The political tremors impacting Europe are significant. The fear is that the European Union may fracture; if it does the world’s financial markets will take a severe hit—stock markets do not like uncertainty. The driving problem in Europe is unemployment—which remains high in most countries—people are angry, afraid and restless. The result– Europe is seeing the rise in popularity of extreme parties, both left and right parties that are anti-Immigration, anti-Germany, and anti-European Union.
Recent elections in France and a regional election in Spain showcase the extent to which the employment emergency in Europe continues to threaten division in Europe. In France, former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, received the most votes, but the anti-immigration National Front party placed a strong 2nd. In Spain, two anti-establishment parties emerged: the left-wing Podemos and the centrist Ciudadanos. Spain will see national elections in late 2015 and France is scheduled to hold its presidential election in 2017, extreme parties could possibly come to power in both these countries.
The rise of the new anti-establishment parties can be traced directly back to Europe’s economic crisis. Many Europeans have had enough with spending cuts, high unemployment and austerity programs promoted by Germany. Spain’s increasingly popular Podemos party, for example, opposes austerity measures and demands a renegotiation of Spain’s debt, while the National Front party in France questions France’s embrace of Islamic immigrants and German leadership in Europe. But above all it is high unemployment and economic stagnation that has created fertile ground for these extremist parties.
Germany has always been, when united, a very powerful country. It is also a nation that is surrounded by countries that are frightened of it. Today, as the leading economic and political power in the European Union, Germany is working to keep the European Union from fragmenting. Along with economic tensions, how to deal with Russia is creating division among EU members. The events in Ukraine have highlighted the European Union’s divisions. Imposing sanctions on Russia requires agreement, which is hard to find in Europe’s amalgam of nations. Over the past year, countries within the European Union differ regarding what to do about Russia— There are hawkish anti-Russian countries such as Poland and the Baltics, then their are countries with a very different set of strategic priorities such as Spain and Italy who have a good relationship with Russia. Russia continues to court countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Hungary, promising greater economic cooperation in exchange for voting against extending EU sanctions against Russia.
It becomes more challenging for Germany to successfully accommodate the very different interests among EU members while also maintaining close cooperation with the United States, remember individual nations within the European Union do significant trade with Russia—and many nations within the EU rely on Russia’s natural gas. Germany is not interested in Russia’s economic decline and will resist any moves from America that could escalate the violence in Ukraine or give the Kremlin a pretext to boost its military activities inside Ukraine.
Why Europe is so invested in the European Union
Winston Churchill, Britain’s Prime Minister during WWII, suggested a solution to the seemingly endless wars of Europe, wars that were inflicting a devastating toll on women and children. In a speech in Zurich, Switzerland in 1946 he said: “we must build a kind of United States of Europe.” Churchill was repeating the age-old vision of a Europe united in a peaceful union; a union that would finally drown out the individual ambitions of nations (such as Germany, Italy and France), and replace national sovereignty with a super-national European super state composed of many nations. It would be a union that would encourage trade, tourism, and mutual respect.
European leaders thought that if Germany could be included in a greater European structure, this union of nations could keep in check German power. Finally the continent would be at peace, and Europe would never again have to endure a devastating world war. That was the great European hope. Movement toward this dream began with The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, bringing the European Economic Community (EEC) into existence.
The Treaty removed economic barriers between the original member states (the Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg). This Treaty became the seedling that has grown into the 28 member states of the European Union today with a population of 515 million citizens, the greatest trading bloc in the world today.
Nevertheless, European leaders with all of their good intentions will not prevent another world war. Prophecy paints a picture of an end-time Europe that is described as a beast that wages war on a scale far greater than what took place during World War II. (see Revelation 13 & 17 and Daniel 7).
Daniel 7:7 reveals that a great European power, a particularly ambitious and cruel power, will conquer millions, enter and take control of much of the Middle East (Daniel 11:40-45), and draw the nations into world war. This beast is described as a military beast that will be “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong…(with) huge iron teeth, it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet.”—Daniel 7:7. This European entity will be led by a cruel and ambitious dictator who will act as the 7th head of the final resurrection of the Roman Empire. This means that Germany will once again dominate Europe politically and militarily.
Analyzing events taking place on the European continent is high on my list of “trends to watch”.
Watch the video of Netanyahu’s speech before Congress—he is stating what even most of the Arab world concedes; Iran cannot be trusted to honor any agreement. The President promises it has Israel’s back and will deal with Iran in Israel’s best interest. Netanyahu has told the world that though President Obama is a friend of Israel, he will not trust the President’s deal with Iran. The Prime Minister warned—that he is ready to go to it alone if necessary (meaning he is contemplating bombing Iran’s nuclear sites).
Negotiations must be based upon hard truth and this is what is so worrisome to Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu sees Iran outmaneuvering America regarding its nuclear program—willing to tell Washington half-truths that Washington seems to embrace. Netanyahu has had enough. Netanyahu’s defiance against the President imposing his agenda on Israel has pa forerunner. On June 7, 1981, Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered the destruction of the Iraqi Osirak reactor just before it would become operational. The Prime Minister is sending a certain trumpet…we will deal with Iran, and will not accept a bad deal. On Tuesday Netanyahu called on the President to stop sounding an uncertain call (1 Corinthians 14:8), and to wake up to the harsh reality about Iran.—Steven LeBlanc