Once again, Mike Mickey summarizes the current situation in Europe better than I would, so I'll just post his entire commentary below.
I would only add this to his commentary: I believe the Lisbon treaty will be passed and a "core Europe" may also be formed once Lisbon is passed, as the main referenced article states article here: "Berlusconi advocates creation of 'core Europe' if Ireland says No again".
We'll be watching very closely to see what Ireland does in October when their vote for the Lisbon Treaty is taken. Don't forget, once Lisbon is passed, we will see the EU have a "permanent President" and a very powerful foreign policy head. If it is not passed, we should also be watching for the development of a "core Europe" as stated.
A Core Europe and Bible Prophecy
by Michael G. Mickey
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it [was] diverse from all the beasts that [were] before it; and it had ten horns.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [were] eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
Before I go any further, let me explain what I believe this passage of Scripture is telling us to watch for.
The future kingdom of Antichrist, which I believe to be the ever-growing European Union, the revived Roman empire if you will, is, at some point, going to have ten "horns" or primary seats of authority.
Many people believe these ten horns already exist in the form of the Western European Union (WEU), which has ten permanent member nations.
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the WEU as an "association of 10 countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom) that operates as a forum for the coordination of matters of European security and defense. It contributed to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and works in cooperation with that organization. The WEU became the primary defense institution of the European Union in the 1990s, though it gave up that role in 2001."
Presently, although anything could happen and turn things around on a dime, it seems that the WEU's role as the teeth of the rising Beast government of Antichrist has been greatly diminished since 2001. Because of this, it seems unlikely that the WEU is going to be the ten horns referred to by the prophet Daniel.
Assuming the WEU isn't going to be the ten horns among which the Antichrist will ascend to prominence, are there any other possibilities in view? Absolutely and it's a topic that has been brought up on a number of occasions in recent years - the creation of a "core Europe" being formed within the boundaries of the larger European Union.
A "Core Europe"
The EU Observer is reporting the following concerning a "core Europe" being formed, in part:
"Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has suggested that if the Irish people vote against the Lisbon Treaty a second time, a group of European Union member states should move to create a "core Europe" in order to implement the treaty."
"Various politicians and academics have advocated the idea that an inner core of EU member states drive forward with deeper integration via the development of a new organisation, often described as a European Federation, alongside the existing European Union."
For those of you unfamiliar with the Lisbon Treaty, it is essentially a repackaged version of the European Union's Constitution. In 2004, leaders from all the member nations of the European Union signed the European Union's Constitution amid great pomp and circumstance, but it ran into stumbling blocks afterward, all of the European Union's member nations having had to ratify it through referendum for it to be official. Ireland, as the linked news story above implies, didn't do so. Thus, the process was derailed.
After it seemed clear the EU Constitution couldn't be passed by all EU member nations ratifying it, the Constitution was repackaged as the Lisbon Treaty and talk of a "core Europe" being formed began to make rounds on the internet, many in the European Union seeing the failure of a few nations to ratify the Constitution being a stumbling block to the EU achieving its global ambitions which brings us to where we are today.
Considering the news story linked above, could the creation of a "core Europe" or European Federation within the larger European Union be on its way to becoming a reality? Theoretically speaking, it seems a distinct possibility.
If a "core Europe" comes into existence, my suspicion is it will end up being a federation comprised of 10 members, allowing for the fulfillment of bible prophecy to occur at the appointed time. I'm not being dogmatic that this is what's going to happen, but it is something for us to bear in mind as we await the return of Jesus Christ for His Church. Why? Because a "core Europe" being formed that would operate as the Lisbon Treaty provides for would replace the EU's current system of rotating six-month presidencies with the creation of an actual position for an EU President to be seated, as well as an EU foreign minister with a wide swath of diplomatic powers. The foreign minister's position, as set forth in the Lisbon Treaty, would hold such tremendous power that he could not only set EU foreign policy but implement it as well, an issue of such concern to a large number of leaders in the Union that they have vocally stated that no one person should hold such tremendous power, one prominent reason why both the EU Constitution and Lisbon Treaty have met some opposition.
Sooner or later, ten horns
Concerning the advent of the prophesied Antichrist to come, we're told, in Daniel 7:7-8, that a group of ten "horns" (horns being symbolic of seats of authority or positions of power) will arise in the last days.
Whether these ten horns come to exist as a result of a "core Europe" being formed, the WEU being reasserted as the primary defense institution of the EU, or another ten-member association of powerful leaders yet to be revealed coming into view, we have a clear picture of what is going to transpire in the aftermath.
A "little horn" - symbolic of the prophesied Antichrist - will come up among the "ten horns". Daniel 7:8 tells us that, before this "little horn", three of the first horns will be "plucked up by the roots."
The original Hebrew text for being "plucked up by the roots" is `aqar and it means just what it seems to as we read it English.
The Antichrist, most likely because these three nations (or leaders) aren't going to go along with whatever he has in mind as he makes his ascent among them, is going to uproot them, rendering them silent.
The little horn (Antichrist) will be speaking "great things" at this time in his political ascent, his tongue being like a razor I dare say, both in its sharpness of tone and its ability to create injury to any adversaries standing in his path.
The idea of a "core Europe" being formed within the revived Roman empire of bible prophecy could open a doorway to the advent of the Antichrist occurring. While it is nothing more than an occasionally brought up possibility, what it demonstrates to me is how dedicated many influential leaders inside the European Union are to ensuring that the Union's ever-growing economic power and diplomatic influence isn't slowed by a few detracting voices. In that sense, the EU Beast is itself already much like the leader who will someday come to be its supreme leader, the Antichrist. Doesn't this fit perfectly with how bible prophecy uses the term "Beast" interchangeably, at times describing the Antichrist himself while at other times describing his empire?
What fascinating and intellectually stimulating times we're living in! Stay tuned, Church! There's no telling what we're going to see next!