Posted May 13, 2010
Will the $1 trillion economic bailout really save Greece and the euro? How do the euro's strengths and weaknesses affect the prophetic future of Europe?
MSNBC reported May 10: "The European Union put up a staggering $1 trillion Monday to contain its spreading government debt crisis and keep it from tearing the euro currency apart and derailing the global economic recovery.
"Analysts said the huge sum supplied the 'shock and awe' markets had been waiting for for weeks, at least in the short term, and the euro soared on the news.
"European leaders negotiated into the early hours of Monday before reaching a deal in which governments that use the euro would join the EU and International Monetary Fund in putting up €750 billion in loans available to prop up troubled governments" ("EU Puts Up $1 Trillion to Defend Euro ").
Euro's weaknesses evident from the beginning
If you have been following this crisis, you know it has been going on for months. The staff of our publication World News and Prophecy have been tracking the euro's historical and prophetic significance from its 1999 launch (and before).
As we reported in the February 1999 issue, "Questions about the stability of the new currency were asked frequently by Germans reluctant to give up the German mark, which has been one of the world's strongest currencies in recent years. In this [20th] century Germans have experienced economic disaster and rampant inflation, making them especially sensitive to any perceived challenge to Germany's economy. Their concerns about the stability of the euro are understandable in view of the divergent national economies represented within the Euro-Zone. Countries like Portugal and Spain have much lower wage levels than in northern Europe, and generally southern European currencies—the Italian lira is a good example—have been known for inflation and higher interest rates" (Paul Kieffer, "The Euro Is Here ! But Will It Last?").
Greece wasn't mentioned, because it did not meet the criteria to join the euro. But after intense lobbying and economic sleight of hand, Greece was allowed to join in 2001.
Jürgen von Hagen, professor of economics at the University of Bonn, said, "At the time there were clear indications that the Greeks were forging the data, especially data on deficits to make their public finance situation look more benign than it really was" (Dan Bilefsky, "Greece's Stumble Follows a Headlong Rush Into the Euro ," New York Times, May 4, 2010).
Angered Germans, enraged Greeks
Writing for Stratfor Global Intelligence, George Friedman said:
"The European financial crisis is moving to a new level. The Germans have finally consented to lead a bailout effort for Greece. The effort has angered the German public, which has acceded with sullen reluctance. It does not accept the idea that it is Germans' responsibility to save Greeks from their own actions. The Greeks are enraged at the reluctance, having understood that membership in the European Union meant that Greece's problems were Europe's."
After the horrors of two world wars, the dream of European unity has made amazing strides on various fronts, but other areas lag far behind. As George Friedman noted, "There is no European foreign and defense policy, no European army, no European commander in chief. There is not even a common banking or budgetary policy (which cuts to the heart of today's crisis)" (May 11, 2010).
Partly strong and partly weak
Europe remains partly strong and partly weak. The current unity is fragile, and biblical prophecy shows that the future unity, though immensely powerful, will only paper over these differences for a short time.
As God revealed to the prophet Daniel, the end-time successor to the Babylonian, Persian, Greco-Macedonian and Roman Empires will be "strong as iron...; that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others... The kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile... They will not adhere to one another" (Daniel 2:40, 42-43).
What exactly will bring us to that stage of an even stronger union? Will strong countries like Germany leverage crises such as the current one to create a strong central authority? Or will the euro actually collapse and will strong leadership emerge from the chaos and suffering? The details may not be clear, but the overall prophetic framework does give us focus and an enduring hope on beyond the troubles of today. The Bible reveals that after all this will come God's own perfect, peaceful and prosperous Kingdom.
You need to understand the framework of biblical prophecy to know what to look for in the years ahead and to have the sure hope of the Kingdom of God as an anchor in your personal life. Our easy-to-read booklet You Can Understand Bible Prophecy lays out that biblical framework. And we encourage you to subscribe to World News and Prophecy to keep abreast of where current and future trends are taking us.