EU En Marche

Paris is Ready to Reboot, But Is Berlin?

Feeling buoyant. Or sea sick? Picture source: Mart Klein & Miriam Migliazzi

There is an atmosphere of revolution in France. Its provenance is the unlikely election victory of Emmanuel Macron, a political neophyte who managed to win over French voters with a platform of open borders and economic reforms, thus bringing the far-right extremists to their knees.

At 39, Mr. Macron could be seen as having plenty of time to push through his ambitious agenda. Time, however, is one thing the new French president does not have thanks to his predecessors, who wasted so much of it.

In a speech at Berlin’s Humboldt University last year, Mr. Macron made clear that he believed Germany and France bore the brunt of the responsibility for Europe’s current political stasis. As soon as you talk to a German about financial transfers, the conversation is over, he said. The same problem applies, he added, when speaking to a Frenchman about EU contracts.

Mr. Macron said he meant to change what he called a “crazy choreography,” adding that both sides needed to stop being so intransigent and focus more on solutions than red lines.

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