Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election is the surest sign yet that after a series of crises and setbacks, Europe may be regaining some semblance of self-confidence. But renewed confidence must not lead to resumed complacency.
With Macron, France’s center has fended off electoral assaults from both sides. But the vigor of those assaults shows how precarious the European Union’s circumstances remain. And, though there is broad recognition that bold action is urgently needed, there is no agreement on what action to take.
The approach that has dominated EU reform debates is the creation of a “multi-speed Europe.” The idea is that, in lieu of an agreement on when and how to reach some optimal level of integration, each EU member country should be allowed to progress toward integration at its own rate, with a set of vanguard countries driving progress.
But what may seem like a convenient way to sidestep complex negotiations actually has serious problems.