The European Union leadership is advancing long held plans to establish a common Army across the continent. Hinting at greater security threats, renewed challenges from the East and the need to consolidate funding, technology and coordination structures, the ideal of the union's founders moves ever closer to total federation of all nations across Europe.
In a recent interview, Federica Mogherini, chief of foreign policy for the European Union, called on member states to build towards a EU military command post in Brussels and mark out other key infrastructure.
Commenting upon the 'need' for a permanent military command headquarters within the EU, she stated: "This could become the nucleus around which a common European defence structure could be built."
The following day, 9th September, Mogherini, said: "I believe a window of opportunity has been opened to give life to a European defense. I wanted to send the message that, despite the British exit, Europe can and must move forward with the process of integration. The prospect of Brexit offered an opportunity not to be slowed by the country that was always most determinedly opposed to the idea of pooling the instruments of defense."
(Note: "Europe...MUST move forward with...integration..." - there are no options here. This is the goal. Period.)
In other words, staunch opposition from the UK has now been effectively eliminated; the EU can take unilateral steps towards achieving the remaining goal of military integration.
Less than a week after the historic UK referendum back in June, Mogherini shared her EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy with state heads at a summit in Brussels. The document makes implicit the formation of a consolidated European Army.
The Strategy Document can be read here: https://eeas.europa.eu/top_stories/pdf/eugs_review_web.pdf
Those who oppose such a far reaching proposal do so on the grounds that a move for military centralisation is a deceptive one and indeed intended to create a homogenous European army. It is not merely for better European defence, as touted, but defence through a sole military provider, equivalent to NATO. Perhaps, and more probable, to replace NATO.
(** NATO is a defence alliance of the majority of the EU member states, including the United States, Canada and Turkey.)
Ever increasing fiscal and political union have been a way of life for Europe's citizens for decades now under Brussels' legislating eye. Despite some soft resistance among the ranks, such controls are not diminishing but increasing through more binding legislation and punitive measures to deter non-compliance.
Bottom Line: Europe is tightening its grip on member states and is seizing the present opportunity of discord and border challenges to promote why the inevitable European army is the ultimate and needful direction.
This military accomplishment would decisively establish Brussels pan-European vision, an ideal completely in line with the founding fathers' dream of total integration of all Europe's citizens into a federal superstate, controlled by centralised mechanisms in Brussels.
We are not there yet but it is clear that the European project is pushing all its resources and public consumption hype in that direction. The exit of the UK from future talks removes a big obstacle to implementing the unified army goal.
However, it also removes one of its biggest defence budgets, weapons developer and contributor to the EU coffers too. Such is the UK's standing in the current EU.
Mogherini, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other EU elites promote such military union as simply better defence expediency for Europe, but they cannot hide the true intent behind the rush and fanfare to implement such an idea: one people, one law, one army.
Add to this, in our opinion, a unified spirituality, and the scenario is set for fulfilment on a number of prophetic levels.
The triumvirate of France, Germany and Italy are the keenest backers behind the proposals, as to be expected as they have the most to gain. The UK's departure from the EU will now give these three powers much more room for manoeuvring others less committed to follow totally.
Even countries that of late had expressed concerns of EU impotence in the wake of the migrant crises, are greeting the proposals with positivity. For example, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán and Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka are united concerning the idea of a European army.
The federalists marketing the grand European vision have been calling for an integrated army since the Fifties. It should be no surprise that given the current instability being felt across Europe that talk of such a military force under supranational control is being heard anew.
Pitching the European Army was pushed back until after the UK decided its European status in the Brexit Referendum, on June 23rd. Now that the UK has voted to leave, the EU leadership is more determined than ever to accelerate the creation of a de-facto unified European Army.
Uncertainty caused by the UK exit offers Europe's architects a new shot at redefining the vision and an emboldened stance to rush it through.
Important questions remain as to how such an organisation would work. One concern is that of an EU army alongside the membership of a number of European countries in NATO.
How does an EU Army work alongside NATO, for example. However, critics of NATO within Europe see this as an opportunity to be free from the largely American influence behind NATO - an America whose perceived global influence is diminishing and losing influence to the renewed emergence of Russia and an aspirational China.
This has been seen particularly of late in the outcomes of events in the Middle East, Russia holding the major diplomacy cards not the US. And the signal failure of the US in curbing Iran's quest for regional hegemony and intimidation through its feted but flawed nuclear deal with Tehran.
Europe continues to cast a long shadow over prophetic interpretations of Daniel and Revelation. Is the current and evolving European Union mentioned in the Scriptures? Specifically, the revived Roman Empire. Many commentators over the centuries have believed so. See Daniel 2 & 7.
However, with the rise of militant Islam and the challenges it is posing to the West and the Church globally, opinions are often divided between the role of the EU and Islam as contenders for what the prophets describe in the apocalyptic writings.
Without doubt, the current form of federal Europe presents enough concern for the Church over issues of ethics, governance, syncretic belief, islamic immigration, anti-semitism and rising nationalism. One could quite easily make the jump to see how, in the future, the EU would fulfil a central purpose in being the vehicle for a coming world leader and an oppressive system of compliance.
Couple this with a large standing army, well resourced and technologically advanced, the remit of its operations could well extend beyond Europe to be a deal enforcer, in other regional disputes. Perhaps even forcing a deal on Israel in the face of failed Palestinian national goals and ignored EU 'Resolutions'. It is not hard to imagine such a scenario in the coming years.
Israel often comes under EU criticism, much of it unjustified. As Europe becomes more Islamic due to mass migration, this has brought in its wake anti-Semitism, part and parcel of the incoming Arab/Islamic culture. Not wanting to offend or say anything that could be construed as being negative to this part of its population, leaders take the easier path of resistance and single out Israel for criticism on many fronts. This is the operational basis of the United Nations.
This appalling attitude is seen in party politics, campus boycotts, student movements focussed on demonising Israel, the BDS movement, etc.
In the UK, for example, the Labour Party has consistently failed to get a handle on latent and embedded anti-Semitism among certain party members and movements. And yes, much of the rhetoric levelled against Israel as constructive anti Israel criticism is nothing more than plain old anti-semitism.
The State of Israel simply provides a more 'legitimate' target for many to spew their hatred of Jews in the guise of political and social concerns for the Palestinians.
But Europe's leaders are following a well trodden path of appeasement towards Israel's enemies. Given an army and a natural alliance with, for example, the United Nations, it may well be part of a coalition of forces that bear down on a revived Israel with other players such as Iran, Russia and Turkey.
Turkey's probable admission into the European Union would undoubtedly be a massive game changer and permanently alter the political and ideological landscape of Europe. If Erdogan's plan for further Islamisation of Turkey's institutes progresses, it will likely bring it into conflict with European ideals or, bring about a more Islamic slant of EU policy in the coming decades. The latter is the more likely outcome.
It remains to be seen how the EU Leadership will successfully sell the one army vision, but they will and the implications for it go well beyond public confidence statements of mutual defence, shared expertise, etc.
This is the latest and grandest phase of the utopian, European project and if the past success of Europe's architects are harbingers for the future, it is highly conceivable that Brussels HQ could control a unified superstate of over 500 million Europeans with a powerful, authoritarian army in the coming years.
Talks among EU member states regarding an EU military are due to be discussed by leaders in Bratislava, Slovakia, on September 16th. We shall follow the developments of these discussions and comment in future articles.
As always, we pray for discernment and humility in knowing how to interpret current events in light of Scripture. Our priority, as it relates to Europe, is for revival and an urgent Christian awakening in the face of many challenges and marginalisation of the historic Christian faith on the continent.
There is still time for such a great awakening among all Europe's citizens, regardless of creed, colour and nationality and therefore we both pray and labour for it while it is yet day.