Eye on the EU: Will the Lisbon Treaty Spell the End of the WEU?

The EU’s 27 heads of state signed the Lisbon Treaty at a ceremony, Dec. 13, in Lisbon, Portugal. The treaty now awaits ratification by the Member States.

Lisbon Treaty Unlikely to End the WEU Anytime Soon

In 2002, Fulfilled Prophecy began reporting on a 10-nation military alliance, called the Western European Union, that appears to match a 10-nation alliance foretold in Bible prophecy. Now, with ratification of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty underway, some may wonder what effect the treaty, if adopted, will have on the alliance. Guest columnist Mishael Meir answers this question.

Although repeated efforts have been made to kill it off, the Western European Union (WEU) lives on as a mutual defense treaty among its 10 permanent members. While the Lisbon Treaty appears to put into place elements that indicate a planned WEU demise, the WEU Ten always manages to survive. To understand what is happening, here’s some helpful background.

The Magic Number ‘10’

The WEU was created in 1954 by the modified Brussels Treaty as a means for Europe to interface with NATO through its own security and defense organization. Any of the 10 permanent members could withdraw after 50 years from the 1948 date of the original treaty or beginning in 1998. None of them has done so.

Additionally, all 10 members could choose to terminate the treaty by ‘denouncing’ it. That hasn’t happened either.

Since 1998, there have been many calls to terminate the treaty. None has succeeded. Interestingly, in the WEU Council’s Dec. 6, 2000, Reply to Recommendation 666, the Council made clear that the WEU was sticking around, saying:

the collective defence commitment provided for under Article V of the modified Brussels Treaty will remain and there is no intention on the part of its signatories to denounce the Treaty. Source

Beginning in 2001, the European Union absorbed almost all of the WEU’s functions. However, because the modified Brussels Treaty remains in effect, so does the treaty’s mutual defense clause that gave rise to the 10-state military alliance. The WEU’s Council exists only as a formality. It hasn’t convened as a body since November 2000, but the same people now sit within the structure of the EU as its Political and Security Committee, where it exercises ‘political control and strategic direction” of EU crisis-management operations. The WEU’s arms procurement body has been absorbed into the European Defence Agency, an agency of the EU headed by Javier Solana.

In June 2001, Solana, acting in his role as the WEU’s Secretary General, announced that the WEU Ten had capped the number of permanent members at 10, exactly as the prophet Daniel predicted (Daniel 7:24). After all, why continue expanding the WEU when the EU was beginning efforts to replace it internally?

The Netherlands apparently agreed. In 2004, on the eve of the draft constitution’s signing, the Dutch tried and failed to get the WEU Ten to terminate the treaty. Other WEU Ten members said no: The modified Brussels Treaty had to stay in place to maintain the binding commitment of mutual defense, given that such a commitment was not contained in the draft constitution. Source

Enter the Lisbon Treaty

After the French and Dutch citizens rejected the constitution in their 2005 referendums, the WEU urged the EU to continue building its security and defense framework using the legal authority of the EU’s existing treaties. The EU opted instead to trot out the constitution again, this time repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty. To ensure its ratification, the heads of state blocked their own citizens from being able to go to the polls, that is, except for the Irish who go to the polls on June 12. All of Europe is holding its breath to see the outcome of this crucial vote. Source

So, what happens if the Irish say yes and what happens if they say no? What effect will the Lisbon Treaty have on the WEU if it actually goes into effect?

If the Irish vote yes, the Lisbon Treaty, on its face, appears to endorse the continued existence of the WEU. Under Protocol No. 11, the EU and WEU are to make arrangements for enhanced cooperation between them. This is curious considering that the WEU is little more than an empty shell with only its democratic Assembly left.

Also, the Lisbon Treaty has something the draft constitution never had: a binding mutual defense provision that embraces all 27 member states. Although that would make the modified Brussels Treaty Article V redundant, the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty would not by itself terminate the modified Brussels Treaty. Only the WEU Ten can do that.

Additionally, the Lisbon Treaty contains provisions for ‘permanent structured cooperation’ (PSCoop). It would allow members who meet certain criteria to build their own permanent military framework that the other states could later join, assuming they met the funding and troop level criteria set out in Protocol No. 11. Apparently some EU states have suggested that the WEU Ten would logically form the PSCoop membership. Source

If the Lisbon Treaty goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and PSCoop gets underway, look for another call to terminate the modified Brussels Treaty. However, these are very big ‘ifs.’ Even if it plays out as the EU hopes, it may take a long time before the PSCoop club got anything going. In the meantime, the WEU Ten will still exist as a military alliance and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

If the Irish veto the Lisbon Treaty, the EU has no Plan B. The treaty will fail just like the draft constitution failed. Be assured the heads of state will arm twist the Irish into another referendum so they can vote until they get it ‘right.’ This is exactly what happened with their no-vote on the Nice Treaty, which the Irish finally ratified at a second referendum.

‘Man of Lawlessness’

What occurs to me in the analysis of EU and WEU treaties is that the antichrist will be a ‘man of lawlessness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Treaties are law and must be followed. The antichrist won’t care what a treaty says.

As a pertinent example, consider the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. The Roman Republic built the legal foundation for Western civilization, including the checks and balances system for democratic governance. Once Caesar Augustus transformed the Republic into the Roman Empire in 31 B.C., law turned into whatever the caesars said it was, regardless of what had already been established through the democratic Senate and treaties with foreign states.

Why a 10-state military alliance in the revived Roman Empire would suddenly hand the antichrist power can be explained under an endless number of scenarios. One is this. What if disaster happens while the EU is wrangling treaties and the only existing alliance is the WEU Ten? We all know who loves chaos and confusion, and it sure isn’t our God! (See 1 Corinthians 14:33).

As Herb would say, ‘stay tuned.’

— Mishael Meir
5/25/08