European Integration

One for All, But Not All for One

DISTORTED main 81978785 source Sean Gallup Getty Images – Chancellor Angela Merkel French President Emmanuel Macron in Berlin Chancellery May 15 2017
Macron and Merkel: the engine that drives Europe. Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images [M]

It turns out that it is possible to win an election by taking a pro-Europe position. That has been proven by German and Italian politicians, Martin Schulz and Matteo Renzi in the last European elections and more recently, Emmanuel Macron in France.

So the indicators are good for a European relaunch. Everything rests upon France and Germany forming a cooperative front other EU member states can identify with. Such a historic compromise would give Europe courage and confidence once again, and open up options for reform.

Mr. Macron’s first statements on European policy were to be expected, as was the German reaction. Perhaps it would have been wiser to wait for a couple of weeks of behind the scenes consultations before presenting plausible and less plausible French demands that were hastily rebuffed by Germany. The long standing and freshly renewed French proposals for a European finance minister and one economic regime for the euro zone is well founded. There has never been a monetary union that has worked without a joint fiscal and economic policy.

It was a reckless bet on the future that lacked economic expertise. A monetary union initially based on  shared understanding of the Maastricht criteria with the hope that at some point there would be an economic convergence, didn’t really pan out.

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