Well, that question might be answered by the EU’s current drive to sell its constitution again — this time called a “treaty.”
I wish I had the time to discuss it in more detail, but yesterday (June 12, 2007) there was a fantastic opinion piece on the matter in the Financial Times, by Gideon Rachman. Here’s a link if you would like to read it: “The square root of all the European Union’s problems.” (Unfortunately, the political cartoon accompanying the article is apparently only visible in the print edition. It shows several grinning bureaucrats offering a box labeled “EU Treaty” to a couple of bystanders who seem to notice the things poking out of the box, including a rolled up document labeled “EU Constitution.”)
I highly recommend the entire article. Here are some of excerpts (emphases mine)…
“The federalist response [to the previous rejection of an EU constitution] – pushed by the Germans who will be in the chair at next week’s meeting – is to repackage the constitution and to try to push it through regardless. The name constitution will be dropped. Instead, the document will be called a treaty and will be stripped of the symbols of statehood – like the flag and the EU anthem. But very little of the legal substance will change.
The aim is to make the constitution seem dull and technical – and so to allow governments to push it through parliaments without any unpredictable referendums.”
The article goes on to say that Mr. Sarkozy, the new French president, plans to do just that, preventing on this go around the fly that the people of France tossed into the ointment on the last go around.
It is the engine of Germany that is driving this effort. Mr. Rachman’s comment on the brazenness of the “German approach” — that is, this blatant repackaging of essentially the same, previously rejected, state-making goods — is clear (again, emphases mine):
“The Germans are strikingly frank about their aims and methods. To meet British objections that the Charter of Fundamental Rights – currently part two of the constitution – makes the EU look too much like a state-in-the-making, they propose to put the charter into a protocol to the main treaty and then to refer to it in a single article in the treaty itself. When I put it to a senior German diplomat that this was a purely symbolic change, which would do nothing to alter the legal power of the charter, he readily agreed.
“Is this all as disgraceful and undemocratic as it sounds? The defenders of the German approach point out that 18 of the 27 EU countries have ratified the constitution (although only two did so through referendums). They argue that the changes in the constitution are fixes that are largely technical, but nonetheless essential to make the EU work – and that failing to solve the constitutional mess would throw the Union into a deep crisis. Finally, they say that referendums are a bad idea (“the devil’s instrument”, says one senior EU official) because voters rarely understand the issues and often use their ballots to cast a protest vote against their national government.”
Did you catch that last bit? On the “risk” of allowing the people of Europe to decide on the
constitution treaty, that’s a “bad idea” — even, “the devil’s instrument.” I can sympathize with the frustrations leaders must feel about a fickle populous. Trying to get my kids to agree on what we all want for dinner sure is harder than issuing a diktat that it’s going to be barbecue chicken. But when national sovereignty is at stake (and while they may argue it is not, it is), it is hard to imagine that the people’s concerns should be so — to borrow an adverb from Mr. Rachman — blithely dismissed. And — please forgive me the generalization — considerin that they are bureaucrats of the European persuasion, it is hard for me to dismiss the idea that there isn’t a bit of aristocratic “After all, our citizens are simple peasants rarely understand the issues” going on. (Not that elitists are confined to Europe, mind you…) Mr. Rachman’s observation on the unconvincing quality of their reasoning is well put. Frankly, I suspect that the average European citizen is more aware of matters of international politics and policy than the average American citizen, but there I go generalizing again.
And the British in all of this? Surely leading the charge! Protecting the sovereignty of the realm! Speaking with a voice of power and authority that cannot be quieted or ignored!
Well, not really. As Rachman characterizes them (and rightly, I believe), they are meekly hoping that the Poles will spoil the whole thing…
“‘The Poles really could bring the whole thing crashing down,’ says a senior British diplomat, unable to disguise the note of hope in his voice. A failure would suit the British who fear having to put the reheated constitution in front of their voters in a referendum.”
That first sentence just made me cringe.
[The sticking factor for the Poles, by the way, is that the Poles want a country’s voting power to be based on the square root of its population rather a more proportional system. For example, if nation A has four times the population of nation B, then nation A would have only two times the voting power of nation B (since the square root of four is two). This would curb the power of larger nations (read: Germany) to some extent. No one else wants such a plan, but the Poles have the power to shut down the entire effort and their slogan is “the square root or death.” Really. I’m not making that up. Read it in the article. It makes my little mathematician’s heart proud!]
So what do we see? We see prophecy moving forward. We see the “iron and clay” of this final resurrection of the Roman Empire [the EU] having a hard time mixing and acting as one (Daniel 2:41-43). We see Assyria [Germany] (Isaiah 10:5-6) leading the way toward integrated statehood. And we see Ephraim [Britain] with its pride broken (Leviticus 26:18-19a), meekly hoping that things don’t get messy and no longer in control of its own destiny.
I wasn’t going to write much on all of this, but I suppose I did! That’s OK — it was a nice break from pre-teen camp work. But I do encourage you to read Mr. Rachman’s entire FT article here. And then get back to work and stop messing around on the Internet! 🙂
[For those interested in the roles UK and Germany play in end time prophecy, I would recommend two of our free booklets, The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy and The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality? Both are completely free — no gimmicks, no request for donations, just information we want to get into as many hands as possible. Just click on either picture below: