Tomorrow's World Viewpoint | Does Europe Need an Army?April 12, 2017 | Michael Heykoop
On June 14, 1985, five of the original six European Economic Community member nations (all except for Italy) signed The Schengen Agreement. This Agreement proposed to gradually abolish border checkpoints between member nations. Membership has since swelled to 26 nations with 4 more legally obligated to do so as terms of their membership in the EU once they improve their border security with non-Schengen nations.
The Schengen area includes almost all EU member states as well as a few European nations staunchly opposed to joining the EU such as Switzerland and Norway. The thought is that with Europe becoming more and more united; travel, business and friendship between member nations should be encouraged and customs officers, long lines and government checkpoints tend to stifle such intentions. If all member nations had similar regulations as to who could come in, those deemed less desirable could be turned away at the borders of Europe, rather than at the borders of each individual nation.
And then the Arab spring happened.
Unrest spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East. This left Libya and Syria facing large humanitarian disasters. With Ghaddafi removed from power in Libya and increasing regional instability, the short but treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Italy or Greece became very appealing to many seeking refuge in Europe. With civil war tearing Syria apart, many began to travel by sea or land through Turkey to Greece, Bulgaria and the rest of Europe. The abilities of these border nations to hold the line for the rest of the continent has been strained, leading some to call for a continental, or a European Army to secure the border.
In addition to the ongoing migrant crisis, many European nations are growing concerned over Russia's involvement in the Ukraine. A united pan European Army could handle increased Russian aggression far more capably than the armies of individual nations such as Finland, Estonia or Poland. The past several years has also seen a marked increase in terrorist activity. France, Germany and Belgium in particular have faced large scale terror attacks.
Since the end of the Second World War Europe has relied on NATO, and specifically the United States, for defense. However, the lack of reaction from the United States to Russia's annexation of Crimea has highlighting America's hesitance to intervene in Europe. With comments from U.S. President Donald Trump casting further doubt on NATO's future, many are wondering how long Europe can continue relying on a nation on the other side of the ocean for deliverance.
Britain was the leading voice in Europe opposing the implementation of an EU Army, but they seem to have taken themselves out of the equation by voting to leave the EU. This major roadblock being removed, the path seems clear for the formation of a joint force.
These growing concerns on Europe's Southern and Eastern borders along with the desire to prevent further terrorist actions within their borders has led to the Visegrad group, made up of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia publically calling for the creation of a European Army.
A joint paper by France and Germany's Defense Ministers dated September 11, 2016 referred to the current situation as "a deteriorating security environment" (https://euobserver.com/foreign/135022). Germany's Defense Minister, Ursula Von der Leyen stated "It's time to move forward to a European defence union, which is basically a 'Schengen of defence'" (ibid).
Students of Bible prophecy know that it has long been prophesied that a group of nations within Europe would become a dominant military power at the end times. While thoughts of a continental army protecting a pan-European empire led by Germany would seem shocking just a few decades ago, it is now becoming much easier to envision.
I'm Michael Heykoop for Tomorrow's World Viewpoint.
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