The French Foreign Ministry has announced that the Union for the Mediterranean, a project aimed at boosting ties between the European Union and Mediterranean states, is to be formally revived at the end of this month. The announcement follows a meeting of French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, who jointly hold the presidency of the new bloc.
The project, which was first proposed by then EU President Nicolas Sarkozy and came into being this time last year, has been fraught with difficulties. Northern European countries disliked the idea of EU funds being spent on a grandiose scheme that would show favouritism to southern members of the union. So membership was increased to accommodate the entire European Union.
Arab nations also signalled their unwillingness to join the union due to Israel's inclusion in the group, fearing their participation might lend legitimacy to Israel's right to exist. But Arab opposition to the project was overcome when the EU offered the Arab League observer status within the new organization. The EU also sweetened the deal for Israel, increasing its representation within the group. Libya refused to join the union over Israel's inclusion, and instead was granted observer status until Gaddafi changes his mind.
And it seems that the recent thaw in relations between Libya and Italy may pave the way for Libyan membership in the Mediterranean Union. Operation Cast Lead, launched against Hamas in the Gaza Strip last year, was used as an excuse by Arab nations not to participate in the EU project, even though it was the breaking of the Hamas ceasefire that precipitated the fighting.
But now with a new American administration in power that is seeking to repair its reputation in the Muslim world, the EU is aiming to revive its Mediterranean project with a goal to kick-starting the peace process and expanding its sphere of influence over the region.
"At the end of May the head of Egyptian diplomacy in France Ahmed Abul Gheit had told AFP that the meeting would take place on June 25 in order to "re-activate" the Union, whose work was stopped since the Israeli attack to Gaza Strip at the end of 2008... The French Minister for Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner on Wednesday will go to Sweden - which is taking over the EU presidency from the 1st of July - to discuss with his counterpart Carl Bilt the proposal to link the EU presidency with the Union's governance, which so far is jointly held by France and Egypt.Following Obama's address to the Muslim world in Cairo at the beginning of the month and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech last Sunday, the European Council released a statement of its own in regards to the Middle East peace process. The Council, of whom Javier Solana is the Secretary-General, reiterated its commitment to the establishment of an "independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian state", reminding us of how Judah and Israel itself may be carved in two because of concessions by the international community to the Palestinian Authority.
The Council also backed Obama's call for an immediate end to all "settlement activities, including in East Jerusalem and including natural growth", in contrast to Netanyahu's demand that Jerusalem remain undivided and accessible to people of all religions. And the EU reaffirmed its support of the Middle East peace process, through tools such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean.
"10. A comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict requires a regional approach, covering the political, security and economic dimensions. Encouraged by enhanced US engagement and convinced that tangible benefits regarding economic development and security would facilitate achieving agreement on the various political tracks, the EU stands ready to use all instruments at its disposal such as the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Union for the Mediterranean. Through numerous agreements with partners in the region, the EU is uniquely placed to work with the parties on key issues of regional development. In light of further developments at the political level and on the ground, the EU will carefully assess how its policies and programmes can promote concrete and early results on the path of a comprehensive settlement of the conflict."As we saw at its inception, far from being a political project aimed at merely increasing peace and prosperity in the Mediterranean region, Sarkozy's vision of the Union for the Mediterranean is nothing less than a revival of the old Roman Empire itself.
The French President claimed in February 2007, "within every man and woman who lives on the shores of the Mediterranean sleeps the memory, nostalgia, for the unity lost 15 centuries ago". He added that he wanted to be "the president of a France that will set the Mediterranean on the path of its reunification, after 12 centuries of division". That vision, of a revival of the order of the old Roman Empire, is also shared by other politicians involved in the European Union project. Last year European Commission President Manuel Barroso, when questioned on exactly what the European project hoped to achieve, claimed that the EU was the world's first "non-imperial empire". Belgian politician Paul-Henri Spaak, who famously called for a man, "be he god or devil", to lift the nations out of the economic morass into which they were sinking, was a signatory to the Treaty of Rome which established the institutions of the European Union. When asked how he felt when signing the treaty, he said, "we felt like Romans on that day... We were consciously recreating the Roman Empire once more".
In King Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he saw a magnificent statue, each section of which was made with increasingly inferior materials. The materials of this statue represented a panorama of Gentile rule over the land of Israel. These materials represented the kingdoms of Babylon (the head of gold), Medo-Persia (arms of silver), Greece (thighs of bronze), Rome (legs of iron) and a final empire (feet of iron and clay). Nebuchadnezzar viewed these successive world empires as a magnificent structure of precious metals, depicting man's greatest achievements in this world. While in Nebuchadnezzar's dream there were five materials, the fifth material - a mixture of iron and clay - was really an inferior extension of the fourth. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, a stone cut out of a mountain without hands fell on the statue's feet, destroying the image completely.
Daniel then gives the interpretation of the dream. The stone represents the Second Coming of Christ to this earth, and the setting up of His millennial kingdom. In Daniel's vision in chapter 7, the same world empires are viewed as unclean beasts, representing their true nature in the sight of God. This time they are represented by four different animals, each more dreadful than the last. The fourth animal is a picture of the Roman Empire, and it is out of a revival of this empire that Daniel states the Antichrist will come (Daniel 7:7-8).
At this point in history, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to Earth, and this final world ruler will be divinely destroyed (Daniel 7:11, Revelation 19:20). It is important to understand that the book of Daniel only mentions world empires that would rule over Israel while it was a nation. Subsequent world empires which ruled over the Holy Land during the Diaspora are not mentioned in the book of Daniel. But the final world empire, which appears to be a revival of the Roman Empire in the form of the European Union, will rule over God's chosen people for a short period of time.
As you can see, the fact that the European Union is making concrete steps to extend its authority over the Mediterranean region, shows us just how close we may be to the fulfillment of these prophecies.
The Bible states that,
"in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever", Daniel 2:44.These are days we are now living in. Will you be a citizen of God's kingdom? The Lord Jesus Christ said that unless a person is born again they cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 3:5). But the Bible also states that, "as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name", John 1:12. Why don't you turn away from your sins, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.
Union for the Mediterranean to meet again at end June - Green Planet
Ghaddafi's historical visit to Italy paves way for Libya-EU ties - Xinhua
OPT: Council conclusions on Middle East Peace Process - ReliefWeb