While most politicians and commentators in Europe are wringing their hands in angst about Greek, Spanish and Italian debt, one commentator is remaining remarkably calm. Why? He has seen it all before, and has a vision that spans 50 years of European union history. Who is this man?
His name is Jacques Attali, advisor to former French president François Mitterand and former European President, Jacques Delors.
In several recent interviews since François Hollande’s election as President of France, Attali has revived his favourite subject: European political union. He contends that only through a crisis will Europe move toward closer political union. He cites the cases of threats to Europe in 1958 and 1984, when pundits were predicting the end of the European dream, yet the challenges instead brought closer European unity. In the first case, a stronger trading bond resulted in the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) while the next brought about the Maastricht Treaty and the European Monetary Union (EMU).
Attali is now saying that the present challenge to the euro will lead to the sensible step of closer political union. “The only way to save the euro out of its financial crisis while maintaining people’s living standards is to have a more integrated union,” he told EurActiv in an interview on April 18, 2012. He argued that it is like us as individual human beings. If we are healthy and wealthy, we see no need to change our situation. If we are threatened, we will take drastic action to change.
So it is with the current European problem. And Attali believes Europe is far better off than the United States, stating, “The American situation is a more serious crisis. Europe as a whole has a zero debt.” He harks back to the days of former European leaders such as Jacques Delors, who helped engineer the monetary union in the 1980s. Europe at that time was divided into a patchwork of francs, marks, guilders, lira and drachmas.
Now, the Eurocrats are arguing that monetary union is not enough, and that Europe can only succeed if there is complete political union that will give the authority to a federal government. Such integration would condense the present 27-nation amalgam into one unified power. This would bring about a single budget, foreign policy and military apparatus.
So where is Europe headed? It seems that it is the socialists in Europe who are the visionaries while the conservatives have tended to hold back from closer integration. François Hollande’s socialists not only occupy the Élysée Palace, but now also hold the power in the French National Assembly. Attali’s star may well be ready to rise again. President Hollande worked for him for some time after 1980, and could provide a clear focus for the French presidential novice.
Attali’s broad vision was evident in the EurActiv interview. “[Europe] could be the winner of globalisation, at the cross-roads of trade routes and knowledge networks. It could be the first economic power in the world if it was unified,” he said.
The question we must ask is, “What happens when there is another crisis?” If, as Attali suggests, the present deadlock leads to closer political union, the next could well lead to the rise of a European strongman.
Bible prophecy indicates that such a scenario is coming. In the next few years, expect to see a powerful European dictator appear on the scene. To learn more about how this will all come to pass, read our Tomorrow’s World article, “Growth of a Strongman.” Also read our powerful booklet, The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality? You can read the booklet online, download a copy, or request your own printed copy, absolutely free of charge.