The Catalonia Crisis and the Unraveling of Europe
Europe is battling crisis after crisis and seems on the brink of coming apart. What does the Bible reveal about the future of this important continent?
Europe is facing yet another crisis.
Catalonia, a region in the northeast of Spain bordering France, is seeking its independence. Catalan President Carles Puigdemont declared independence on Oct. 10, 2017. Then just over two weeks later, the Catalan parliament voted for independence. This plunged Spain into a constitutional crisis, with the Spanish government removing the Catalan leadership under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution.
With rumors that Spain was seeking his arrest, Mr. Puigdemont fled to Brussels, believing the European Union (EU) would give him a fair hearing. Catalonia has long been a prosperous region of Spain, accounting for 20.1 percent of Spain’s GDP and 25.8 percent of its exports. Catalonia’s move toward independence is having a significant impact on Spain—and the EU as a whole. The crisis, it was said, “threatened the spirit of European integration, even more than Brexit.”
Europe’s chain of crises
Over the past few years, Europe has seemed to reel from crisis to crisis—each threatening to tear the union apart. Here are some of the major ones:
- Italy, October 2017: Two wealthy regions in Italy, Lombardy and Veneto, held referendums for greater autonomy from Rome. Like the effort in Catalonia, this movement seeking greater autonomy seems to go against the European spirit of an “ever closer union.”
- Poland, July 2017: Poland’s recent judicial reforms have set it on “a collision course with the European Union.” The EU has invoked legal proceedings against Poland, while Poland has accused the European Commission of “arrogance” and of “playing God.” The crisis has cast uncertainty on Poland’s future in the EU.
- Brexit, June 2016: The British people voted to leave the EU and in March 2017 invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The implementation of Brexit is complex and still unsettled, but its overall effect has left the EU with more uncertainty about its future.
Over the past few years, Europe has seemed to reel from crisis to crisis—each threatening to tear the union apart.Migrant crisis, 2015: More than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015, causing major divisions among the EU nations on how to deal with the influx. While Germany opened its borders unconditionally, other nations refused these people entry. Greece and Italy are angry that they have absorbed the lion’s share of the burden. This issue has been exploited by many far-right political parties that have used the issue to increase their popularity and attack the EU.
- Crimea, March 2014: Russia’s annexation of Crimea challenged the EU’s will to stand up to aggression and its influence in Ukraine. Other than economic sanctions, the EU seems helpless against Russian aggression in the east.
- Greek debt, 2009: Then President George Papandreou announced Greece’s budget deficit would exceed 12 percent of GDP (far greater than the EU allowable threshold of 3 percent). Things have only gotten worse, as Greece now holds a 177 percent debt-to-GDP ratio. Read our past coverage of this issue in our blog post “The Greek Crisis and the Future of Europe.”
For students of Bible prophecy, this instability should not be surprising. The Bible reveals that Europe will unite into a unified superpower, but in a form quite different from today’s EU. What remains to be seen is whether the final European superpower emerges out of the present-day EU or arises from its ashes.
Europe’s form to come
The EU was founded as an attempt to end European wars after two horrific world wars devastated the continent in the first half of the 20th century. The EU’s founding fathers saw the root cause of war as nationalism, and they believed they could prevent a third world war by weakening the nation and promoting integration.
The Bible identifies the Roman Empire as the “beast” and prophesies that it would rise 10 times. The ninth revival included the Hitler/Mussolini axis of the 1930s and 1940s. We are now awaiting the 10th and last resurrection of this ancient system. To learn about these 10 revivals, read our article “What Is Babylon?”
It may seem far-fetched to some that the Roman Empire could be revived again. The Bible itself predicts how improbable this would seem. But when the last revival does arise, its form will be fundamentally different from today’s EU. This could explain why the current structure is unraveling before our eyes. The future Europe will be different from today’s EU in two major ways:
- It will be composed of “10 kings.” The current EU is comprised of 28 nations (including Britain, for the time being). With so many diverse members, each with its own self-interests, 100 percent agreement on any given issue has eluded the EU. The final form will be comprised of 10 leaders (possibly over multiple nations) who will unite and for a short time transfer their sovereignty to a single political leader whom the Bible calls the “beast” (Revelation 17:12).
- It will also involve a dynamic religious leader. The present EU is secular and has excluded the Catholic Church from having political influence. But the final beast power will work closely with a religious leader the Bible calls “the false prophet,” who will deceive the world into fighting Christ at His return (Revelation 16:13-14). This is why we watch the papacy closely and take note of its rising popularity and greater interest in the affairs of Europe. To learn more, read our article “Revelation 17: Who Is the Scarlet Woman?”
Many dismiss Europe as a continent whose time has come and gone. But the Bible shows it will rise once again—causing the world to marvel and follow it.
Watch Europe closely.
If you found this blog interesting, you may be interested in reading some of our past blog posts on Europe:
- Will a Multispeed Europe Lead to “Ever Closer Union”?
- Europe Celebrates Charlemagne: The Father of Europe.
- The European Union vs. the Europeans: Inside Today’s Battle for Europe.