Will a Multispeed Europe Lead to “Ever Closer Union”?
The goals of the European Union have been challenged recently by a number of issues. How might Europe unite despite these challenges?
Europe seems to be falling apart. Recently external forces have been pushing the European Union (EU) to unravel at the seams, and many are beginning to wonder if the EU is a failing project. Some of these forces contributing to the unraveling of the EU include:
- The immigration crisis.
- The debt crisis.
- Rising right-wing nationalistic parties.
- Economic stagnation.
- Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
- Social unrest.
- Lack of strong leadership.
No solution appears in sight for many of these issues.
To add to all of this, the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom and the U.S. election of Donald J. Trump have added even more problems to the already challenged EU. Still, the Bible shows that a final end-time superpower will rise in Europe. This post will examine these two recent challenges to the EU and see where they may fit into Bible prophecies about Europe’s future.
The U.K. referendum to withdraw from the EU has had major ramifications for the European Union. The U.K. is in the deliberate (albeit slow) process of preparing to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which will formally begin the departure process. When this happens, it will be the first member nation to leave the EU.
The U.K. has often been a stumbling block to EU plans. It has opposed the EU on major issues, such as:
- The idea of an EU army, arguing that NATO is sufficient for European security.
- The adoption of the euro as its currency.
- Open-door immigration into EU nations.
- The overburdening regulations set by Brussels.
Though the U.K. was a constant thorn in Brussels’ side, the effect of losing one of its wealthiest and most powerful members is still a major challenge to the EU.
The Donald Trump factor
Donald Trump’s ascent to the U.S. presidency has sent shock waves throughout Europe. European leaders fear that Donald Trump’s victory could add fuel to the many populist, right-wing (and usually anti-EU) candidates challenging establishment politicians in this year’s upcoming European elections.
On top of that, most European leaders reject Donald Trump’s rhetoric and values and fear both his seemingly conciliatory approach to Vladimir Putin and his campaign theme demanding that Europe pay a higher share of its defense. President Trump has stoked U.S./EU tensions by calling the European Union a “vehicle for Germany” and by referring to NATO as obsolete.
As such, many now see Germany as the last refuge of liberal democracy and look to Angela Merkel as a savior of democracy and the new leader of the free world.
A multispeed Europe?
Considering these many challenges, some European leaders now believe that the way to fix the EU’s problems is through more integration. They are pursing the same course toward an “ever closer union” begun by the Treaty of Rome in 1957.
Considering these many challenges, some European leaders now believe that the way to fix the EU’s problems is through more integration. Since it’s obvious that not all EU members are on board with closer integration, these leaders are proposing a multispeed Europe with concentric circles. The innermost circle would proceed faster and further toward “ever closer union”—politically, economically and militarily. The outer circles would continue to be a part of the EU, but with less (or slower) integration.
The two most powerful nations at the core of the EU, Germany and France, have recently pushed this idea as a solution, warning that Europe will explode otherwise.
Even European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is getting on board. He has put forward five scenarios of moving forward, with the only real solution being a multispeed Europe.
Is the EU heading toward total collapse or further unification? Does the Bible have anything to say about the current turn of events?
Europe in prophecy
The Bible prophesies that in the end time, a bloc of European nations will integrate to form a revived Roman Empire. The Bible refers to this future world power as the “beast” and describes it as rising to geopolitical and economic dominance just before Jesus Christ returns. To learn more, read our article “Who Is the Beast?”
The end-time European power described in the book of Revelation has some major differences with the EU in its present form. There are obviously many developments that would need to occur to transform today’s Europe into this coming power.
Here are some things we know about this future power:
- It will contain a core of 10 nations or groups of nations (Revelation 17:12). The EU currently has 28 nations, so today’s EU will inevitably unravel.
- It will have a very powerful military. The current EU is militarily weak, so talks of a European army (separate from NATO) are very interesting to students of prophecy.
- It will be an economic superpower, dominating the world economy (Revelation 13:17; 18:15-17). Currently, Germany has the most powerful European economy, and it will likely continue to become stronger.
- It will be allied with a powerful religious leader (Revelation 17). In May 2016 Pope Francis was awarded the Charlemagne Prize for his work in promoting European unity.
Continue to watch trends leading toward these developments in Europe. Life, Hope & Truth will continue to report and analyze news relevant to the fulfillment of Bible prophecies. If you haven’t already, read some of our past posts and articles on Europe:
- The European Union vs. the Europeans: Inside Today’s Battle for Europe
- Is a European Army on the Horizon?
- The Migrant Crisis: What Does It Mean?
- All Roads Lead to Berlin