The Future of Europe?

This week a group of 11 foreign ministers, capping nine months of work, presented their plan for strengthening the integration of Europe, perhaps including an EU army.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Many leaders who are committed to the survival of the eurozone and the EU want to turn Europe’s continuing economic crisis into an opportunity to strengthen Europe.

“‘We’ve been looking at how we can bring back confidence in the European Union,’ German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said this week, as he arrived in Warsaw for a ministerial meeting of the 11-nation ‘Future of Europe Group,’” the BBC reported Sept. 19.

More Europe

The New York Times reported on the Future of Europe Group plan Sept. 18: “Highlighting the difficulties confronting the European Union, the document notes, ‘In many parts of Europe, nationalism and populism are on the rise, while the feeling of solidarity and sense of belonging in Europe are dwindling.’

“Its answer is more, not less, Europe.”

The plan includes “a radical overhaul of European foreign and defence policies to create a powerful new pan-European foreign ministry, majority voting on common foreign policies to bypass a British veto, a possible European army, and a single market for EU defence industries,” The Guardian reported Sept. 18.

The Future of Europe Group plan also supports establishing “a directly elected European president, sweeping new powers for the European parliament, and further splitting of the EU by creating a new parliamentary sub-chamber for the 17 countries of the eurozone.

“While the call for a European army was not supported by all 11, the document also calls for a new European police organisation to guard the union’s external borders and for a single European visa. …

“It will prove hugely contentious and, if implemented, will increase the pressure on Britain to quit the EU,” The Guardian said.

Britain, the only large EU nation not included in the group, was targeted by proposals to remove its effective veto. “Crucially, it proposes majority rather than unanimous voting on common foreign policies, to prevent one state from being able to obstruct initiatives,” the BBC said.

Who is the Future of Europe Group?

The New York Times explained, “The foreign ministers of all of the European Union’s big members took part in the Future of Europe Group meeting, with the exception of Britain, which remains resolutely skeptical about further integration. Poland, which joined the European Union in 2004, played an active role, and the 11 participants included representatives of the six countries that started the process of European integration after World War II.”

The report was signed by Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.

The debate

The 11 nations represented did not agree on everything, and their proposals are sure to stir up more debate in the 17-nation eurozone and the 27-nation EU. Will the final outcome be a smaller, stronger union?

The BBC reported Sept. 19:

“It is clear that there are huge differences of opinion on both the degree and the pace of change. France is less keen than Germany on many aspects of closer integration.

“A critical question over the next few years will be—in broad terms—how much sovereignty is France prepared to surrender in order to ensure that Germany remains Europe’s paymaster.”

The biggest holdout is likely to be Britain. Still, British Foreign Secretary William Hague tried to put a positive spin on it. “‘We are comfortable with differing degrees of integration between different countries in the EU,’ he said. ‘That to us is the model that may have to be followed in the future.’”

Britain and other nations may be forced to accept a two-tier Europe—or may choose to be left out.

“But a substantial core of the EU, based around the eurozone, has decided that closer integration is a necessity if their single currency is to survive and if they want to make their collective voice heard effectively around the world.”

The BBC report concluded: “The eurozone crisis has shown that the EU cannot simply stand still.”

Public Service Europe reported Sept. 18 on contrary voices, like British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock, who said: “Those who want to suck all sovereign power to the centre of a federalist Europe dream equally of a global status for their superstate. They fantasise a United States of Europe, bestriding the international stage and wielding diplomatic influence and military might.’”

That image of a powerful Europe again ruling much of the world may not be as much of a fantasy as Mr. Tannock believes. The Bible describes an end-time revival of the Roman Empire that will greatly influence events in the years just ahead of us.

The Bible and Europe’s future

The grand dream of a united and powerful Europe has risen again and again through the centuries since the fall of the Roman Empire, and Bible prophecy predicted those revivals.

The Bible describes the coming last revival as a union of 10 horns, symbolic of 10 strong leaders, who will “receive authority for one hour with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).

The beast in Bible prophecy is the end-time political leader of this final revival of the Roman Empire, and the description “one hour” symbolizes the short time these leaders will rule. The time will be full of wars and troubles and will culminate in a crisis that will threaten human existence.

The beast and these 10 leaders will make the foolish decision to fight against Jesus Christ, who will come to rescue humanity from self-annihilation (Revelation 17:14; Matthew 24:21-22).

After Christ easily defeats all who oppose Him, He will set up a perfect government in Jerusalem and will begin to teach all nations, including the nations of Europe, the true way to peace. No pan-European army or defense contracts will be needed, for “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).

Read more about these end-time prophecies in our sections on “Revelation” and “End Times.”

About the Author

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett

Mike Bennett is editorial content manager for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, in the Dallas, Texas, area. He coordinates the Life, Hope & Truth website, Discern magazine, the Daily Bible Verse Blog and the Life, Hope & Truth Weekly Newsletter (including World Watch Weekly). He is also part of the Personal Correspondence team of ministers who have the privilege of answering questions sent to Life, Hope & Truth.

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