World Watch Today

A President of Europe: Coming Soon?

Jean-Claude Junker (pictured left) is the Prime-Minister of Luxembourg and an ardent Europhile. He has, for the past seventeen years, aligned his tiny nation with the political movement seeking to build a European federal government. His pro-Europe stance earned him the “Vision for Europe” award, an annual recognition bestowed upon political leaders who do the most to further European integration. It is often assumed that because of his pro-EU credentials, Mr. Juncker will one day be tapped for a high-level European Union job, such as President of its administrative arm, the European Commission.

Thus if you want to understand the direction in which those who favor a pan-European government wish to go, there is no better person to observe than the energetic Prime-Minister of Luxembourg.  He is a forward thinker in this respect and certainly one who spends an above-average amount of time working to bring about a United States of Europe – as some are prone to call a future, super-European government. That is why his recent comments to the German magazine Der Spiegel are of particular interest. When pressed about the future of the EU, Mr. Juncker outlined a plan for the emergence of a democratically elected, “President of Europe”, empowered with actual authority to lead the EU:

SPIEGEL: What can be done to make Europe more appealing to people once again?

Juncker: I would favor creating the office of European president at the end of the process, a president who is directly elected by EU citizens. As a preliminary step, the offices of the European Council president and the European Commission president could be combined. The Lisbon Treaty doesn’t rule this out; it would be the precursor to a European president.

SPIEGEL: Wouldn’t there have to be a European finance minister, as well?

Juncker: That would make sense. [end quote].

The office of President of Europe, such as Mr. Juncker describes, was rejected by voters in referendums held in France and Holland, when the draft Constitution of Europe was defeated in 2005.  But that has not prevented Mr. Juncker or other politicans like him from pushing forward with calls for a unified European federal government, including a strong executive head. In the present crisis, it may be that the circumstances allowing for such a person to enter the scene are aligning, as European nations struggle to unify around responses to the financial crisis. A desire for strong leadership in these times might be exactly the opening which Mr. Juncker and other European federalists need, to push forward with their plans to create a European head of state that has strong executive powers.

Eye on Europe

 

Crime & Fatherless America

Steven LeBlanc

Chicago has once again been labeled as the Murder capital of America. The Chicago Sun-Times pointed out that Chicago has seen 426 homicides this year compared with 417 in New York and 302 in Los Angeles.

The overarching reason there is so much crime is because increasingly children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers. This outcome means many children and teens then join gangs (a pseudo-family).

Divorce and out of wedlock births is creating a subculture of angry teens. In America nearly 24 million children live in a home without a father to guide and protect them. Now more than half of all births to American women under 30 are born out of wedlock, and the trend in marriage-less birth is becoming a normal reality of American life.

Divorce usually means the father moves out of the house. What follows of course is that children of divorce see far less of their fathers than children who grow up in two parent families. With relentless frequency divorce is almost expected to occur since one in every two marriages are dissolved. Divorce was once stigmatized. Now it is accepted as commonplace. The millions of divorces in our nation numb us to the fact that divorce means devastation of the family. Children -the most vulnerable in our society – have the most to lose in a divorce.


God sees what divorce and sex outside of marriage does to our families, and how it cripples a nation by depriving children of fathers. He reminds us that the fatherless child is particularly special to Him. God will not ignore the sins of child abuse or child abandonment. Exodus 22:22-23 states: “You shall not afflict any widow or the FATHERLESS child. If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword…” Punishment may not be executed immediately but God does not casually overlook such injury to the helpless.

Those who abuse or abandon children will suffer severe punishment, if not in this life then surely in the resurrection of the dead (John 5:28-29).

A Week of Terrible Economic News for Europe

The economic turmoil in Europe shows no sign of abating. Over the course of this week there has been a seeming avalanche of bad economic news for the Eurozone countries and the EU in general. Below is a brief review of the week’s top economic stories covered in the European press.

French government faces more unemployment while raising taxes

On July 2nd Francois Holland received a report from the Cour des Comptes, the national auditor,  predicting that the French government needed to raise another 10 billion euros in extra revenues this year to close a gap in its finances, and, more ominously, that in 2013, a further 33 billion euros would be needed. His response was to announce a new raft of tax increases and cuts across the board, including the implementation of his promised plan to increase the tax rate on those making a combined income of over 1 million euros to 75%. But it is difficult to raise revenues if the number of tax payers is decreasing. At the end of the week Mr. Hollande received further bad news when French carmaker Peugeot announced, in a surprise move, a plan to close one of its largest plants, effectively laying off 6,500 workers. The Financial Times, in its 13 July print edition, reported the following:

“Jean-Marc Ayrault, the prime minister, leading a chorus of concern from ministers, trade unions and the main UMP centre-right opposition, said yesterday’s decision was a ‘real shock’.…Peugeot’s proposed cuts are the biggest in a wave of redundancies as the eurozone debt crisis exposes the country’s declining competiveness.”

Spain rocked by protests as conservative government announces more austerity

Imagine an unemployment rate of 24%. You don’t have to if you live in Spain, because it is a reality there. In response to sky-rocketing unemployment and rapidly expanding public debt, which is causing international lenders to charge high rates to loan money to Spain, the government of Mariano Rajoy has announced a program of austerity designed to cut public subsidies and spending by 65 billion euros. Included in the program are tax increases, such as an increase in the country’s value added tax – a tax roughly equivalent to sales tax in the United States. The Spanish population has reacted angrily to the announced cuts, however, the government in Madrid sees no other choice. The Independent reported the following comments of Mr. Rajoy made during his speech to Parliament:

“I know that the measures I’ve announced aren’t agreeable,” Mr Rajoy said in his 70-minute speech to lawmakers. “They aren’t agreeable but they are essential. We are in an extraordinarily serious situation.”

This has led to a wave of protest across the country, in particular violent demonstrations this week in Madrid by the country’s miner’s union. Further cuts are expected, however, and there does not seem to be any easing in sight to the country’s phenomenal unemployment rate. Below is raw footage video from the UK’s Guardian newspaper showing the protests across Madrid this week:

The International Labor Organization releases report stating that Eurozone unemployment is expected to rise

This week the Geneva based International Labor Organization released a report stating that the Eurozone risks losing 4.5 million additional jobs unless governments are able to stimulate growth in the near term. Noting that unemployment in the Eurozone has hit 11 % overall, the report states that this rate appears set to increase significantly  – possibly as high as 17% for the entire region. The organization called on governments to abandon austerity measures and move to subsidize job creation in order to correct current trends, and further notes that European youth are at the greatest risk of suffering in this economic climate.

Banks could be hit by up to 22 billion US dollars worth of fines over LIBOR scandal

The LIBOR scandal, involving the fraudulent manipulation of international interest rates by mainly British banks, may lead to extraordinary fines being levied on a number of financial institutions. The Financial Times reports that Morgan Stanley released a report today predicting that the fines and penalties that will be assessed against the banks could reach the level of 22 billion USD. This comes at a time when London’s financial services sector is battling a double dip economic recession, and struggling to deal with a growing loss of confidence due to the LIBOR scandal.

WWT Blog: Morality at the Heart of London Banking Scandal

This scandal could also lead to further tension between London and Brussels, as European regulators are in reaction considering introducing new, Europe-wide regulation, aimed at monitoring banking activities for corruption and conflicts-of-interest. The British government of David Cameron (pictured left) has fiercly resisted any attempt to impose further regulation on London’s financial institutions in the past, out of a fear that it would reduce this important sector’s competitiveness.

Analysis

For those in Europe, these months are rapidly turning into the summer of discontent. What is truly concerning is that no one appears to really know where the boundaries of the economic crisis in Europe are. In February of this year, it was announced that measures taken by the European Central Bank had effectively stemmed the crisis, only for the political situation in Greece to then deteriorate and for the horrible economic conditions in Spain to become the next focal point of concern. Europeans are experiencing fatigue as they watch their leaders continually flying into Brussels for one summit after another, only for their attempts to arrest the economic deterioration to be stymied by infighting and disagreement.  If unemployment, scandal and debt continues to drag down the EU economy, desperation may lead national leaders to focus on more radical measures to reverse this crisis.

WWT Radio:  Severe unemployment in Europe and Bible prophecy.

Eye on Europe

Putin Plans to Establish New Eurasian Union

Recent moves by Moscow to re-establish its former sphere of influence throughout Central Asia and Eastern Europe have begun to cause alarm in Europe. In February of this year, Russia, together with Kazakhstan and Belarus, established the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), an entity intended to be the first step towards integrating the three nations into a close economic and political alliance – a Eurasian union similar to the European Union. Last week, news site Euractiv reported on a presentation by the Russian Permanent Representative to the EU in Brussels, where representatives of the new EEC attempted to dispel concerns amongst EU leaders by claiming that this development will be good for business.

Despite representations from Moscow that a Eurasian union will be a positive step for establishing better economic relations, foreign policy experts tend to see the move as part of Russian President Putin’s overall plan to recapture a portion of the old Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. Part of that plan has also focused on the Ukraine. In a recent presentation to reporters, representatives of the Lithuanian government warned that Ukraine was in danger of falling under Russian control because of growing isolation between it and the European Union.

Concerns in Europe over the pro-Russian Ukrainian government’s treatment of the political opposition have led to a break down in diplomatic relations between Brussels and Kiev. Lithuania and other Eastern European members of the EU see this as a repeat of the situation that led to neighboring Belarus’ decision to break off relations with the West and embrace Russia. Commenting specifically on the failure of the West to cultivate relations with Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, a Lithuanian government advisor provided the following comparison, as reported by Euractiv:

“Lukashenko got frightened, he started behaving irrationally and we then completely shut the door. And what happened: he went to Russia. He sold some of his assets, but he became more and more dependent on Russia. We are moving toward the same scenario with Ukraine.

If Ukraine were to cut loose ties to the EU, it could well mean that it would seek to join the new Eurasian union when it is created, and thus bolster the Russian dominated bloc’s political power.

What these recent developments seem to suggest is that a growing tug-of-war over countries that lie on the fringes of the EU is developing between Moscow and Brussels. What will be interesting is whether the European Union will be able to solidify a common response to Russia’s growing boldness towards extending its political hegemony over its neighbors.

WWT Radio:  Europe’s unification and end-time prophecy.

In the near term, Russia appears set to push its plans for establishing the new Eurasian union by 2015, complete with a common currency and parliament. Below is a news clip from Al Jazeera English covering this development.

 

Eye on Europe

Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Guide: "Wage Jihad Against Israel"

Steven LeBlanc

The Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme spiritual guide, Chairman Muhammad Badi– said last week that waging jihad against Israel is an act of duty for every Muslim. Jihad Watch believes Badi is the true power behind Egypt’s presidency, with Morsi (recently elected President), acting as his puppet.

According to a recent edition of Al Wafd, during his weekly sermon, “Muhammad Badi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, confirmed the necessity for every Muslim to strive to save al-Quds [Jerusalem] from the hands of the rapists [Israelis] and to cleanse Palestine from the clutches of the occupation, deeming this an individual duty for all Muslims.”

The Muslim Brotherhood [Egypt] seeks to gain a following via a campaign of deception and penetration in Arab nations that have friendly relations with the West. The United States has now become a de facto enabler of a hatred driven ideology that ultimately seeks destruction of the Jewish nation in the Middle East.

Badi also stated that he believed Mubarak’s government had become weak because it had not subscribed to “Allah’s commandment to wage jihad…so that Allah’s word will reign supreme” over all non-Muslims. An Egyptian newspaper is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to meet Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi on Saturday July 14th.

We believe that the Bible reveals that Egypt will play a major role in end time events. The pivotal Middle East prophecy of Daniel 11 clearly states that “the land of Egypt shall not escape” the military invasion by the king of the North (verse 42), launched in retaliation to provocation by the leader of an end-time Muslim alliance lead by the king of the South (verse 40).

© 2021 World Watch Today
Sitemap | Website by Noble Image