Recommendation 666’s Europe — What Herb Thinks

I’ll always remember my shock when I discovered that the events I had just witnessed occur in the Europe Union in the last half of 2000, that looked to be the fulfillments of Bible prophecy, were traceable back to that one document — Assembly Recommendation 666. Well, it’s happened again.

The big news yesterday was about those eight European nations who have split with other European nations who are against taking military action in Iraq and have instead issued a joint declaration of support for US military action against Iraq. These eight nations are Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

As I reported in my last commentary, most Europeans are very opposed to a US-led war in Iraq. In fact, France and Germany — two of the European Union’s most prominent players and members on the UN Security Council — have joined together against the war.

So, when these eight nations issued their joint declaration of support for the US, it was like lightning struck. Everyone, including myself, was completely stunned by the news.

On both sides of the Atlantic people scrambled to find the correct place to fit this new piece to the European political puzzle. In the US, the temptation was to try and squeeze it somewhere into US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s view — it’s old Europe vs. new Europe.

In Europe, however, it was seen just as another American humiliation of Europe’s long-desired common foreign and security policy that was being created by their first High Representative, Javier Solana.

How did I see it? I had the same trouble finding a place for this new piece of news as everybody else did. If you recall, I ended yesterday’s commentary by saying, “What does this bit of news about eight nations supporting the US mean regarding the ongoing battle for control of this emerging modern-day Roman Empire? Your guess is as good as mine.” But, I also added, “ But, I’ll tell you what — I can’t wait to find out!”

Now, this morning it’s happened again. Like that day back in December 2000, I once again found that the event we just witnessed occur in the EU — eight nations breaking ranks and supporting the US — is also traceable back to that Assembly Recommendation 666.

You see, it turns out tomorrow, Feb. 1, 2003, the EU’s Nice Treaty will officially go into force. And, according to the EUobserver, the Nice Treaty made some important institutional changes to the EU to allow it to enlarge to 25 nations as planned in 2004.

One of the changes that caught my eye was the Treaty reduces the dominance of the big five EU nations in the EU Commission. Under the new rules, the number of commissioners will be limited to one per member state. Up until now the big five EU states — France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK — have each had two commissioners. Now, they’ll be like all the other EU nations and only have one. To make matters worse for them, after enlargement they’ll be competing on equal terms in the Commission with 25 nations instead of just 15.

However, all is not lost for these big EU powers. Why? Because of something that happened in the last half of 2000 under the French EU presidency. This is how the EUobserver reports it:

But the Nice Treaty has had a messy history from the very beginning. It was born of an unseemly struggle between member states during the French presidency in the second half of 2000. The European Council Summit was extended to five days as the heads of state and government of the EU 15 argued and fought over the minute details of the Treaty (Read about it here).

What was that struggle about? Well, for one thing, it was over introducing something in the Council called “qualified majority voting.” Under this new system of voting, these big five nations were given more votes than the other smaller nations. So, this meant, even after the EU’s enlargement was completed, these big five powers would remain pretty much in control of things — if not in the Commission, at least in the Council.

And, there is one more thing the Nice Treaty accomplished. It allowed for the possibility of a so-called “two-speed” Europe. In other words, it allowed certain more powerful EU nations to proceed integrating their common foreign and security policy at a different pace than the other member states.

So, although the Nice Treaty that becomes effective tomorrow allows for the enlargement of the EU to 25 nations in 2004, because of the battle that took place under the French EU presidency back in 2000, it also makes provision for the bigger member states in the Council to maintain their control of this new, super EU beast.

And, it allows for EU member states to do what Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Denmark just did — band together and take their own course and go at their own speed.

What does this have to do with Assembly Recommendation 666? Well, four of these EU nations who have now sided with the US are full voting member states of Javier Solana’s 10-nation military alliance that was installed into the Council by Solana and the French EU presidency in the last half of 2000.

This was the same French presidency that led that “unseemly struggle between member states” back in December 2000. And, out of this struggle came qualified majority voting and a two-speed Europe.

In other words, what we’re seeing today isn’t old Europe vs. new Europe. And, it isn’t just another humiliation to the EU’s new common foreign and security policy.

We’re seeing Recommendation 666’s Europe.

— Herb Peters