Europe's Dangerous Disagreement

Steven LeBlanc

02 10 2015
Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Gemany’s Angela Merkel

I am watching Europe closely—viewing a Union of nations (European Union) that is attempting to work through a serious disagreement.

We see in a prophecy in Daniel chapter 2 a human model representing the succession of human empires, the ten toes, the final empire to rise in Europe, are portrayed as part iron and part clay. So the final Gentile kingdom will be “partly strong and partly fragile” (Daniel 2:42). Note that iron does not mix well with clay (verse 43). Europe is a mix of ethnic groups with various agendas. In the near future the Bible says that these diverse nations will put aside their national differences for a short time to astound the world. A European dictator will receive support and funding from various leaders (Revelation 17:12-13). This has not taken place yet, but it will take place in the near future. The timing of the rise of this European dictator is in God’s hands, it is God who sets up and takes down leaders and nations (Daniel 4:25; 5:21).

With prophecy telling us to look for a revived European Beast syndicate—let’s review what is taking place in Europe right now.

Europeans are very nervous… will Europe and Greece agree on a new strategy for handling Greece’s huge debt problem? Will the European Union (EU) begin to fragment creating a wave of panic that pummels the world financial markets?

At the moment all eyes are on Germany to see if it will cave to Greece’s demands. Greece’s current program of loans ends on the 28th of February. Be sure to view the news that day, to see what the outcome will be in Europe.

The eurozone crisis has confirmed that Germany, with the most vibrant economy and the deepest pockets, is the supreme power player in the European Union. As the British Foreign Office has rumored to have said, ‘In today’s Europe, you can’t change things unless Germany is with you.’ Even if nations were to leave the EU, Merkel and Germany would determine the exit terms.

Pundits who are following the European debt storm say the German position is simple: If Greece wants to leave, let it go. A German economist on the BBC’s Today program described Greece as a man standing on a roof threatening to jump, with Germany as a concerned bystander offering to help him with his problems. This image fails to mention that the bystander is tied to the potential jumper and is likely to suffer significant injury should the man jump—BBC World Service.

The Great Fear
What is called the Grexit (Greek exit of the Eurozone) would severely shake the confidence of Greece and the Eurozone members. If Europe kicks Greece out, then Alexis Tsipras of Greece could turn to Russia for financial help. The thought of Russia gaining influence in Europe’s backyard would be extremely destabilizing. Greece would lose its relatively cheap access to lending, and easy access to Europe’s trade matrix. What is most problematic is that if Greece leaves this could excite Spain to follow, and then Italy, a contagion could spread within the European Union igniting fear in global markets.

Newly appoint leader of Greece, Alexis Tsipras has promised to stop what he has called the ‘fiscal waterboarding’ at the hands of Germany. But northern European leaders, led by Angela Merkel, are glacially opposed to any compromise with Greece. They fear that if Greece gets its way, voters across the eurozone periphery will turn to anti–austerity parties in the hope of securing better bailout terms.

The European political scene is dangerous and unpredictable, new political Parties can be formed and lead the polls within months. Look at what has happened in Spain—Podemos is only 12 months old but it consistently tops the polls in Spain. Podemos, like Syriza in Greece, is opposed to the German austerity measures that were imposed upon Spain over the last few years to blunt the swelling debt within the country. There are elections in Spain this year, Podemos has come from nowhere to become a major player in Spanish politics with huge popular support—this is a very disturbing tide that Germany fears—the rise of anti German/anti-austerity parties in Europe. But let’s keep in mind that the Greek debt crisis is just the tip of the iceberg.

Worried about France
James Forsyth makes this clever observation in his recent column in the British Spectator magazine (31 January 2015):

The country that really keeps European policy makers up at night isn’t Greece or Spain, but France. Its economy is sinking, with no signs of a sustained or sustainable recovery. Its unemployment stands at a record high of 3.5 million, it has had to abolish the much-hyped 75 per cent tax rate on the rich after it turned out to be an abysmal failure, and its tax revenues are so weak that it’s now looking at a deficit of 4.1 per cent of GDP — far outside the 3 per cent limit supposedly demanded of EU member states. If the European Commission applied its own rules properly, France would be fined for this continuing inability to get its books in order.

The great debate is whether France is, in economic terms, part of northern Europe or stagnating southern Europe. Tellingly, the day after the Greek result, François Hollande invited Tsipras to the Elysée while Nicolas Sarkozy went to Berlin to see his old ally Angela Merkel, reflecting the division between the current president and the past president over what role France should try to play in Europe.

Everyone seems to be focused on Greece debt at the moment, but the truth is the big nations of Europe such as France and Italy are on the verge of drowning…Europe is truly in trouble.

Back to the Greek Crisis—so how do you solve the Greek debt crisis? Germany and Greece have two very different ideas. Greece Syriza’s party leader, the 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras — a former Communist youth member — favors an irresponsible approach: Writing off most of Greece’s debt, a weight he describes as “not just unbearable, it objectively cannot be repaid.” But Germany has drawn the line on Greek debt. Germany is against writing off more of Greek debt, someone has to pay for those write-offs, and Germany is not in the mood to use its money to throw at the Greek problem.

German leader Angela Merkel told the Hamburger Abendblatt: “I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation. “She said: “There has already been voluntary debt forgiveness by private creditors, banks have already slashed billions from Greece’s debt.” Greece still has a debt of €315bn – about 175% of gross domestic product. At the same time Angela Merkel asserted she did not want Greece to leave the eurozone. She said: “The aim of our policy was and is that Greece remains permanently part of the euro community. Europe will continue to show its solidarity with Greece, as with other countries hard hit by the crisis, if these countries carry out reforms and cost-saving measures.”

Tensions are rising in Europe, and European and American stock markets swoon daily depending on the latest news out of Europe—the financial markets are jumpy. The ECB (European Central Bank) threatens Athens with bank funding cutoff on February 28th unless Greece yields to the ECB’s rules. The next few weeks will see volatility in the press and world financial markets—all linked to what will happen to Greece and how the EU responds to the Greek debt challenge. This European debt impasse is very important—pay attention to Europe!

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