Europe’s leading politicians are bracing themselves for what could be a catastrophic rejection of the European Union’s proposed constitution when the French hold their constitutional referendum on June 1. A May 25 Angus Reid Poll says 54 percent of French voters plan to vote to reject the proposed constitution.
Since the treaty must be ratified by all 25 E.U. members to come into force, a French rejection would effectively kill the constitution. Many nations are already speculating that, should the French fail to ratify it, there would be little point in continuing the ratification process.
The British, who take over the European Union’s rotating presidency in June, may well press for a declaration that the process is dead to avoid having to hold its own referendum.
The Netherlands is also in doubt – so much so that E.U. Parliament President Josep Borrell issued a dark warning to the Dutch on Tuesday, saying, “It is difficult to imagine Europe without the Netherlands.”
The Dutch vote comes three days after the French, and the latest polls show the Dutch plan to reject the proposed constitution, as well. Borrell warned that a Dutch “no” would prevent the constitution from coming into force, and, to underscore the seriousness, expressly ruled out the treaty’s renegotiation.
The French view the E.U. constitution as an “Anglo-Saxon” document designed to enshrine “Thatcherite policies” they say will devastate the social balance of Europe. The wider implications of a “no” vote are unclear, but there is already some discussion of renegotiating a “core Europe” solution.
A “core Europe” model would move forward without Britain and other “undesirables” – such being defined as those European states that supported the U.S. war in Iraq. The idea of a “core Europe” – with France and Germany at the center moving quickly ahead with joint policies, while slower states bring up the rear – was once seen as a spur to closer integration. It has since morphed into a threat: “If you’re not ready, we’ll do it on our own.”
German officials privately admit to misgivings about the idea of core Europe, especially one dominated by France. As Gerhard Schr?der, the German chancellor, said at the Brussels summit, the idea is a second-best solution, not Germany’s first choice. But he sees it as a logical move if the draft constitution fails and enlargement paralyzes the European Union.
Economist article noted that, “the collapse of the constitutional talks may allow the French to insist that an enlarged E.U. will be unworkable, so that a core Europe is needed.”
The Economist’s story bore the intriguing headline: “Who Killed the Constitution – And What Happens to the Beast Now?”
The mention of a core Europe or a core group of European nations resonates with Bible prophecy in the books of Daniel and Revelation. It concerns a latter-day revival of the Roman Empire.
The prophet Daniel predicts that a group of 10 “kings” (national leaders) will give rise to a frightening union that will fulfill many end-time prophecies.
Two thousand years ago, the Apostle John, speaking of the government of the antichrist wrote, “The ten horns … are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour [a short time] as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the BEAST” (Revelation 17:12-13).
Depending on the decision of the French, and later the Dutch voters, the coming weeks may give some hint to the answer to the Economist’s intriguing question: “And What Happens to the Beast Now?”