In June of 1955 the ministers from the six countries of the Coal and Steel Community met to consider the next step in the march toward European unity. With Monnet’s influence along with U.S. support, they began to lay the foundation for an even more ambitious economic market. Two years later on March 25, 1957, France, West Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxemburg signed a document establishing the European Economic Community (EEC). This new “common market” was just the beginning of a more elaborate attempt at integration. The following year on January 18, 1958, the EEC officially came into being. Initially it was formed to be a just a customs union. The members would profit through reduced duties on their trade within the community, while at the same time imposing a common tariff on imported goods from outside countries. Thus, an outside nation seeking to do business within the market would see a united front. Trade with any individual nation would have to meet the criteria for trade with the entire community. This arrangement quickly proved how a group of relatively small nations could become more powerful on the world scene simply by uniting their economic resources.
Christians should understand that the formation of the EEC was without a doubt an important step toward the rise of the Beast of Daniel and Revelation (see New World Order pages). From out of that first attempt at establishing a type of “United States of Europe” would arise the ten-horned, partly strong and partly broken empire, which will spawn the Antichrist himself.
Even the founding fathers of the EEC envisaged a gradual move toward full political, economic, monetary, and military integration. In reality, they hoped to model their system, however furtively, after the United States of America. The U.S. has a central governing authority which makes overall legislative, judicial, economic, and defense policy, while at the same time it has a system of semi-independent states which can make their own laws and collect their own taxes. Commerce within this union of states allows for free movement of goods and services just like that of the EEC nations (or at least that has been Europe’s goal), while business coming in from the outside is regulated through the central (federal) authority.
The leaders of the EEC hoped to eventually yield the same type of benefit from their union as America has realized. Not surprisingly, the U.S. was fully supportive of this visionary goal. Richard Barnet quotes former Secretary of State Foster Dulles as saying that America “has made a big investment in Western Europe on the theory that there could be unity there” [Barnet, R.J. (1983) The Alliance; America-Europe-Japan; Makers of the Postwar World, p. 191, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY].
The Biblical importance of the rise of the EEC should not be underestimated. Daniel’s prophecies indicated that the final world empire would arise out of what was once the fourth Beast, or the Roman Empire. Can anyone refute the prophetic implications of what has happened in Europe over the last fifty years? Even the document that was signed by the original six members of the EEC back in 1957 was called “The Treaty of Rome”! There can be no doubt—according to the official document that brought the community into existence, these nations refer to their own heritage as descending directly from the original beast of Rome.
The treaty they signed was much more than just an economic agreement, however. It also gave the alliance the authority to create a European parliament and established a legislative process that would be truly supranational in character. The way to European unity was now expressed in writing and ratified by each member nation. At least in theory, the foundation was now there to actually bring into being the most powerful confederation of nations Europe had ever seen.
Over the past thirty years, the community which began with six members has now expanded to include nearly every country in Europe. Its growth-spurt began in 1973 when the EEC was enlarged by three members with the entry of Britain, Ireland, and Denmark. At nine strong it seemed as though the Lord was preparing the world for the coming of that tenth, fateful nation. Would all the prophecies of the end suddenly occur as soon as another country entered? We could only wait and see.
Finally, on January 1, 1981, the nation of Greece was allowed to become a full member of the league. The European Economic Community was at last a ten nation confederacy. For the first time in history a ten nation European association could be identified which seemed to have all the characteristics necessary to fulfill the ten-horned beast of the Bible. Was this economic community the confederation that was prophesied to be the final form of the last world empire before the coming of the Antichrist? It certainly appeared to be so. Most publications, especially those of European origin, referred to the EEC simply as “The Ten”, as if to emphasize the significance of its number. By the early 1980’s the EEC had grown in power to the extent that they could really be considered a force of international proportion. The combined wealth of the community was still somewhat less than that of the United States, but it had tremendous potential. With a combined population of about 270 million, it could become one of the true superpowers of the world.
However, the EEC was never quite able to put that potential into reality. Economic strife and the continual rise of national pride among the market’s members effectively prevented any further progress toward unity. The EEC nations were only a shadow of the powerhouse they could have become if they got themselves together and acted as one. Many political leaders realized this fact and openly spoke out for the dramatic changes necessary to bring about full integration in Europe. The Economist had said, “What is wrong with the common market…is that it is not a common market—and there is no hope for European recovery until it becomes one” (Economist, Jul. 16, 1983, p.52).
Ernest Wistrich, one of the directors of the European Movement (an organization dedicated to the total union of Europe), had thought that the EEC was on the right course to bringing about the radical reform necessary to fully unify the continent. He said, “There is now sufficient integration that we cannot unscramble it. We have to go forward” (Chicago Tribune, March 18, 1984). Despite the hurdles that stood in its way, Europe was pressing forward toward a more unified confederation. In 1979, community-wide elections were held in which voters sent 410 representatives to the first meeting of the full European parliament. With that move, the EEC had finally established a form of legislative central authority, even if it was somewhat less than a true federal governing body. Also, in March of 1978 the community officially inaugurated the European Monetary System (EMS), a broad economic strategy for providing controlled exchange rates among the EEC currencies. “Initially, the idea was to extend the EMS to create a European central bank, common exchange reserves and, eventually, a common currency…” said the Economist (Economist, Oct. 9, 1982, p.55).
Edouard Balladur, France’s finance minister during the 1980’s, said that “the success of the European Monetary System—which in a certain sense is what remains of the former world system and Bretton Woods—argues for a broad international system”. Balladur further stated that the western nations should create “a system similar to the European Monetary System but on a global scale” (Wall Street Journal, 12/5/90). The European Currency Unit (ECU) was born out of the establishment of the European Monetary System. It has been proposed that the ECU eventually would become the common medium of exchange for all of Europe’s people once complete integration was realized. Banks throughout Europe quickly began to use the ECU in inter-community business, and many investments could be made which were valued in this denomination. Some banks even offered traveler’s checks valued in ECU’s.
Why are these developments so important? Simply because complete unity cannot be achieved until the people who live within the market communities can freely travel throughout the EEC and do business with a common currency. To quote one article published on the subject, “Europe will never be one until all its people carry the same money in their pockets” (Economist, Nov. 26, 1983, p. 49). The road to a European union thus was being paved not by military victories, but by legislative initiatives which were slowly forming the laws and regulations necessary to accomplish it. At that time, such mundane things as a common European passport and a common European driver’s license were becoming available to all EEC citizens.
The community that was originally established solely as an economic trading zone was quickly moving toward a much broader union. To underscore this transition from common market to eventual full political integration, the nations changed their name to simply, the European Community (EC), dropping the limiting adjective, “economic”. As time went by, the EC appeared to be moving closer and closer to the formation of the Empire-Beast of Revelation.
However, something appeared to complicate that entire scenario. The complication was the entry on January 1, 1986, of Spain and Portugal into the EC. It doesn’t take a whole lot of mathematical sense to know that ten plus two equals twelve. The prophets Daniel and John clearly predicted a ten nation confederacy arising out of the Roman Empire. Could this development mean that Bible prophecy really wasn’t coming true in this generation? Let’s look more closely at the situation.
The EC always has had growing pains in more ways than just size. From its first inception it seemed highly unlikely that the war-torn region could hold together for long. Independent pride among member countries leading to strife or conflict had been Europe’s main stumbling block to cooperation for centuries. After World War II, the situation dramatically improved with major forces pushing Europe toward unity. However, it has never been smooth sailing; during the 1960’s France actually walked out of an EC meeting and left the community for a period. Many times it looked as though the alliance would not survive, let alone make it to ten or even twelve strong. For the last few decades there has been repeated talk of the imminent doom of the community. The Economist said, “The European Economic Community is failing at the most important, and first, job it was set up 27 years ago to do. The EEC’s original objective was to create a common market. It has not done so, and it is taking only the most cautious steps now.” They also said, “Twenty years ago, in a slower-moving world, Europe could just get away with such profligacy. It can no longer” (Economist, Nov. 24, 1984, p. 13).
At this point, the enlarged EC had a total population of just over 320 million—larger than the U.S. With this many producers and consumers they easily could become the major force in world economics and politics. When Spain signed its membership treaty, Jacques Delors, the chief of the EC’s Brussels bureau was quoted as saying, “You are not joining a mere economic club. No, the realization of the Common Market forms an inseparable part of the European project, this enterprise of peace and harmony with the will to consolidate our civilization and all together influence the future of the world” (Susan Linnee, Spain, Portugal sign common market treaty, AP News Archive Jun. 13, 1985).
European cooperation was leading to a consolidation of nations that had the potential to be a true global superpower that could stand on equal footing with the U.S. economically. In fact, if they ever became politically and militarily unified, the EC could surpass every other power broker in the world. One should not underestimate the importance of the entry of Spain and Portugal into the Community. An alliance which beforehand had the potential to be barely equal with the United States suddenly had clear world superiority within its grasp.
Next: A New World Order Arises