Will the Recent Elections Change the Future of Europe?
France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls called last week’s European parliamentary elections a “political earthquake.” Is the face of Europe changing?
With nearly 400 million eligible voters in 28 countries, the recent European elections were full of surprises, as far-right parties had significant victories.
In France the far-right National Front (headed by Marine Le Pen) won more seats in the European Parliament than the traditional major parties by taking some 25 percent of the vote. In Greece the ultranationalist Golden Dawn won 9 percent of the vote and finished third. In Germany the National Democratic Party (often described as a neo-Nazi party) won one seat in the parliament. In Hungary the nationalist Jobbik Party (also described as neo-Nazi) won 15 percent of the vote. And in Austria the anti-Muslim Austrian Freedom Party doubled its seats from two to four.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this about the rise of the far-right parties: “It’s remarkable and regrettable.” European Parliament President Martin Schulz called it “a bad day for the European Union.” And Henri Malosse, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee, warned that “this may be the last European election if Europe does not change.”
The current troubles in the EU show that Europe is not stable and is given to rapid political change. Europe’s history has shown that in difficult times Europe is capable of turning to a strongman, even if he espouses a radical ideology.A changing landscape?
Even though the mainstream parties still hold the majority of the 750 seats, the election of these extreme parties means they now have their foot in the door when it comes to passing laws and legislation in the EU.
Though the far-right parties did not win enough seats to directly affect policy on the parliament level in the EU, they will be able to indirectly affect the rhetoric on the street level. The question is, Will these parties be able to build on this success in future elections and possibly become serious contenders for majority status? How many people will now become nervous, knowing that members of anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim parties have increasing influence in Brussels?
Many in Europe are growing tired of the steady flow of immigrants. With radical nationalists coming into power, what extreme measures will they take to rid their land of those they don’t think should be in their country? How will their anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic stance shape their social programs and foreign policy?
Marton Gyongyosi, the deputy parliamentary leader of Hungary’s right-wing Jobbik Party said in 2012, “I think such a conflict [in the Middle East] makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
Reacting to the recent European elections, Benjamin Albalas, the head of the Central Board of Greek Jewish Communities, said, “A great number of European citizens seem to have forgotten what happened during the Holocaust and World War II. Racism and anti-Semitism are again hitting Europe,” he stated. “It is time for immediate action.”
Europe has a long history of anti-Semitism, and it still simmers beneath the surface throughout the continent. To learn more about this topic, read our article “Anti-Semitism.”
Growing rift between EU and Britain
The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) beat out both the Labour and the Conservative Parties. For the first time the Conservative Party failed to come in first or second in national elections. UKIP’s main policy platform is to remove Britain from the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron, in an attempt to retain Conservative voters, has offered to bring forward a promised referendum on the U.K.’s continued membership of the EU.
Although a member of the EU, Britain has never accepted the euro (the European currency) and is politically and culturally averse to many policies from continental Europe affecting Britons, especially since many laws that apply to U.K. citizens have been passed by a majority of non-U.K. citizens who were not elected by U.K. citizens.
The German news periodical Der Spiegel recently explained the division between the U.K. and EU: “The country also possesses a different political culture. For the British, who have never even drawn up their own constitution and instead rely on a collection of sundry documents to apply rule of law, the EU’s stringent regulations remain alien today. In addition, one must not forget the fact that Britain wants to maintain a special relationship with the United States, one that is also intended to provide a counterweight to the European Union” (“Decision Time: Britain Must Choose Now If It Will Stay in Europe,” June 3, 2014).
The recent elections are only making this rift grow. The above Der Speigel article called on European leaders to force the U.K. to make a decision soon—and framed it as an issue of U.K. membership versus democracy in Europe. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron is in direct opposition to the real possibility of the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission. Mr. Cameron said if Mr. Juncker is made president, it would most likely force Britain to exit the EU.
Mr. Juncker was Luxembourg’s prime minister for 19 years, and he is a vocal supporter of a federal “United States of Europe.” He also has a blemished political past, admitting to lies and making policy decisions in secret.
And although Germany’s Angela Merkel does not fully support Mr. Juncker, she has to walk gingerly since her Christian Democrats, along with the Social Democrats, support him.
Read “Why the Cracks in the British/EU Relationship?” for more background on the prophetically significant divisions between Britain and the EU. It explains the prophetic reasons that Britain will not be in the end-time European beast power.
What is Europe’s future?
Despite the disarray and uncertainty of the EU at the present time, Europe’s future will be very different. Bible prophecy reveals that Europe will become a powerful united entity. Past leaders—such as Charlemagne, Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler—have tried to unite Europe by force. The future European superpower will entail 10 European “kings,” or probably nations or groups of nations, voluntarily ceding authority to a central leader that the Bible labels “the beast” (Revelation 17:13).
The current troubles in the EU show that Europe is not stable and is given to rapid political change. Europe’s history has shown that in difficult times Europe is capable of turning to a strongman, even if he espouses a radical ideology.
We urge our readers to continue watching events in Europe closely. We will continue to report on relevant events and seek to explain their prophetic significance.
Read our past coverage on Europe:
- The European Dream: “Bound by Fate”?
- The European Dream: “We Must Go Deeper.”
- Europe Celebrates Charlemagne: The Father of Europe.
- Europe’s Fearfully High Youth Unemployment.