By Dr. Robert R. Congdon
Congdon Ministries International
During the last month, the European Union has been rather quiet, but still is moving forward to achieve its founder's dream, a single European empire that would reclaim the ancient Roman Empire. The European financial problems of the last few years have seen a new trend developing within the EU that may well further that goal of the founders. With the need to help EU countries that are in deep financial straits, many citizens are beginning to react to the fact that their limited resources are being directed to nations that have created their own problem. Further, they see their money as traveling outside of their own country and only benefiting others. Local governments have also felt the "pinch." The problem increases significantly at the national level. Just as in the US where local governments are increasingly looking to Washington for help, rather than their own state governments. Inevitably these strains on resources lead to divisions within the citizenry. It is through these very divisions, that the EU may well further its dream.
Some Background on EU governance
Unlike the United States, the European Union is not a federal/state government with its checks and balances. It is a supranational government, which means that a small body of officials govern the entire membership of 28 nations, being above or over (hence, supra) its national governments. Increasingly, the EU is gaining control over the individual national budgets and taxing powers. Within the Union, the 28 individual nations are supposed to deal with matters that concern their nation alone but with the financial troubles, national governments are yielding more governing power to the Union. Hence, power over the citizens is moving from the national level to the Union level, eventually negating the need of the national governments; at least that is the founder's concept.
Today the focus of EU power lies in its three seats of government located in Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg. From these three locations all laws, regulations, and governing over the Union emanates. At the same time, each of the 28 member nations also issue national laws and regulations from their national capitals. Finally, within each nation, local governments govern over local matters. In all cases, the EU governing is designed to supersede the governments under it. Today, the EU does not have the full sovereign power over its member nations, but that is the ongoing trend.
Thus, it is to the EU's leadership's advantage to encourage local regional groups of people to depend upon the EU more than the national governments. As national money dries up, the EU steps in. Recently, several media articles have been discussing this growing trend, pointing out that regions are growing in significance in the Union. In one sense, the boundaries of Europe fall into two separate categories. There are the national boundaries, created through wars, treaties, and agreements between countries, and there are regional boundaries based upon ethnic and religious commonality that cross over national borders. In many cases, people's loyalties are torn and given a choice, they lean toward the regional identification more than national. The EU has been supporting these regional groups through sports, the arts, and to a lesser degree, finances. As national loyalties give way to regional loyalties, the door is open to minimize national governments or eliminate them.
The Final World Union of 10 Regions
A major problem for the EU is that as the Union grows, the number of national representation in the EU makes such representation a very large and complex unit. Today, the ruling body of the EU consists of 28 ministers, each with one vote. That is a rather large body to make major decisions in emergency situations, such as the financial troubles of late. The solution is to reduce the governing body to a workable group of 10 to 12. Obviously, no nation wants to give up its vote or share it with other nations. The EU needs to find another way to represent its citizens. Just last month, the founder of the Austria-based Institute of the Regions of Europe spoke on this very trend. For the EU, an elimination of national loyalties replaced by larger regional loyalties may be the answer. Thus, today's financial troubles combined with unrest among regional groups against their national governments inaction, may well promote a redefinition of boundaries within the EU and transform it from an empire of nations to an empire of regions.
We have long taught that the final form of the last world empire, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, would consist of ten regions rather than nations. Daniel 7 speaks of 10 kingdoms and kings which could well fit a regionally divided empire. If this interpretation is correct, then the European Union could well be the embryo of a final world union of 10 regions, once it diminishes or eliminates the need for national governments. While the EU may not follow that path, it demonstrates that such ideas are feasible today and in fact, are being considered. Hence, we must keep looking up for our Lord's coming draws near.
- 'National governments declining in importance' • EUobserver.com
- Israel, a clear candidate in a growing EU • European Jewish Press
- Van Rompuy slams populism, defends EU open borders • Yahoo News
- Europe’s Forgotten Neighbours: Union for the Mediterranean • thenewfederalist.eu
- Fule Says the EU Should Expand Further, But With Care • Wall Street Journal