people want to lend us money. Australia should take advantage of this borrowing opportunity, they say.

The reality is that Australia’s debt levels are already dangerously high—and the nation may soon be in a worse boat than Spain and Greece.

At $245 billion, Australia’s national debt may not, at first, sound high. It works out to around 15 percent of gross domestic product.

But Australian debt totals aren’t like America’s. In America, the states have relatively low levels of debt compared to the federal government. But in Australia, states owe almost as much as the federal government.

Factor in Australian state debt and the total almost doubles.

Yet even that statistic doesn’t seem to worry many Aussies. Compared to many countries, it is true that Australia’s total state and federal debt is still on the lower end—but that also doesn’t matter.

Of more importance is who the debt is owed to, and whether it is getting easier or harder for Australia to service it.

Who is Australia’s debt owed to? Not to Australians. As analyst John Mauldin recently highlighted, an astounding80 percent of Australian government debt is now owed to foreigners. I don’t know if there is another developed nation of comparable or larger size with foreign ownership totals this high. Usually it is only smaller countries that rely on foreign lenders to such a high degree. The percentage of foreign ownership is escalating too! It was only 60 percent in 2006.

What this means is Australia’s recent budget deficits have been funded almost entirely by foreigners. Relying on foreigners to finance 100 percent of budget deficits is the epitome of financial folly. Not only does it open the door to geopolitical blackmail and coercion, but it is economically risky too. Much of this type of foreign “investment” is hot money—seeking the latest get-rich-quick-type deal. It is fickle and unreliable.

When that money disappears—and hot money always does—then Australia will be forced to pay for its overspending the traditionally painful way. It will either have to do without, or print money to pay its debts. If it prints, which is the politically easiest option, the strong Aussie dollar will go the way of the dodo.

And when foreign investment reverses, it can happen quickly. Ireland’s foreign ownership got as high as 85 percent before investors fled in 2009. It didn’t take long before they needed a bailout to avert bankruptcy. Italy and Spain are now battling for their lives against foreign capital flight too. Italy’s foreign ownership was slightly above 50 percent in 2008. It is down to 40 percent today. In 2009, roughly 60 percent of Spain’s debt was foreign owned. Last year it dropped to 40 percent, and now it is down to 26 percent.

When you rely on foreigners to fund unsustainable lifestyles, you are just asking for trouble.

And now Europe is paying the price. Eurozone countries do not have the ability to print money out of thin air to pay their debts, so while the value of the euro has remained fairly strong, their economies are taking the hit in the form decreased government spending and job losses.

In Australia, the specifics of the coming debt crisis may be slightly different, but the end result—a greatly reduced national standard of living—will be similar. Unlike individual European nations, Australia has control of its own money printing presses. It is likely that the value of the Australian dollar will be sacrificed in an attempt to pay its bills and control unemployment.

Australians should remember the lessons from Spain and Ireland. Both countries had low debt burdens before the banking crisis and economic slowdown struck. But then when foreign investors stopped funding their big banks, both nations had to backstop their banking system. Overnight, this turned Spain and Ireland into some of the most heavily debt-burdened nations. This then resulted in a national crisis as tax receipts failed and foreign investors refused to fund the Spanish and Irish governments. As we all know, eventually both nations required bailouts.

But who will bail out Australia?

When Australia’s economic bubble pops, perhaps pricked by a slowdown in China and the end of its mining boom, or the deflating of its national housing bubble, Australia’s banks will be in serious trouble. Since Australia’s four big banks control 80 to 90 percent of all financial transactions within the nation, if even one were to fail, it would be a systemic risk to the country. What this means is Australia’s banks—which have become just as reliant on foreign capital as the Australian government—are too big to fail, and the government is therefore on the hook for their debts as well.

Watch as Australia’s “low” debt burden suddenly balloons to unsustainable levels. And when the bubble pops, a lot of people will wish they were better prepared.